Hundreds of Howard University Students to Advocate for DC Climate Action as Part of Annual “Day of Service”

Hundreds of Howard University Students to Advocate for DC Climate Action as Part of Annual “Day of Service”

‘Clean Energy DC Act’ gaining steam as 500 students to advocate the community during the sixth annual Howard University Day of Service

WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, August 17, up to 500 Howard University students will descend upon DC to spread the word about a local DC climate policy called the “Clean Energy DC Act.” This is happening as part of the sixth annual Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS), which builds upon the University’s legacy of service to humanity.

This is the first time that Howard University will participate in an initiative for the advancement of local DC climate policy. The students will go through a training about the “Clean Energy DC Act,” as well as a training in petitioning and other advocacy tools. Then, they will spread out throughout all eight wards to poster DC neighborhoods and spread the word about the policy through petitioning.

The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, or “Clean Energy DC Act,” was introduced by D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) on July 10 with a majority support in the Council. If enacted, this bill would transition the District to 100% clean electricity by 2032 — the strongest renewable energy law in the country — while investing in energy efficiency, creating groundbreaking building standards, and funding local programs to help low-income residents and make the city a sustainable place to live.

Clara Ekezie, Site Coordinator at Howard University, stated: “We are excited to partner with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network as they educate the community about the ‘Clean Energy DC Act.’ As students at Howard University, we will live through the impacts of climate change if nothing is done to lower greenhouse gas emissions, so our peers know how important it is to take action and get involved in this initiative. It’s very encouraging to see hundreds of organizations and students coming together on an issue as important as this.”

“It’s incredible to know that hundreds students are actively engaged and supportive of clean energy in DC,” said Chelsea Hodgkins, DC Campaign Coordinator at the CCAN Action Fund. “We are thrilled to engage students in advocacy for clean energy specifically and the democratic process more broadly. It’s particularly exciting to partner with Howard students knowing that this is the beginning of their journey as the next generation of rising leaders in this movement and others.”

While the bill does not include a “price on carbon pollution” as has been requested by a 100-group coalition of environmental and justice groups over the past two years, it embodies the coalition’s principles of equity and strong carbon reductions, and would make DC a world leader on climate change.

The Howard University Day of Service (HUDOS) provides an opportunity for incoming students to embrace the University’s motto, “Truth and Service.” The Howard University Day of Service will continue to build upon the legacy of service to humanity. It is modeled after Howard University’s nationally recognized Alternative Spring Break program and will provide service-learning opportunities as a part of the students’ introductory experience to the University. Current Howard University students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni will volunteer across the Washington DC metropolitan area.

Howard University Day of Service 2018 will focus on five service-learning initiatives: education, environmental services, health, homelessness and poverty, and violence. This service learning experience will allow Howard University students to discover the power of lending a hand while engaging with the DC community.

A copy of the legislation is available here: Clean Energy DC Act.

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Faces of the Campaign: Meet Joanne Sims

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Joanne Sims

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Joanne Sims is a summer intern working on the campaign. Here’s her story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Joanne Sims and I am an intern at CCAN on the DC carbon pricing campaign.

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I feel like I’ve always cared about the environment in general but a television series called Years of LIving Dangerously produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger really enlightened me to the scope at which climate change effects all sectors of life.

Joanne Sims picture

Why does supporting equitable clean energy policy in DC matter to you?

I think that supporting equitable clean energy policy is an important step that, if done well, could lead to the expansion of the policy in other major American cities. Becoming a country that relies completely on clean energy is important for a successful future.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

I think that the people I work with are very invested in the campaign and assertive in their approach. This definitely put them more on the radar of politicians then other campaigns I’ve seen.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

I have noticed an increase in storming and flooding in my community.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

I thought our Pops n’ Policy event was fun and also really effective. We ended up getting a bunch of letters written to send to Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

The Richmond community where I live is extremely vocal on issues, especially those surrounding the erasure of black history in the city. One of the issues they campaigned for and succeeded in achieving was having the University (VCU) remove a parking lot that they had placed on top of an African American burial site.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

I always feel the most proud when I get businesses to sign onto the campaign. I’m generally very introverted, and getting others interested in the campaign shows that I have been able to get out of my own head successfully.

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Enlightening

What is your favorite pizza place in DC?

&Pizza

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Jiayu Xu

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Jiayu Xu

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Jiayu Xu is a summer intern working on the campaign. Here’s her story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Jiayu Xu. I am a rising junior who majors in International Relations and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. As a nature lover, I care about the environment.

What woke you up to the climate crisis?Jiayu Xu

Majoring in Environmental Studies and taking courses entirely or partially devoted to climate change have made me aware of the climate crisis. However, I still attribute the COP23 I have attended as the event that I personally felt the imminency of this crisis. At the international conference, I was overwhelmed by statistics, lectures, pavilions, and conversions which were all exclusively focused on the topic of climate change. Being surrounded by scholars, representatives from diverse NGOs, and delegates all over the world further made me realize the climate crisis which is urgent and which deserves the attention worldwide. It occurred to me that the professional and intergovernmental discussions of reducing carbon emissions and of adapting to climate change were truly taking place around me, instead of appearing remotely in the news.

Why does supporting equitable clean energy policy in DC matter to you?

Clean energy policy matters to me because I think it is necessary to switch to renewable clean energy in order to lower carbon emissions. The fact that clean energy is getting cheaper and cheaper means that clean energy is more economically affordable to the public. Meanwhile, I care strongly about the policy being equitable, because I never want low-income families to bear the cost of policy disproportionately.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

The environmental campaigns I have previously been engaged with were solely environmental-oriented, such as animal conservation, renewable energy. By combining economics and environmental policy, this campaign introduces monetary incentives into the goal of reducing carbon emissions. By taking the course named Environmental Economics at university, I had the chance to do the calculations to understand the magnificent effect of carbon pricing, which managed to both reduce substantial amounts of carbon dioxide and generate abundant revenues. As a result, I personally regard carbon pricing as the most effective tool for combatting climate change, by introducing the positive effects that money can bring to the environment. Thus, I am honored to work on this campaign.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

The climate change has brought increasing amounts of rainfall during summer in my city, Nanjing. Sometimes it rains so heavily that the city gets flooded, which causes huge inconvenience to residents and damage to properties. In recent years, it becomes quite common that the city is flooded, on average, two or three times in the summer, which is something that has never happened before. To me, seeing my beloved city undergoing such negative change is disturbing and prompts me to focus on the climate change.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

My favorite moment in this campaign was to have the chance to collectively work towards the same goal with other interns who share the same passion about the environment. Though we come from different backgrounds and studying at different universities, we are lucky enough to come together to the forefront of pushing for aggressive clean energy policy. After witnessing several environmental rollbacks, I feel that simply the daily scene of ten of us sitting at the same table in the office is a powerful message to myself, which continuously reminds me that I am not alone.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

The time I have witnessed community power is by participating in the Women’s March in Boston. That was my first time to see so many people clustered at downtown Boston. Everyone, no matter what age, ethnicity, gender, and occupation, was holding up signs and shouting out loudly what they wished to change. At that moment, Boston represented a voice that was so strong.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

My biggest accomplishment on this campaign is to become more confident to communicate. Petitioning sharpens my oral skills to deliver our message to people of different backgrounds. Thus from time to time, I need to rephrase my pitch in order to make the idea more acceptable to others. Also, I enjoy the active interactions with other people. Some people are willing to share with me their own insights on this topic, which give me the precious chance to understand the policy in different contexts. Meanwhile, birddogging councilmembers is something I have never done before, and something I have never imagined myself doing. But two weeks ago, I managed to do it!

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Persistence

Best place to get breakfast in DC?

Tony Cheng with dim sum.

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Clarissa Libertelli

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Clarissa Libertelli

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Clarissa Libertelli is a summer intern for the campaign. Here’s her story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Clarissa Libertelli and I’m a part of a team of interns working on behalf of clean energy and environmental justice in DC.

Clarissa Libertelli headshot

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I was raised by two environmental activists in the DC area, so I’ve always been passionate about environmental activism. Studying the environment and politics at the University of Vermont, as well as seeing how the Trump administration addresses (or fails to address) environmental and social justice issues, has increased my sense of urgency.

Why does supporting equitable clean energy policy in DC matter to you?

I read recently that by 2050 possibly all the summer days will be over 95 degrees. That’s scary as a DMV resident and as someone with poor body temperature regulation!

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

Too often liberal environmentalism fails to address issues of equity and environmental justice. I feel that CCAN’s policy is a bipartisan answer to the intersectional effects of climate change.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

I joke with my friends that you can always tell when you’re in the city because the sky at night is orange from air pollution. Also, as a Maryland resident, I’m aware of how climate change and rising temperatures affects the already delicate Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

It’s been particularly rewarding to interact with enthusiastic and supportive DC residents who can clearly see the potential the policy has in their communities, as well as to represent CCAN in solidarity with other important movements advocating for the disenfranchised. Also, it was fun to be memed.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

Agitating on behalf of racial justice on my college campus, I’ve seen firsthand how organizing locally has the potential to hold leadership directly accountable, give voice to minority groups, and empower young activists.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

So far, I’ve had the most success directly interacting with DC residents through petitioning and community events.

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Energizing

If you were a fruit, what kind would you be?

I would be a pomegranate!

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Peter Braun

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Peter Braun

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Peter Braun is a summer communications intern working on the campaign. Here’s his story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Peter Braun and I am a Communications Intern DC CCAN office. I’m the guy writing the clever tweets and Facebook posts for @PutAPriceOnItDC. I’m also a student at University of Richmond and an intern at the City of Richmond, Office of Sustainability.

Peter Braun headshot

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I have always loved the natural sciences. At some point in middle school, I looked around and realized that no one else seemed to care about what was happening to the Earth as much as I did. It wasn’t until the summer before my first year in college that I realized no one was going to take responsibility for the environment, so I had to step up.

Why does supporting equitable clean energy policy in DC matter to you?

Energy giants need to start taking responsibility for what they are doing to our world. So many average people like my family want to do their part to fight climate change, but they just do not have the resources to do it. This policy will start in DC, but I hope it inspires other cities to enact radical clean energy policies. I am fighting for DC because I want DC to set an example for my home town and spread this movement.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

I have never seen so much action, engagement, and thoughtfulness on an environmental campaign before. There is an outpouring of support to the people we talk to when we go out to petition. There is so much enthusiasm and hope. The leaders of this campaign have worked with community organizations and made sure all DC residents are represented.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

Growing up just outside DC, and now living just outside of Richmond, you see just how vulnerable the homeless and poor are to the environment. Seeing reports of heat waves causing health problems in my own community is shocking. Knowing that my family could be so vulnerable makes me want to find a way to protect our common home, both the environment and my community.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

It’s simple, but every Monday our team of about 10 interns and our supervisor Chelsea begin the week with a meeting. We start out with news about the campaign and fun, random facts. It’s about coordinating for the week as a team, but it really builds a great community.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

In my first full week on the campaign we had a big press conference and rally outside of the DC City Council building for the announcement of a draft bill. A big crowd of more than 100 supporters showed up, there was a series of inspiring speeches, and we hand delivered literature and information about our draft bill the each of the council members offices. It was a really powerful demonstration of how we can enact change if we work together and use all of our skills and assets. (I also saw Matt Ackland from FOX 5, <3 wow!)

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

The first time I went out petitioning, I happened to run into a local, high-profile faith leader. He was our first signature! It was just the best start to the campaign I could have gotten. I even got to help set up and attend a meeting to discuss our campaign!

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Inspiring!

Best place to get breakfast in DC?

I’ve been spent a lot of money at Takoma Beverage Company. I always get a latte and a honey-pistachio pastry.

We’re Winning the Climate Fight! — The Full Story of Cheh’s Climate Bill

We’re Winning the Climate Fight! — The Full Story of Cheh’s Climate Bill

We have news — and it’s quite the mixed bag.

I’ll start with the good news. WE HAVE A BILL! On Tuesday, DC Councilmember Mary Cheh finally introduced a climate bill. The “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018” features policies that, if passed, will significantly cut emissions and place DC among the frontrunners of states and cities fighting climate change. The bill reflects our campaign’s hard-won principles of strong, economy-wide emission reductions with a focus on equity, and that is a true victory that would not be happening without your tireless advocacy.

Before I get to the bad news, I have a quick favor to ask: Will you send a message to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5 asking him to do everything in his power to advance and pass this strong climate bill? It will need to move through his committee this fall. Take one minute to send a message right now.

Now on to the bad news. What’s hard to believe, and impossible to celebrate, is that Cheh left the carbon fee out of this bill. This happened despite her public commitment of support for the carbon-pricing policy and her repeated expressions of confidence that a majority of the Council would support a carbon fee. And after two years of passionate community support and careful analysis generated by our campaign, we were shocked when she turned her back at the last minute.Camila Thorndike speaking w Cheh at bill intro

When Councilmember Cheh announced her re-worked version of the climate bill at the Wilson Building on July 10th, I sat feet away from the dais busy with Councilmembers and staff, in an out-of-body experience of conflicting emotions. This was the day you and I worked for years to realize.

But part of my heart was broken and betrayed. Local leadership on the most powerful solution for a just and livable future, a carbon fee and rebate, had evaporated just weeks after Cheh’s office had proposed moving forward with the strong carbon price we endorsed.

Part of me was irate. This about-face happened because of the power of the fossil fuel industry. Near the very end of months of working group meetings with business lobbyists, Washington Gas proposed to swap the carbon fee for a modest increase on the preexisting Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF), raising funds for commercial energy efficiency programs. Big business and utilities want all carrots, no stick. A well-designed and steadily increasing carbon price holds polluters accountable for the damages of climate change. Unfortunately, the Councilmember let them off the hook.

Yet another part of me was incredibly impressed — by our movement. Although Cheh’s omnibus bill falls short of our expectations, it features a very strong set of landmark policies that will significantly enhance the District’s commitment to clean energy and energy conservation. The final effect of the bill is that all dirty energy is made slightly more expensive in the city, dirty electricity is phased out completely by 2032, and the revenue raised from the bill — an estimated $26 million in year one — would be invested in green infrastructure and other programs.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Similar to a carbon tax in Boulder, Colorado, the SETF fee proposed in Cheh’s bill would apply to electricity generated by fossil fuels. It goes beyond the Boulder approach by including a modest fee on natural gas and fuel oil too. The bill also increases DC’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 100% of the District’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2032, and requires suppliers to purchase a high percentage of their energy through long-term renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). This would establish the strongest such goal in the country. (Yes, very cool). It would also establish strong building efficiency standards and would allocate 20% of the funds raised by the energy fee for rate-payer assistance for low-income households.

So, my friends, mixed bag. We lost a big battle for courageous climate policy, but if we stick together and fight as hard as ever, we are on the way to winning the war for a clean energy transformation in the District.

Will you take one minute to send a message to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie? His support is key for passing this bill.

Cheh’s suite of ambitious solutions were just great ideas in a report until you came along. Now they are on the way to becoming law. Congratulations on this real progress — seriously. Thank you for fighting so hard to get the District this far.

Activists Attend Bill Introduction

Your advocacy is THE countervailing force to big utilities and businesses who don’t want any climate policy with teeth to pass. We are still in for a big fight. Lobbyists for fossil fuel companies have strong access to Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, chair of the committee through which the bill must pass after Cheh’s committee. So, once again, please, join me in urging McDuffie to advance this bill in its full strength this fall. The opposition is working overtime to bend the Council to their will. We must resist. Take action now!

It’s been a strange week, but thanks to this coalition’s tenacity and good cheer, I am dusting myself off and tightening the boxing gloves. Climate progress depends on grassroots power. The momentum we’ve built together has infused equity into local environmental politics and forced politicians to act. Let’s double down until they finish the job.

Thank you for all your hard work and support. Onwards!

— Camila Thorndike, DC Policy Director at the CCAN Action Fund

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Veronica Robb

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Veronica Robb

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Veronica Robb is a summer intern working on the campaign. Here’s her story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Veronica and I am an intern at CCAN on the DC carbon pricing campaign.

Veronica Robb

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I grew up in Maryland where we aren’t strangers to hot summers, but it seemed like every year I would hear that it was “The hottest summer on record.” We seemed to be breaking our record every single year, andI wanted to do what I could to help combat extreme weather like this before our environment becomes uninhabitable.

Why does the campaign to put a price on carbon in DC and rebate the revenue matter to you?

I have many friends with asthma so air quality has always been a relevant issue for me, and this seems like the best way to combat large-scale pollution. It’s so rewarding working on a campaign like this. I feel like I’m really helping make an impact on our environmental future.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

This is actually the first environmental campaign I’ve worked on.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

The preservation of the Chesapeake Bay has always been discussed throughout my life, and pollution and extreme weather have hurt the watershed tremendously. While the Bay is doing better than it has in the past, we have a long way to go before it is truly healthy. Legislation like a carbon fee and rebate program would help lessen pollution on the East Coast.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

My favorite moment so far was tabling at the Kennedy Street Festival. I just really enjoyed engaging with the community. It’s really nice to see people interested in our policy.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

When we held the press conference and then did the deliveries to the Council Members, it gave me a lot of hope to see how many people showed up and are willing to fight for the betterment of their community.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

My biggest accomplishment has probably been petitioning. I’ve never worked on a campaign before and I have enjoyed so much of it. I love going into the community and discussing the policy with people and engaging in a meaningful dialogue about the steps we as a community need to take to create a healthier planet.

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Empowering

If you could tame a wild animal to do your bidding, what would it be?

I would tame an owl. I grew up loving Harry Potter, and even if my owl didn’t deliver mail, it would be cool to have a bird buddy like Hedwig.

CCAN Action Fund Statement: D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh Introduces Climate Bill that Excludes Carbon Price

CCAN Action Fund Statement: D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh Introduces Climate Bill that Excludes Carbon Price

Groups Express Surprise that Bill does Not Include a Carbon Price Given Months of Advocacy and Broad Grassroots Support

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, July 10th, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3) introduced an “omnibus” bill on climate change that falls short of what many advocates had pushed for. But the bill still includes several landmark features that significantly enhance the city’s commitment to clean energy. What the bill does NOT include is a clear and robust “price on carbon pollution,” as requested by an 86-group coalition of environmental and justice groups over the past two years. Instead, at the suggestion of local utility Washington Gas, Cheh is increasing the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF) surcharge by a modest amount. The final effect of the bill is that all dirty energy is made slightly more expensive in the city, dirty electricity is phased out completely by 2032, and the revenue raised from the bill — an estimated $26 million in year one — would be invested in green infrastructure and programs.

Similar to a carbon tax in Boulder, Colorado, the fee proposed in Cheh’s bill would apply to electricity generated by fossil fuels. It goes beyond the Boulder approach by including a fee on natural gas and fuel oil too, though also modest. It also increases DC’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to require that 100 percent of the District’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2032, and requires suppliers to purchase a high percentage of their energy through long-term renewable power purchase agreements. This would establish the strongest such goal in the country. It would also establish strong building efficiency standards and would allocate 20 percent of the funds raised by the energy fee to make energy improvements for low-income households.

The bill would increase by 100 percent the city’s existing — though small — SETF surcharge on electricity. The new fee on natural gas and heating fuels would be double that on electricity, but still very modest.

The bill, titled the “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018,” was co-introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Trayon White Sr. (Ward 8), and Charles Allen (Ward 6). It was also co-sponsored by Councilmembers David Grosso (At-Large) and Vincent Gray (Ward 7).

In response, CCAN Action Fund Director Mike Tidwell issued the following statement:

“To our surprise and disappointment, Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced a climate bill that does not include a clear, transparent, and effective ‘price on carbon pollution.’ Instead, the Councilmember is putting forward a good bill — but a bill that is significantly scaled-back at the suggestion of Washington Gas. The Cheh bill will cut emissions and create investments in green infrastructure. But it misses the opportunity — as proposed by a broad coalition of experts and advocates — to more aggressively ‘price’ carbon pollution while fully protecting low- and moderate-income residents AND stimulating the local economy.

“While we are still evaluating the features of Cheh’s bill, it is heartening to see it follows many of the principles that environmental advocates have embraced. It is strong on driving down carbon emissions, includes the strongest renewable electricity standard in the country, and makes some effort — but not enough — to ensure that low-income Washingtonians can prosper under this policy. And the building code mandate under the bill could set a precedent among other cities throughout the country.

“While CCAN Action Fund regrets that Councilmember Cheh ultimately ignored the best and most equitable approach to climate policy — which is advocated by the 86 groups behind the ‘Put A Price On It’ coalition — it is clear that she has chosen a ‘runner-up’ approach that is comprehensive and begins to address fairness. Clearly, none of this would have been possible without the relentless advocacy of the ‘Put A Price On It’ coalition.

“We now call on all our DC Councilmembers to ensure that a strong bill passes that protects our communities and significantly reduces emissions. If so, we are confident this could inspire other cities to take similar action.”

Additional Information

From Cheh’s press release, major provisions in the legislation include:

  • New Building Emissions Standards – The Building Energy Performance Standard Program for privately-owned and District government buildings will be the first of its kind in the country. Implemented by the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE), the program will guide the District’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, most often large commercial buildings, in retrofitting their buildings to become more energy efficient.
  • Transitioning to Renewable Energy Sources – Currently, Pepco customers must opt-in to purchasing energy from renewable sources. The “Clean Energy DC Act” would flip that option so that residents must opt-out of purchasing renewable energy. The legislation also requires that 100% of electricity sold in the District come from renewable sources by 2032 and, over the next three years, 80% of the standard offer service electricity be purchased via long-term contracts with renewable sources.
  • Funding local sustainability initiatives – To fund the Green Finance Authority, commonly known as the District’s Green Bank, and strengthen funding available for low-incoming energy assistance, this bill will increase the SETF fee for electricity and natural gas consumption. It does so in a way that will result in less than a $1 increase to residents’ average monthly electric bills and about a $2.10 increase to residents’ average monthly gas bills. 20% of the generated funds will be used by DOEE to provide relief to low-income residents struggling to pay energy bills.
  • Transportation Emissions –Once passed, this legislation will direct the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue rules that make the District’s vehicle excise tax amount dependent upon fuel efficiency, therefore incentivizing the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles. The bill will also authorize the Mayor to establish a greenhouse gas fee on motor fuel if Maryland or Virginia also do so and authorizes the Mayor to join in any forthcoming regional transportation-sector greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.

A copy of the legislation is available here: CleanEnergy DC Omnibus.

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Faces of the Campaign: Meet Megan Seymour

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Megan Seymour

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 80+ organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Megan Seymour is a summer intern working on the campaign. Here’s her story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Megan Seymour. I am a graduate student at Georgetown University pursuing a Master’s of Public Policy in Environmental Policy.

Megan Seymour

What woke you up to the climate crisis?

I’ve always been really passionate about conservation and nature, so my interest in the outdoors lead me to take environmental science classes in undergrad. We delved into an in-depth analysis of climate change, which was horrifying enough on its own, but in one of my classes we talked about the effects of the US agricultural system on climate change, water and land loss, etc. I started doing more of my own research into food policy in the US and watched documentaries like Food, Inc. and Fed Up. It was extremely disturbing to see inside the factory farms. The utter lack of animal rights, the unregulated, unsanitary farming conditions, the myriad of antibiotics, preservatives, and toxic chemicals being put in our food, and the wasteful way in which we harvest and consume food was gut-wrenching to witness. This is when I really became more fired up about food policy and its connection to climate change.

Why does the campaign to put a price on carbon in DC and rebate the revenue matter to you?

The campaign matters to me because climate change is not going to stop on its own and it affects every single human being across the globe. Climate change is something that has severe life-or-death consequences and is irreversible. The added effects of everyone’s actions and behaviors have lead to where we are now. This is why we have to make a collective effort to improve our behavior if we want to slow climate change and preserve our world so that future generations can enjoy it too.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

This is the first campaign I have worked on so I don’t have much to compare it to, but so far it has been an extremely rewarding experience.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

I’m from Fairfax, VA but I went to undergrad in Boston, and the extreme weather I experienced while living there was a direct impact of climate change. Boston experienced abnormal numbers of massive snow storms when I was living there. Being on the coastline, communities there are suffering the effects of shoreline retreat, flooding, and increased severity of storms and nor’easters.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

I’ve loved being able to connect with people while petitioning and feel like I’m making a difference by gaining support for this policy.

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

Going to an ANC meeting in Ward 7 I saw so many passionate citizens voicing their opinions and coming together to try to make their community a better place. This is really the foundation of community organizing and it was great to see people mobilizing themselves.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

I lead the efforts on our Letter Writing Campaign, which was my first time organizing an event for a campaign.

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Inspiring

What is your favorite pizza place in DC?

&pizza!! So good.

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Kyle Legacion

Faces of the Campaign: Meet Kyle Legacion

Faces of the Campaign is an ongoing series featuring our key organizers and stakeholders involved in “Put A Price On It, D.C.” Our coalition of 70 organizations is comprised of racial justice activists, union workers, health advocates, moms, dads, kids, retirees, and business-owners alike. Kyle Legacion is a summer intern working on the campaign. Here’s his story.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Kyle Legacion. I’m a rising senior at the University of Minnesota / Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, pursuing a minor in Sustainability Studies. Here at CCAN, I’m interning on the DC Carbon Pricing Campaign.

What woke you up to the climate crisis?Kyle Legacion - Put A Price On It DC Intern

I moved around a lot growing up. I was born in Southern California, raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, moved to Houston, TX after my sophomore year of high school, and then ended up in Minneapolis, MN for my undergrad. I spent last fall studying abroad in London. This was around the same time that Hurricane Harvey swept Houston with historic flooding, and that major wildfires were raging through California.

All of these places I’ve called home were being attacked by extreme weather events because of climate change, and there I was in London, thousands of miles away, unable to do anything about it. I remember reading all of these headlines and seeing pictures of the destruction and feeling completely, utterly helpless.

That was when I vowed I’d never stand idly by in the climate crisis again.

Why does the campaign to put a price on carbon in DC and rebate the revenue matter to you?

I believe that a carbon pricing policy is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. If we want to achieve anything meaningful in the fight against climate change, then we must change the rules that the biggest climate offenders are playing within. The campaign is important to me because a carbon fee-and-rebate policy would do exactly that, while also uplifting the communities that have been hit the hardest by the effects of climate change.

How is this campaign different from other environmental campaigns you’ve experienced in the past?

The only other environmental campaign I’ve participated in was for my Natural Resource & Environmental Policy class I took this past spring, where I spent the semester working on a group project to implement organics recycling at a local business. This campaign is working at a much larger scale, with impacts that would be far-reaching.

How has climate change impacted your own community?

Like I mentioned above, climate change has caused severe weather events to hit many of the places I’ve lived before, uprooting many families and destroying many homes.

What was your favorite moment in this campaign?

So far, my favorite moment in the campaign has been the press conference we held outside of the Councilmembers’ offices. We had over 100 supporters in attendance, and even performed a literature drop afterwards.
It was a really cool experience seeing different parts of the community come together in support of the campaign, and visiting all of the Councilmember’s offices to talk about the campaign

Tell me about a time you’ve witnessed community power.

I would say that the press conference was a time I’ve witnessed community power. We had a diverse group of representatives speak about why a carbon fee-and-rebate policy is needed now, and it was a powerful moment to see these people speak from their heart about their experiences with climate change.

What was your biggest accomplishment on this campaign?

So far, I would say it’s been bird-dogging Councilmember Elissa Silverman.

One word summing up your experience with this campaign:

Meaningful

If you could tame a wild animal to do your bidding, what would it be?

A fox!