Updating Clean Energy Campaign in DC

A coalition of numerous groups, supported by the WNDC, has been working for the last two years for the DC Council to pass legislation to greatly reduce the city’s carbon footprint.  The campaign aimed to put a price on carbon emissions and use the revenue for rebates to DC residents. This turned out not to be a workable plan. However, through much effort and many meetings with coalition members, Council Member Mary Cheh, and business representatives, we now have a strong bill that, if adopted, will put the District in a real leadership position in the fight to slow climate change and carbon pollution.

CM Cheh, chair of the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, recently introduced the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018.  There are many moving parts to this bill, but in brief it includes transitioning the District to 100% clean electricity by 2032. This means that by 2032, all our electricity would come from renewable sources like wind and solar, and would be the strongest clean energy law in the country. The bill would also create new and stronger building efficiency standards, increase funding for local green initiatives, and provide assistance to low-income residents through ratepayer help and programs to improve residential energy efficiency.

It appears that the Council will schedule a hearing on the bill sometime in October.  It has to be passed by CM Cheh’s Committee, likely a done deal, but also by CM McDuffie’s Business and Economic Development Committee, where the bill’s future is less certain.  The DC Climate Coalition, the successor to the original PutAPriceOnItDC coalition, will be working on advocating for this legislation with no weakening of its currently very strong provisions for our environmental future.

–Jean Stewart, Chair, Earth and Environment Task Force, Public Policy Committee