The Dernogalizer

June 14, 2010

Drake Partners with Green The Block

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matt Dernoga @ 11:32 pm
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Hip-Hop artist Drake has partnered with Green The Block to make his tour more sustainable, and spread consciousness to his fans about the importance of going green.  Check out the video.

May 6, 2010

House Passes Homestar

Now if only the Senate could pass something worthwhile.  Yesterday I posted that Homestar was going to be up for a vote today.  It passed with mostly Democratic support, and Republicans managed screw it up a little bit.  Below is the AP article by Jim Abrams

Home renovators alert: House passes Caulkers bill

WASHINGTON — Homeowners could collect thousands of dollars in Cash for Caulkers rebates for renovating their homes with better insulation and energy-saving windows and doors under a new economic stimulus bill the House passed Thursday.

The Home Star bill, passed 246-161, would authorize $5.7 billion over two years for a program that supporters — mostly Democrats — said would have the added benefits of invigorating the slumping construction industry and making the earth a little cleaner.

“Home Star is that solid investment that’s going to achieve that hat trick of energy savings for the homeowner, of moving toward a cleaner environment and of creating jobs here at home,” said bill sponsor Peter Welch, D-Vt.

Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the bill, and they were able to attach a condition that it would be terminated if Democrats do not come up with a way to pay for it.

The measure has come to be dubbed Cash for Caulkers, a takeoff on the popular 2009 Cash for Clunkers initiative that rewarded people for replacing gas-guzzling vehicles with more fuel-efficient models.

President Barack Obama has promoted the bill, which also needs Senate approval.

The initiative is separate from an energy tax credit of up to $1,500 that was included in last year’s economic stimulus act. That credit for energy efficiency improvements runs through the end of this year.

Supporters estimate that 3 million households would make use of the new program, saving $9.2 billion in energy costs over a 10-year period. They said it would create 168,000 jobs, mainly in the recession-hit construction industry.

“Nearly one in four workers in the home construction and services industry has been laid off,” said Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. “Passing Home Star says, ‘Help is on the way.’”

Republicans were more skeptical, saying the price tag was too high at a time of mounting federal debts.

“We are going to authorize $6.6 billion of money we don’t have so we can caulk homes?” asked House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

“This is not a terribly bad bill, but it has one fatal flaw: It is not paid for,” said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, top Republican on the energy committee. Democrats argued that the issue of paying for the legislation will come later in the budgetary process, when Congress approves annual spending bills.

Republicans succeeded at the end of the debate in altering the bill to say it will be terminated if it is found to drive up the federal deficit, a provision that will force Democrats to come up with an offset. The Republicans also were able to alter the legislation so that the rebates would go directly to homeowners. In the original version, homeowners were to receive a discount or rebate from a retailer or contractor, who then would apply for payment from the government.

Waxman said Republicans picked up Democratic votes for that final GOP motion — 178 of 245 voting Democrats backed it — by including several “gimmicks” that could be used against lawmakers in future elections, such as a provision that contractors in the program must ensure that they don’t have sexual predators on their payroll. He said some of the GOP-backed changes would be dealt with when the House and Senate work out a final version.

In debate on the bill, Republicans questioned whether the government can run the rebate program fairly and effectively. They said a $4.7 billion weatherization program that was part of last year’s economic stimulus act has been slow to provide grants to states.

The Cash for Clunkers program, too, had some problems. An Associated Press study last November found that the program was commonly used by people turning in old pickups for new trucks that got only marginally better gas mileage.

Under Home Star, rebates or discounts would be provided to homeowners at the time of sale. The retailer or contractor then would submit documentation to a processing office which would verify the information and forward the request to the Energy Department for payment.

To prevent fraud, the program would require licensing for all participating contractors and a certain percentage of projects would be inspected.

The bill has two parts: The Silver Star program provides upfront rebates of up to $3,000 for specific energy-efficient improvements in homes, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or duct sealing, insulation or new windows or doors.

A Gold Star program would entitle people to up to $8,000 when they conduct comprehensive energy audits and implement measures that reduce energy use throughout their homes by more than 20 percent.

The bill has the backing of a wide spectrum of environmental and business groups.

“There is strong evidence that temporary, targeted incentive programs like Home Star can generate jobs, investment and economic growth,” National Association of Manufacturers president John Engler said at a hearing in March.

With House passage, the bill moves to the Senate, where it most likely will be attached to the next jobs bill.

The legislation also would approve $600 million over two years for grants to states for programs to replace mobile homes with more energy efficient models.

The original bill included $6 billion for the rebate program plus the $600 million for the state grants. The Republicans were able to remove $324 million targeted for a Home Star loan program.

The bill is H.R. 5019.

May 5, 2010

Support Homestar Legislation

Filed under: energy,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:19 pm
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I just got an e-mail from Green For All about energy efficiency legislation called Homestar which will be voted on tomorrow.  Below is the e-mail, and if you want even more background on Homestar, check out this fantastic info sheet by Efficiency First.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Urgent: Home Star vote!

Tell your Representative to Pass Home Star!

Tomorrow the House of Representatives will vote on the Home Star bill (H.R. 5019).  We urgently need your help to get it passed!

If you haven’t heard about Home Star yet, listen up.  The fast-acting program will create new jobs in energy-efficiency, cut pollution, and lower energy bills.

Please call your Representative now and tell them to pass Home Star.

(Our simple call tool makes it easy).

Home Star will create an estimated 168,000 jobs, save Americans $9.5 billion on energy bills over ten years, and reduce pollution and global warming. It will do all this by providing rebates to homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient.

Please act now!  Tell your Representative to pass Home Star!

Our communities desperately need jobs, and Home Star will help create them.  It is a critical step towards building the kind of clean energy economy we need to lift people out of poverty, spur on sustainable growth, and end our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.

Thank you for taking action.

Jessy Tolkan
Political Director
Green For All

April 21, 2010

Maryland’s $20 million Dolllar Earth Day Grant

Filed under: energy,MD Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:22 pm
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I just posted that for Earth Day, the Obama Administration will be releasing $452 million dollars of authorized stimulus funding on a “retrofit ramp-up.  Maryland was one of the recipients, we got a whopping $20 million dollars in funding.  So where is that money going?  Here’s the summary from the White House’s press release…

State of Maryland ($20 Million): The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) “Investment in Main Street: Energy Efficiency for Economic Growth” strategy proposes a holistic, community-based approach to target individual households, multifamily rental properties, and commercial properties for energy-efficiency retrofits.  The project includes a state-wide bulk purchasing program for supplies and equipment that will lower overall costs.  Maryland will also focus on multi-family and small business retrofits that will result in significant, measurable reductions in energy consumption.

A look at the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) website gives us a more detailed look at how this money will be spent.

ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 21, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today applauded an announcement by Vice President Joe Biden that Maryland and 24 other communities around the nation will receive $452 million in Recovery Act funding to expand energy efficiency building retrofit programs. The State’s award of $20 million will support the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) plan, “Investment in Main Street: Energy Efficiency for Economic Growth.” This strategy is a holistic, community-based approach to target individual households, multifamily rental properties, and commercial properties for energy-efficiency retrofits.

“This increased investment means the creation of up to 5,400 jobs to benefit Maryland’s economy as well the significant impact of helping 4,000 families who own or rent homes,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This initiative also assists small businesses and communities to save money and energy by improving energy efficiency in their workplaces. More importantly, this will stimulate private investment which will ensure the sustainability of these programs and help expand Maryland’s burgeoning green workforce.”

In addition to the $452 million Recovery Act investment, the 25 projects announced today will leverage an estimated $2.8 billion dollars from the private sector over the next 3 years to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country.

The Retrofit Ramp-Up projects, which are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy-efficiency, complement the Obama Administration’s ‘Recovery through Retrofit’ initiative, which lays the groundwork for a self-sustaining and robust home energy efficiency industry. The awards are the competitive portion of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which was funded for the first time under the Recovery Act to help state, local, and tribal communities make strategic investments in improving energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions.

In addition to the focus on homeowners and rental and commercial properties, Maryland’s plan includes a state-wide bulk purchasing program for supplies and equipment that will lower overall costs. The initiative also will highlight multi-family and small business retrofits that will result in significant, measurable reductions in energy consumption.

Projected outcomes detailed in DHCD’s initial proposal include:

  • $20 million in DOE funds to leverage more than five times that amount in other funds. Efforts will be focused in target communities where the following outcomes for homeowners, renters and small business owners are anticipated.
  • An estimated 2,000 homeowners will benefit from energy efficiency retrofits of their homes in first 3 years.
  • Twenty buildings comprising approximately 2,000 affordable rental units will benefit from energy efficiency retrofits.
  • A projected 900 historic commercial properties will benefit from energy audits and low-interest retrofit financing in concert with DHCD’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks program.
  • Based on the initial application, DHCD projected the creation of 2,100 jobs in the first three years, with an increase of up to 5,400 jobs within six years.
  • The establishment of sustainable financing resources for homeowners, rental properties and commercial properties.
  • The creation of a Statewide Energy Efficiency Purchasing Cooperative to maximize purchasing power for retrofits.
  • Providing funding for affordable housing, energy retrofit and energy efficiency. This not only supports families who are on a limited income but relieves financial burdens on property owners and developers of affordable housing.
  • Funding also will be used to implement targeted outreach, compliance and educational efforts for the implementation of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC), recently adopted in Maryland and required for local jurisdictions by July 2010.

The targeted communities were selected by weighing what would benefit the greatest number of Marylanders, taking into consideration those areas that have not yet received an allocation of EECBG funding. The selected areas are all in communities where there is significant leveraging and partnership activity. Each area is a Main Street Maryland community, has numerous multifamily developments and is a target area for other funds through DHCD.

Targeted communities include:

Berlin (Worcester County)
Cambridge (Dorchester County)
Chestertown (Kent County)
Cumberland (Allegany County)
Denton (Caroline County)
Easton (Talbot County)
Elkton (Cecil County)
Frostburg (Allegany County)
Oakland (Garrett County)
Princess Anne (Somerset County)
Dundalk (Baltimore County)
Westminster (Carroll County)
Havre de Grace (Harford County)
Salisbury (Wicomico County)
Takoma Park (Montgomery County)

“DHCD remains committed to helping Maryland’s communities remain viable and vibrant,” said DHCD Secretary Raymond A. Skinner. “It means giving resources to help residents improve their homes, supporting small businesses so they can thrive and providing tools to community groups to enhance their town landmarks and commercial hubs.”

Vice President Biden Kicks Off Five Days of Earth Day Activities with Announcement of Major New Energy Efficiency Effort

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:05 pm
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See press release: here

Washington, D.C. – Vice President Biden will today kick off five days of Administration events around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with the announcement of the selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits.  Under the Department of Energy’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations will work together on pioneering and innovative programs for concentrated and broad-based retrofits of neighborhoods and towns – and eventually entire states.  These partnerships will support large-scale retrofits and make energy efficiency accessible to hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses.  The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years.

“For forty years, Earth Day has focused on transforming the way we use energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuel – but this year, because of the historic clean energy investments in the Recovery Act, we’re poised to make greater strides than ever in building a nationwide clean energy economy,” said Vice President Biden.  “This investment in some of the most innovative energy-efficiency projects across the country will not only help homeowners and businesses make cost-cutting retrofit improvements, but also create jobs right here in America.”

“This initiative will help overcome the barriers to making energy efficiency easy and accessible to all – inconvenience, lack of information, and lack of financing,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  “Block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will make our communities more energy efficient and help families save money.  At the same time, we’ll create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy.”

In addition to the $452 million Recovery Act investment, the 25 projects announced today will leverage an estimated $2.8 billion from other sources over the next 3 years to retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the country.  Overall, the program funding was eight times oversubscribed, with more than $3.5 billion in applications received for the just over $450 million in Recovery Act funds available, indicating significant demand for investment in energy-saving and job-creating projects like these nationwide.

Grantees will employ innovative financing models to make these savings accessible, for example by offering low and no-interest loans that are repaid through property tax and utility bills.  In implementing these projects, grantees will deliver verified energy savings and incorporate sustainable business models, to ensure that buildings will continue to be retrofitted after Recovery Act funds are spent.  The Department will use the lessons learned from these pilot programs to develop best-practice guides to comprehensive retrofit programs that can be adopted and implemented by other communities across the country.

The Retrofit Ramp-Up projects, which are part of the overall $80 billion Recovery Act investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, complement the Obama Administration’s ‘Recovery through Retrofit’ initiative, which lays the groundwork for a self-sustaining and robust home energy efficiency industry.  The awards are the competitive portion of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which was funded for the first time under the Recovery Act to help state, local, and tribal communities make strategic investments in improving energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions.

Secretary Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, joined Vice President Biden today for the announcement, which was the first of more than two dozen events and activities Administration officials will participate in around Earth Day.  In addition to today’s event, the President will host an Earth Day reception with environmental leaders on Thursday, April 22nd, a video message from the President will air as part of events on the National Mall on Sunday, April 25th, and Administration officials will participate in educational programs with school children, visit wetland and coastal restoration projects and participate in community service projects as part of the President’s Earth Day call to action.  The events will highlight some of the ways the Administration is working to improve the environment, transform American infrastructure for greater energy-efficiency and build a clean energy economy that supports the jobs of the future.  As part of the events, Administration officials will also continue the push for Congress to act on HOME STAR legislation and comprehensive energy and climate change legislation.  A full roster of Administration Earth Day activities is below and more information on the President’s Earth Day call to action is available at www.WhiteHouse.gov/EarthDay.

Retrofit Ramp-Up Awards

The following governments and non-profit organizations have been selected for Retrofit Ramp-Up awards.  These projects are planned to begin in fall 2010.  Final award amounts are subject to negotiation:

Austin, Texas – $10 million
Boulder County, Colorado – $25 million
Camden, New Jersey – $5 million
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning – $25 million
Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, Ohio – $17 million
Greensboro, North Carolina – $5 million
Indianapolis, Indiana – $10 million
Kansas City, Missouri – $20 million
Los Angeles County, California – $30 million
Lowell, Massachusetts – $5 million
State of Maine – $30 million
State of Maryland – $20 million
State of Michigan – $30 million
State of Missouri – $5 million
Omaha, Nebraska – $10 million
State of New Hampshire – $10 million
New York State Research and Development Authority – $40 million
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $25 million
Phoenix, Arizona – $25 million
Portland, Oregon – $20 million
San Antonio, Texas – $10 million
Seattle, Washington – $20 million
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance – $20 million
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Ohio – $15 million
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation  – $20 million
For more information on the selected projects, visit HERE.  A map of the selected projects is available HERE.

Retrofit By the Numbers

• Residential and commercial buildings consume 40 percent of the energy and represent 40 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States.  Building efficiency represents one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost effective ways to reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy bills while creating new jobs:

• Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and lower total associated greenhouse gas emissions by up to 160 million metric tons annually.

• Residential and commercial retrofits also have the potential to cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.

Administration Official Earth Day Events and Activities (more…)

March 15, 2010

The Impact of the Stimulus Package on Clean Energy Jobs

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 4:20 pm
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I’m re-posting a very useful post by Congressman Ed Markey from last week on the impact of the stimulus package on clean energy jobs and industry in America.

The Recovery Act reoriented America to the future and refocused our efforts on our strengths. Our strength has always been our ability to innovate. Our weakness is our addiction to oil.

The tax credits and $90 billion clean energy investment in the Recovery Act has been a launching pad for job growth. This week, my Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming heard from businesses that are on the front lines of the economic turnaround.

In a recent blog post, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt and I argued that America must follow the blueprint of the 1990′s telecommunications revolution. Our goal must not simply be to create jobs, but to launch entire new industries in efficiency, wind, solar, advanced batteries, and other critical growth sectors. Here are just a few examples of how the clean energy provisions in the Recovery Act are meeting this challenge head-on:

In WEATHERIZATION
The State of Ohio, whose
Director of Department of Development testified today, has already weatherized more than 8,100 homes since last July and is ahead of schedule in reaching their goal of 32,000 homes. This has allowed 1,500 workers to keep their jobs while creating an additional 1,000 new jobs in Ohio. Best of all, the low income households receiving the efficiency work will save $350 a year on their energy bills — that translates into a $1.67 return for every dollar invested in weatherization.

In SOLAR
Suniva, a solar company in Georgia, is using an advanced, home-grown solar technology to leapfrog the competition and sell into the global market. They are exporting 90 percent of their solar panels and are sold out through mid-2011. In the process, they have been able to leverage Recovery Act support to grow the company from 2 employees in 2007 to 150 today. A quarter of this workforce is returned veterans and highly skilled autoworkers who had been laid off when the local plants closed.

A decade ago, we had a grand total of 470 megawatts of solar electricity installed in the United States. With the Recovery Act, we installed 480 megawatts of solar in 2009 alone. In 2010, the solar industry is likely to bring online the capacity equivalent of a new nuclear power plant. Solar energy programs in the Recovery Act supported more than 10,000 new jobs in 2009, and it is likely to support another 30,000 in 2010.

In WIND
Four years ago, 25 percent of the components of a wind turbine was made in America. Today, more than 50 percent is made in America. Annual additions of wind power have quadrupled during that time, from less than 2,500 megawatts in 2005 to nearly 10,000 megawatts last year. When the wind factories supported by the Recovery Act come online over the next couple years, the average American content is likely to be over 70 percent.

First Wind Holdings, out of my home state of Massachusetts, was able to leverage wind incentives in the Recovery Act to raise more than $1 billion in private investment and install more than 400 megawatts of new wind capacity in Maine, New York, and Utah. This work supported more than 1,000 jobs in 2009.

In ADVANCED BATTERIES
Nothing has the potential to wean us from imported oil more than electric vehicles. And advanced batteries are going to power these electric vehicles rolling off American assembly lines.

Asia owns 98 percent of that market today. With Recovery Act investments, however, U.S. global market share is projected to rise to 20 percent next year and 40 percent by 2015. We are essentially creating a brand new American industry – one we should have never fallen behind on in the first place. Johnson Controls even informed Congress that they are “reverse” outsourcing — moving jobs from overseas back to the United States to produce not just battery packs for vehicles, but the entire supply chain that feeds into them.

Now, imagine how many jobs that we can create once we stop sending $250 billion a year overseas for oil and start sending money to the workers in Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio who are building our electric batteries.

February 4, 2010

Senator Bernie Sanders Releases Major Solar Initiative

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 5:56 pm
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Press Release

Release: Sanders Introduces Major Solar Energy Initiative

February 4, 2010

WASHINGTON, February 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate’s green jobs subcommittee, today introduced legislation with nine cosponsors to encourage the installation of 10 million solar systems on the rooftops of homes and businesses over the next decade.

“At a time when we spend $350 billion importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other countries every year, the United States must move away from foreign oil to energy independence,” Sanders said. “A dramatic expansion of solar power is a clean and economical way to help break our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, improve our geopolitical position, and create good-paying green jobs.”

At a Senate committee hearing today, Sanders questioned Energy Secretary Steven Chu about President Obama’s budget for next year. The White House requested $2.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The requested 5 percent boost overall included a 22 percent increase for solar power.

The potential for solar power also was the subject of testimony last week before Sanders’ green jobs subcommittee by Jeff Wolfe, chief executive officer of groSolar in White River Junction, Vt. Wolfe said Sanders’ bill “would help homeowners and small businesses stabilize their energy costs.”

Sanders’ bill would authorize rebates which, along with other incentives, would cover up to half the cost of the 10 million solar power systems and 200,000 water heating systems. Non-profit groups and state and local governments also would be eligible. The legislation would ensure that participating homeowners and businesses also receive information on incentives to improve energy efficiency.

Sanders said a recent report shows that solar power could help make every state more energy independent if solar units were installed on available rooftop space, because every state can meet 10 percent or more of its electricity needs just through rooftop solar. Moreover, because solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than other energy sources. Sanders’ bill could create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next ten years in the solar industry.

The legislation’s cosponsors include Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.),  Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).

Sanders’ measure is patterned after successful state programs promoting solar energy in New Jersey and California, where prices have fallen as the number of solar units increased.

To read a copy of the bill, click here.

September 30, 2009

The Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act

As I yesterday,Barbara Boxer and John Kerry have released their piece of climate legislation, The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act(full text).  If you aren’t up for the heavy reading, here is an overview, a summary, and a section by section summary.  Here is a press release about the legislation.  Below is an op-ed John Kerry has out in Politico about why we need to pass this bill.

A new path for energy use

For decades, politicians have talked about the importance of ending America’s addiction to oil and investing in energy that is made in America and that works for America — from coal and nuclear to solar and wind.

But with the Clean Jobs and American Power Act, which we are introducing Wednesday, we at last have an opportunity to put our country on that path — a path more critical because of the urgent threat of global climate change.

The Clean Jobs and American Power Act is aimed at no less than the reinvention of the way America produces and uses energy. It will be a challenge, but America has never shied away from a challenge before.

Reinventing the way we use energy can also be the cornerstone for decades of economic growth and a stronger, more powerful America. Today, 15 million Americans are out of work. We send $1 billion per day overseas to feed our oil addiction. Scientists and generals warn that climate change caused by carbon pollution threatens our health and our national security. Each of these factors weakens America.

Rarely have we faced so many challenges, but rarely have so many challenges also culminated in such an enormous opportunity — an opportunity to put millions of Americans back to work, to invest in homegrown innovation and to protect our children’s health and our environment.

The Clean Jobs and American Power Act takes a comprehensive approach to meeting our energy challenge head on.

It sets ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets, creates powerful new incentives for companies to find the most cost-efficient ways to meet them and makes historic new investments in technology and efficiency that will improve every sector of our energy economy. And it does not raise the deficit by one single dime.

Based on the successful bipartisan plan that reduced acid rain, a market-based pollution reduction and investment system will set ambitious yearly targets. It will reduce carbon pollution 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, a decrease that scientists consider the minimum necessary to avert a climate disaster.

This system is tough on corporate pollution, taking aim at America’s largest polluters: those emitting 25,000 tons of carbon each year. The 7,500 facilities covered in 2012 — mostly power plants, industrial facilities and petroleum and petrochemical operations — account for nearly three-quarters of America’s carbon emissions. Farmers and nearly all small business are exempt. More than 98 percent of all American businesses fall below the threshold.

The bill is designed to offer big polluters options: Those that need more time to clean up their emissions can pay for the continued right to pollute. Those companies that decrease pollution quickly and affordably stand to profit.

This bill creates powerful new market incentives for developing clean energy and improving energy efficiency. Americans invented the technologies behind wind and solar energy, but countries like China and Germany have surged ahead of us. This bill provides new funding for research and deployment to make us the world leaders once again.

Every dollar spent on clean energy creates nearly four times as many jobs as a dollar invested in oil and gas. These are good-paying, regionally diverse jobs for American workers of all educational backgrounds — and best of all, they can’t be shipped overseas.

As we transition to this new energy future, we need game-changing investments and improvements throughout our entire energy system. We can’t afford to ignore any homegrown energy resources. Because coal will remain an important part of America’s economy, we must help the coal industry reinvent itself — that includes rewards for installing new technology to capture and store carbon pollution before it reaches the air we breathe.

Natural gas will receive similar incentives to increase cost-effectiveness and galvanize technological advances. We will also make the investment in research, development and worker training needed to build the next generation of American nuclear power plants.

Of course, the cleanest and cheapest kilowatt of energy is the one you never use. More than 1,000 U.S. cities have adopted tough environmental standards for new construction and for refitting existing buildings. We respond to the urgent requests of our governors and mayors by funding these efforts.

As our energy economy races ahead, no one should be left behind.

This bill protects everyday consumers. Rebates on monthly electric bills will ensure that energy remains affordable for low- and middle-income families. And a new market-based mechanism will kick in as needed to keep prices stable.

This bill also includes targeted protection for our manufacturing sector, to ensure that American companies remain competitive and keep jobs here at home. New programs will train workers to succeed in the new clean energy economy.

We can do all those things, and more, to make America safer and stronger. But only if we reinvent the way America uses energy.

It won’t be easy. For too long, Washington let Big Oil and special interests stand between us and our goals. This has hurt our economy, helped our enemies and risked our security. But the time has come to put America back in control, and the Clean Jobs and American Power Act at last turns rhetoric into reality and puts us on that path.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and the lead sponsor of The Clean Jobs and American Power Act.


September 5, 2009

NAACP’s Statement on Van Jones

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matt Dernoga @ 11:52 am
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As many know, the green jobs advisor to the Obama administration, Van Jones, has come under a lot of fire from the right wing cable news hosts and radio stations over the past few weeks.  It’s reached a boiling point, spilling over into the mainstream media.  The main culprit of a lot of the attacks has been by Glenn Beck on his Fox News show.  Seeing as how Glenn Beck is insane, one would hope the mainstream media and mainstream America wouldn’t take the slander too seriously.  Below is the NAACP’s statement on the situation, which I agree with.  It’s not Van Jones that needs to go, it’s Glenn Beck.

NAACP Continues its Support of Van Jones and White House Green Jobs Initiative

NAACP Continues its Support of Special Advisor of Green Jobs Van Jones and the White House Green Jobs Initiative. The NAACP is calling for civility in the national discourse on safe, clean communities and sustainable sources of domestic energy. It is time to end the personal attacks on administration officials as a distraction to crucial discussion on our nation and our world’s environmental conditions.

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous:

“It is sad and unfortunate that our nation’s precious airwaves and cable television time are being occupied with the unscrupulous, diversionary tactics launched by right wing extremists such as Glenn Beck. These desperate tactics divert America’s attention and intellectual resources away from issues affecting our families and communities. These life-and-death concerns are being overshadowed by employing ruthless attacks against Van Jones, White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs and dedicated advocate for safe, clean and healthy communities.

Van Jones has established himself through his many years in public service as a hardworking advocate for positive, progressive change. He is a devoted husband and father.  Mr. Beck and the other news services’ portrayal of Mr. Jones to the contrary is not only distracting and disingenuous but harmful and destructive.

“The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary. I can only assume hat  this is the very reason that several dozen organizations throughout our country have gone on record stating they will boycott FOX News (the television network home of Glenn Beck). While we defend the right to free speech for all Americans, we expect news outlets throughout our country to uphold civility in their portrayal of the President of the United States as well as members of his administration and others who have wrongfully come under scrutiny. America’s news outlets have the responsibility to uphold accuracy and integrity in their reporting.”

Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Policy:

“The tactics being deployed by right wing extremist commentators to divert the American people’s attention away from very important issues of our nation such as sustainable energy, lack of dependence on foreign fuel sources, and the creation of living wage jobs are not only unethical but dangerous to the future of our country. Most recently, television commentator Glenn Beck of FOX News attempted to besmirch the character and integrity of President Obama’s administration officials such as White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs Van Jones. This feeble, mean spirited attack is little more than a desperate attempt to derail the adminstration’s priority of clean sustainable energy while working to end our nation’s dependency on foreign energy sources.

“In an economy where unemployment is leaning toward 10 percent, and African-American unemployment lies at over 15 percent, the creation of employment opportunities for all Americans, including African-American and low-income communities, is a critical necessity. It is our experience that Mr. Jones’ plan to reinvigorate urban areas through the creation of green jobs not only demonstrates a constructive vision to invest in our communities, but also recognizes that climate change is indeed a civil rights issue. That is why we support his implementation of this very thoughtful plan.”

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August 28, 2009

UMD for Clean Energy Pushes Green Platform for City Elections

UMD(University of Maryland) for Clean Energy is the student group I’m campaign director of.  I recently made a post about our position statement we delivered to Senator Ben Cardin’s office, which showed up in the Washington Post Maryland blog(scroll to bottom).  Beyond weighing in on Federal legislation, we’re taking advantage of an incredible opportunity to influence College Park policy in the upcoming elections this November, the city our school resides in.  We think the transition to a clean energy economy and more sustainable society needs to come from not just from the top down, but the bottom up starting in our communities.  We’re going to do our best to make that a reality in ours.  I could say a lot more, and I’ll have plenty more updates as the school year moves forward.  I think the below press release previewing our campaign touches pretty well on all the main points, and shows some of the groundwork we’ve laid for this to rock.  We’ve also got a new website which is pretty basic right now but will have plenty more content soon.  You can find our platform for the election here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 28, 2009

Contact:  Kenny Frankel, Media Director: 301-437-8197, kfrankel88@gmail.com

Ambitious Student Group Pushes Green Platform

A student environmental group looks to push for green investment in College Park and green jobs in Prince George’s County

UMD for Clean Energy, a student activist group from the University of Maryland, looks to advance a green platform for the city of College Park elections this coming fall.

They aim to mobilize hundreds of students to vote for city council and mayoral candidates this November 3 that support this platform which includes green economic policies, sustainable transportation, and more environmentally friendly buildings.  This mobilization will culminate in front of the university’s McKeldin library on Election Day, from which all the supporting students will march the half-mile to city hall to green-mindedly cast their ballots.  The kicker is that usually a candidate can win their election with a few hundred votes, so these students will represent large portions of their vote.

Among all the green recommendations in the platform, there is one notable priority.  The student group wants to implement a mechanism that would drive energy efficiency investment in the city.

This priority is the establishment of an energy efficiency loan fund.  This would be a pool of money that can be loaned out at a low interest rate to finance energy efficiency upgrades and home improvements for residents of College Park.  Borrowers could then repay the loan fund with their energy savings, and reap the savings once they have paid back the loan.

“One of the biggest barriers to investing in energy efficiency is financing.  If people can pay for these upgrades with their energy savings, that barrier disappears,” said Laura Calabrese, UMD for Clean Energy Organizational Director.

Energy efficiency loan funds have already been created in Annapolis and Montgomery County.  If a similar policy is passed in College Park, it could serve as a model for other small cities in Prince George’s County and Maryland.

Sound like a lofty goal for a group of college kids?  UMD for Clean Energy has already met with city councilmembers Mary Cook (District 4) and Patrick Wojahn (District 1), current mayor Stephen Brayman, and mayoral candidate Andy Fellows to facilitate a discussion on city energy policy.

“It is our goal to meet with every single candidate and current councilmember to share our ideas and hear theirs,” said Matt Dernoga, UMD for Clean Energy Campaign Director.

Although making this loan fund a reality will take a multi-faceted approach, the group looks to reach out to civic and community associations in College Park in addition to other student groups in their campaign.  They are already bringing mayoral candidate Andy Fellows and PG County Clean Energy Corp Director Thomas Cannady to speak at their kickoff meeting on September 14 to engage in a dialogue with students over the need for a new green direction in the city and county.

Maryland has already moved in that direction by passing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act last spring.  It mandates the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020.  According to a MD Department of the Environment factsheet, if the bill’s funds start “developing clean energy industries, Maryland could create between 144,000 and 326,000 in-state jobs over the next 20 years”.

“Where are those jobs and the business investment that comes with them going to fall?  We want College Park and Prince Georges County to be on the forefront so they land here,” said Dernoga.

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For more information about the Maryland global warming bill, see

http://www.mde.state.md.us/assets/document/Air/ClimateChange/GGRA_factsheet.pdf

For more information on the Annapolis initiative, see

http://www.whatsupmag.com/home-garden/green/09-07-29/Money_to_help_Annapolitans_Install_Geothermal_Solar_and_More.aspx

For more information on the Montgomery County initiative, see:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/pdf/bill/2009/20090422_6-09.pdf

More About UMD for Clean Energy

http://www.umdforcleanenergy.com

UMD for Clean Energy is a student activist group at the University of Maryland.  In the past, they have successfully petitioned the university and University System of Maryland Board of Regents to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.  This past spring, they were successful in collaborating with statewide environmental groups to pass the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, which sets the strongest short-term emissions reduction target in the nation – 25 percent reductions from 2006 levels by 2020.  The group has also recently engaged at the federal level, lobbying for climate legislation which passed the House of Representatives this past June and will be considered by the Senate in the fall.

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