The Dernogalizer

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.

###

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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8 Comments »

  1. […] Cross-Posted from: here […]

    Pingback by UMD for Clean Energy Pushes Green Platform for City Council Elections « It’s Getting Hot In Here — August 28, 2009 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  2. […] Cross-Posted from: here […]

    Pingback by UMD for Clean Energy Pushes Green Platform for City Council Elections | CCAN Blog — August 28, 2009 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  3. you have some really good posts here. Im going to spend the next few days reading them. i love your writing style and I’m really happy to visited your blog. keep those posts coming

    Comment by structuredsettlement — September 1, 2009 @ 8:43 am | Reply

    • thanks!

      Comment by Matt Dernoga — September 1, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  4. […] University of Maryland student group I’m part of, UMD for Clean Energy, is getting involved in the city of College Park’s City Council Elections by pushing a green platform and […]

    Pingback by The Power of Energy Efficiency Loan Funds « The Dernogalizer — September 14, 2009 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

  5. […] Green for College Park, UMD for Clean Energy The election phase of UMD for Clean Energy’s Green for College Park effort is winding down to a close.  Our political liaison Hilary Staver has an Op-Ed out in the […]

    Pingback by UMD for Clean Energy’s Election Endorsements « The Dernogalizer — October 29, 2009 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  6. […] Clean Energy’s big event of the semester, and the culmination of the election phase of our Green for College Park campaign.  We are looking to elect a fiercely green city council that will make College Park the […]

    Pingback by Green Activists March to City Hall Tomorrow « The Dernogalizer — November 2, 2009 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  7. […] Clean Energy’s big event of the semester, and the culmination of the election phase of our Green for College Park campaign. We are looking to elect a fiercely green city council that will make College Park the […]

    Pingback by Green Activists March to City Hall Tomorrow « It’s Getting Hot In Here — November 2, 2009 @ 12:51 pm | Reply


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