Tuesday, December 18:  DC Council to Pass Strongest Climate Bill in the Nation

Tuesday, December 18: DC Council to Pass Strongest Climate Bill in the Nation

“Clean Energy DC Act” mandates 100% clean electricity by 2032, groundbreaking efficiency standards, and more, bringing renewable energy to the White House while Trump Administration denies climate change

Press conference on Freedom Plaza to follow Council vote

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, December 18, the DC Council is expected to pass the country’s strongest bill to address climate change. The “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018” passed its first vote unanimously on November 29, all but assuring its passage on December 18.  This bill would secure 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032, create groundbreaking energy efficiency standards, raise money to weatherize low-income homes, provide major incentives for electric cars, and much more.

By passing this bill, DC’s local legislators will take the lead nationally on climate change, as the federal administration backtracks. The vote will take place one week after officials with the Trump Administration promoted the benefits of coal at the United Nations’ climate conference in Poland in a panel that was shut down by protesters.

WHAT: Final vote for “Clean Energy DC Act” and Press Conference to Follow
  – Vote to take place in Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW
  – Press Conference on Freedom Plaza, 1339 Pennsylvania Ave     NW
WHEN: Tuesday, December 18, immediately after Council vote (sometime between noon and 4:00pm. Will provide updated timing on Tuesday morning.)
  – Camila Thorndike, CCAN Action Fund
  – Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus
  – Jamie DeMarco, Citizens Climate Lobby
  – Mary Anne Hitt, Sierra Club
  – Nikhil Balakumar, Coalition for a Resilient DC
 – Molly Rauch, Moms Clean Air Force
  – Joelle Novey, Interfaith Power & Light – DMV Region

The climate crisis has reached a new level of urgency as recent federal and international reports paint an alarming picture of current and future economic and humanitarian harm to Americans unless the US and nations worldwide transition off of fossil fuels very quickly. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that the world has 12 years to cut global carbon emissions in half in order to prevent catastrophe. The “Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018,” or “Clean Energy DC Act,” is seen as the District’s answer to these reports. It takes  a comprehensive approach to reducing carbon emissions, cutting greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2032.

The “Clean Energy DC Act” strengthens the District’s renewable electricity requirement to 100 percent by 2032 through the Renewable Portfolio Standard. This would put DC on the fastest timeline to 100 percent clean electricity in the country — California recently passed a bill for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. This requirement would apply to the White House.

It also creates groundbreaking efficiency standards for new and existing buildings, and funds local programs to assist low-income residents as the city transitions to more sustainable clean energy systems.

In addition, this legislation takes aim at emissions from home heating and transportation. It would scale up an existing heating fee called the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund (SETF), which would raise up to $70 million to finance renewable energy and efficiency projects and provide assistance to low-income DC residents.  It would also adjust the vehicle excise tax to incentivize clean cars and make owning dirty vehicles more expensive. The legislation also authorizes the District to put a price on transportation fuels if Virginia and Maryland commit to the same.

This bill is supported by the “DC Climate Coalition,” which is comprised of more than 110 environmental and justice advocacy organizations, faith groups, unions, consumer advocacy organizations, D.C. businesses, and more.

Denise Robbins, Communications Director, CCAN Action Fund, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 608-620-8819
Barbara Briggs, 350 DC, barbarahbriggs@gmail.com
Justin McCarthy, DC Climate Coalition, jlawrencemccarthy@gmail.com, 540-312-3797