ECC Active with ‘Inside-the-Beltway” Policy Activities
Before Washington reaches an August lull with the annual congressional summer recess and the dog days of summer, the Obama Administration and Congress have been busy with a variety of announcements – and ECC has been actively participating in events "inside the Beltway."
On July 9, the Center for American Progress, in cooperation with the National League of Cities, convened a session on Building Climate Resilience for Equitable Communities, where the importance of social cohesion as a tool in the fight for equitable climate resilience was stressed.
Donovan also announced several ways the Obama Administration is addressing the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities:White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan remarked, "Communities of color face challenges every day related to inequality in their lives. Disasters like Katrina and Sandy just place an extra burden on these communities."
- Launching a Resilience AmeriCorps Pilot Program – The Corporation for National and Community Service, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation and Cities of Service to recruit, train and embed volunteers from the national service program, Americorps VISTA, to work with vulnerable communities that lack the capacity to address climate resilience planning and implementation.
- Expanding Investments in the National Disaster Resilience Competition – The Rockefeller Foundation pledged $3.2 million in additional support of the Department of Housing and Urban Develpment's $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition to build capacity in vulnerable jurisdictions.
- Expanding Opportunities in America's Cities – The Kresge Foundation announced an independent commitment, Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity Initiative, to invest $10 million over the next three years to strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations to influence local and regional climate resilience planning, policy development and implementation.
- Several federal agency announcements –The Department of the Interior Tribal Climate Preparedness Grants ($11.8 million); Federal Emergency Management Agency Climate Adaptation, Preparedness and Resilience seminar series; Department of Energy Regional Vulnerabilities and Resilience Solutions report to be released and a Regional Climate-Change Impact seminar series; OMB guidance to federal agencies to consider climate preparedness in FY 2017 budget requests; and mainstreaming resilience into federal programs and utilizing information from the White House Climate Data Initiative.
ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca commented, "President Obama is striving to leave a legacy of action on climate change and clean energy. He is not standing on the sidelines waiting for Congress to take action."
Meanwhile across town on Capitol Hill, progressive congressional leaders participated in a Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Expo sponsored by the Environmental & Energy Study Institute.
Several members of Congress representing the House and Senate Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucuses, Energy Savings Performance Contracts Caucus, High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition and House Sustainable Energy and Environmental Coalition provided remarks.
One of them, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) – a long-time, staunch supporter of a clean energy economy – told the enthusiastic crowd of congressional staffers and advocates, "The energy and climate revolution is well on its way, and you are all part of making history. There were those that doubted Henry Ford and the automobile revolution."
Floresca commented, "Climate and clean energy action are issues on which both the president and progressive Democrats are strongly aligned and in agreement that real change is happening in cities, counties and regions outside of the Washington Beltway. That is why the president has asked federal agencies to provide local technical assistance and has stressed to Congress the importance of supporting items in annual federal agency appropriations that support local technical assistance and capacity-building. Cities, counties and towns need federal support in planning for climate change and the new clean energy economy."