Cities Across the Country Submit Comment on Clean Energy Incentive Program in Support of EPA's Clean Power Plan
WASHINGTON — As the merits of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) are argued in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals next week, cities across the country are making their support for the CPP known. Cities are counting on the Clean Power Plan to help deliver more clean and affordable energy.
The Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) is a voluntary early-action program of the CPP designed to encourage early investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In particular, it focuses these investments in low-income communities, where families carry a higher than average energy burden and are disproportionately affected by climate change.
"Having just launched our Climate Positive initiative this summer, in which we committed to going 100% clean energy by 2032, a program that incentivizes solar and energy efficiency projects plus a more equitable distribution to all members of our community is of course something we're proud to stand behind," said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski . "Salt Lake City had the warmest average June-July temperature since records began in 1874, and I know we're not alone. We need to act, and we need to act now. The CPP and the CEIP are critical steps toward combating climate change nationwide that will have significant local impact."
More than 20 local governments, including Pinecrest, Florida; Denver; Salt Lake City; Clarkston, Georgia and a coalition of 12 Colorado counties and cities are working to submit comments to the EPA, with many more local governments expected to participate before the November 1st public comment
"Here in Boulder and across Colorado, cities and counties have a track record of designing, developing, and implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that work for our communities," said Jonathan Koehn of Colorado Communities for Climate Action . "But local action isn't enough to fully address the effects of climate change. It's why our consortium has come together to urge state and federal support for the CEIP so that we have the policies and tools to meet important emission reduction goals."
While the 27 states suing to the stop the CPP from being enacted decry the plan as regulatory overreach and an undue burden on states, many local governments say just the opposite: that the emissions goals set forth in the plan are not only achievable, but also essential to effectively combating the effects of climate change that they're already experiencing. In April, a coalition of more than 50 local governments, the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the mayors from Dallas, Knoxville and Orlando filed an amicus brief supporting the EPA in the federal court case. Though cities are voluntarily taking climate action, the CPP and CEIP will enhance their efforts helping to drive additional investment, create jobs, save families money and improve public health.
"America's cities continue to lead in the development and deployment of sustainable solutions to combat climate change," said National League of Cities ( NLC) CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony. "We are proud to have joined 50 cities from around the country in signing an amicus brief to support the Clean Power Plan (CPP). As a key component of the CPP, the Clean Energy Incentive Program directs investments to the communities that need it most, while supporting ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs at the local level."
Several of the first wave of cities submitting comments are in states where their attorney general is suing, further illustrating a divide between state attorneys general and local governments. A Yale Study revealed 60 percent or more of voters in 38 states support the CPP. A poll conducted by Bloomberg Philanthropies found that 73 percent of Florida voters support the plan.
"In Pinecrest, we've created a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) district to help qualified homeowners invest in specified energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement. CEIP will help us further the climate progress we're already making and incentivize others to join in the movement," said Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner . "We're counting on the federal government to implement the Clean Power Plan's framework for reducing carbon pollution and need our state leaders to get on board not
stand in the way."
The CEIP is the component of the CPP that will drive projects at the local level before the CPP's compliance period begins in 2022. In states that choose to participate, nonprofit partners are working alongside cities to help them to assess the proposed CEIP and its relevance to local governments, as well
as provide technical assistance in analyzing impact and developing comments. For example, USDN, a peer-to-peer network of local government practitioners from cities across the United States and Canada, convened a working group in 2015 to bring city staff together to work on the issue.
"Cities across the country have adopted ambitious carbon reduction goals and are working together to develop and share successful strategies to meet them," said Nils Moe, Managing Director, Urban Sustainability Directors Network . "The Clean Power Plan and the Clean Energy Incentive Program are important examples of how federal and state climate action can accelerate progress at the local level."
"Many cities have significant populations of low-income residents who, when faced with high energy bills due to inefficient buildings, risk losing their electricity and heating," said Shelley Poticha, Director of Urban Solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Cities need more energy efficiency investments for their low-income residents. The CEIP is an opportunity for cities to create a more equitable, clean energy future."
Many of the organizations supporting these efforts are grantees of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has a strong focus on clean energy and city climate action. "As Mayor Bloomberg always says, we cannot address climate change effectively without putting cities at the center of the agenda," said Antha N. Williams, head of Environmental Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies, a supporter of measurable, local action on climate and sustainability through organizations such as EDF and USDN. "In order to have the greatest impact on climate change, local, state, and federal governments must work together. As the mayors have expressed, having access to the CEIP incentives can help them meet and exceed their
state's emission goals, as well as strengthen their local economies. It's critical that the CPP is implemented, so cities receive all the support possible to transition their communities to clean energy."
About the National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org
About the Urban Sustainability Directors Network
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) is a peer-to-peer network of local government practitioners from cities across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity. www.usdn.org
About the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. The Urban Solutions Program houses NRDC's City Energy Project and Energy Efficiency For All project – both focused on improving energy efficiency locally. www.nrdc.org