environmental justice

Statewide LG EE Best Practices: Weekly Update


The wEEkly Update

For Local Governments and their partners

Here are your wEEkly updates:

The Coordinator would like to highlight upcoming webinars and events:

Bay Area Solar Photovoltaic Ordinance Webinar - Oct. 23
The Bay Area Regional Collaborative is hosting to the first bi-monthly work session hosted through the Bay Area Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Ordinance program.

Clean Transportation Vehicle Technologies - Oct. 24
Speakers will provide an overview of transportation electrification, natural gas vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, and the role of municipalities to reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector.

Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement - Oct. 31 & Nov. 21
In this two-part webinar series, participants will be equipped to communicate effectively on climate change, empowering you to create and deliver compelling messages that engage and motivate a diversity of Americans in the issue.

Cost Effective Zero Net Energy Practices for Production Home Builders - Nov. 1
Join the experts involved in the PG&E ZNE Production Builder Demonstration as they detail the design features that resulted in superior thermal performance, reduced material cost and waste, as well as energy and water savings for occupants.

Building Operator Certification – Nov. 9
Learn how the training program benefits building personnel, facility departments, building owners, the environment, and bottom lines.
 



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Upcoming events
Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program Fall Symposium – Oct. 18
Webinar: Energy Efficiency Regulations for Computers - Oct. 18
Workshop on the Draft 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report - Oct. 23
Bay Area Solar Photovoltaic Ordinance Webinar - Oct. 23
BayREN Forum on the Rise of Renewables and Its Impact on the Grid - Oct. 24
Webinar: Clean Transportation Vehicle Technologies - Oct. 24
CDP Cities North America Workshop – Oct. 25
CPUC Sacramento Voting Meeting - Oct. 26
Practical Guidance for Local Climate Engagement - Oct. 31 & Nov. 21
Webinar: Financing and Incentives to Foster Zero Net Energy - Oct 31
Cost Effective Zero Net Energy Practices for Production Home Builders - Nov. 1
Webinar: BayREN - PACE and Financing - Nov. 7
Affordable Multifamily Financing Pilot Workshop - Nov. 7
Webinar: Building Operator Certification – Nov. 9
Community Solar Pilot Workshops in California
Find more events



Environmental justice movement gets push from White House

Environmental justice.

The term sounds great. The concept, however, has a long way to go.

While poor areas get the brunt of a long list of environmental hazards and toxic sites, bad stuff can be buried or swirling in the air or water in any ZIP code. Progress has a way of getting things done and dealing with consequences later.

But Obama's taken up the call.

This week, Lisa P. Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, resurrected the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice.

Big deal, right? Perhaps not. But it's something and at least a positive move by the Obama administration to push for federal protection from environmental and health hazards for everyone. The language of a press release reminds me of talk in the living room political gatherings I grew up with in Alaska.

I can hear my activist parents, Willie and Mary Ratcliff, publishers of the San Francisco Bayview, saying the same thing 30 years ago.

"Pollution like dirty air and contaminated water can have significant economic impacts on overburdened and low-income communities, driving away investment in new development and new jobs and exposing residents to potentially costly health threats." I was momentarily taken back in time by the words.

My activist parents continue to fight the battle they began as teenagers in the 1950s, my mother at Oberlin, my father as a black concrete contractor in California and up the coast to the Last Frontier. The best way to describe their message over the years I sum up by quoting Jesse Jackson's jobs, peace and freedom call for justice.

Environmental justice is a huge part of this, and it's effects can be seen in any poor community across the globe. Immigrant entry points in big cities are overlooked as are rural areas. Got something toxic? Give it to the poor folks under the auspices of jobs.

Jobs never materialize but the toxics remain.

I generalize, but dig a little and the examples are there.

The EPA's newfound call for environmental justice is supposed to "guide, support and enhance federal environmental justice and community-based activities." Officials say the effort will help federal agencies identify projects "where federal collaboration can support the development of healthy and sustainable communities."

Who knows if it will mean anything beyond more high- and low-level bureaucratic meetings? I'm optimistic. Just talking about it raises the political capital of the environmental movement and the push to generate interest and jobs in a clean energy economy.

Groups like 350.org will gain grassroots members and the 10/10/10 movement may gain a little boost to identify and tackle projects that make the world a better place.

I'm inspired by something U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said: “In too many areas of our country, the burden of environmental degradation falls disproportionately on low-income and minority communities – and most often, on the children who live in those communities. Our environmental laws and protections must extend to all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.”

Photo: KQED Quest. One of many signs at Hunter's Point Shipyard in San Francisco.