WASHINGTON, DC — Today, District of Columbia Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, took a bold stand on behalf of DC and climate justice. Allen proposed two key changes to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s draft fiscal year 2024 budget that would advance DC’s nation-leading efforts to spur the transition to clean energy and deliver new benefits to city residents. The Committee will finalize its changes to the Mayor’s draft budget in a markup session that begins at 12:30 PM today, Thursday April 27.
Allen’s budget proposal would modestly raise the fee on the use of methane gas and electricity in homes and buildings to discourage fossil fuel use and provide $132 million in additional revenue to DC’s Sustainable Energy Trust Fund over the next four years. The Sustainable Energy Trust Fund was established in 2008 and supports several crucial programs at the District’s Department of Energy and Environment and the District’s Green Bank, including training DC residents for environmental jobs and supporting low-income homeowners with energy retrofits. Allen’s proposal would also allow the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund to support energy efficiency upgrades for building owners who are converting commercial buildings into residential buildings.
The proposed fee increase would more than offset Mayor Bowser’s proposal to transfer funds out of the Sustainable Energy Trust Fund to use for other programs.
Allen’s budget proposal would also reverse Bowser’s plan to delay implementation of Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) throughout the District. DC was the first jurisdiction in the nation to create an energy performance standards program, which is meant to ramp down energy use in large commercial and government buildings over time. Buildings are responsible for over 70% of the District’s carbon emissions. The Mayor’s proposal to delay BEPS implementation would not only be bad for the climate, but it would be a huge waste of government resources and actually make it harder for building owners to meet the performance standards at a later date.
Mike Tidwell, executive director of CCAN Action Fund, said:
“Councilmember Allen is demonstrating real leadership by recommending budget policies that will keep the nation’s capital at the forefront of the nationwide climate movement. The District of Columbia is setting the bar high for cities and states across America on how to move towards clean energy solutions that are good for our people and planet. We applaud the Councilmember’s actions and urge other Councilmembers to enthusiastically support his proposals.”
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CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.