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Pepco Energy Efforts Receive National Recognition

WASHINGTON INFORMER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have presented Pepco with the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award. This latest accolade marks the 6th ENERGY STAR award Pepco has received, which recognizes the success of the company’s energy efficiency programs that help provide customers with more control over their energy usage while saving them money as well.

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By WI Web Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have presented Pepco with the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award.

This latest accolade marks the 6th ENERGY STAR award Pepco has received, which recognizes the success of the company’s energy efficiency programs that help provide customers with more control over their energy usage while saving them money as well.

“We are committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for our customers and it is a significant achievement to be recognized by EPA for these efforts,” said Michael Poncia, vice president of Customer Operations for Pepco Holdings, which includes Pepco. “Our programs are providing customers with opportunities to take important energy efficiency actions that are helping them save energy and money and are having positive impacts on our environment.”

The Sustained Excellence designation is awarded to companies that continue to exhibit exceptional leadership year-after-year in the ENERGY STAR program, while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through superior energy efficiency achievements.

Pepco, along with sister Exelon utilities, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, and PECO were honored for their continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency achievements at EPA’s awards ceremony held in the District of Columbia last week.

“I applaud the 2019 ENERGY STAR Award Winners,” said Bill Wehrum, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation. “Their innovation and leadership enhance America’s economic competitiveness. Reducing costly energy waste improves air quality and public health while protecting the environment.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

Economics

State Could Create 1 Million New Jobs in Transition to Clean Economy

As California transitions to a greener economy, new jobs can be created while other jobs will be lost.

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Headshot of Robert Pollin

As California’s economy reopens, numerous labor union representatives at a news conference on June 10 demanded a safe and equitable transition to the green economy for workers.

Union members made their demands virtually at the conference, also sharing their thoughts on a new related report on California jobs by researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The research, led by economics professor Robert Pollin, says California can create 1 million new jobs a year through 2030 by investing in energy efficiency, clean renewable energy,  manufacturing/infrastructure, and land restoration/agriculture.

“Our study shows how to get there,” Pollin said.

As California transitions to a greener economy, new jobs can be created while other jobs will be lost.

The report says $76 billion is needed to create 416,000 jobs in energy efficiency and clean renewable energy while $62 billion is needed to create 626,000 jobs in manufacturing/infrastructure and land restoration/agriculture.

Pollin said about 112,000 workers are employed in California’s fossil fuel and bioenergy industries and about 58,000 are expected to lose their jobs by 2030 as those two industries contract and coal use ends.

The damage may be most severe in Kern, Contra Costa, and Los Angeles counties, where 50% of all fossil fuel job losses will occur when the state’s fossil fuel industry contracts, according to the study.

But about 350,000 a year can be created with the investments that Pollin’s team suggests.

About 320,000 of those will be created in Los Angeles County.

Some of the money from the $138 billion to be invested would go toward helping those out of work train and relocate, if needed, to new jobs, according to the report.

About half or $70 billion of the total investment would come from public coffers while the other half would come from private investors.

If President Joseph Biden gets the American Jobs Plan passed, it could provide $40 billion a year for clean energy and infrastructure investments in California, covering about 60% of the $70 billion that may need to come from public funding.

“The Congressional THRIVE Agenda would provide about $100 billion per year for the clean energy, infrastructure/manufacturing and land restoration/agriculture programs we describe,” the researchers said.
Also, the state can borrow to supplement federal funding.

Union members who spoke at the news conference were excited about the prospect for 1 million new jobs, but they want them to be good-paying, union jobs.

Some union members were sober about the prospect of the fossil fuel industry coming to an end.
Norman Rogers, vice president of the United Steelworkers Local 675 said working at a refinery it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall with cars like the Prius and Teslas on the road.

“Now is the time for an equitable transition,” he said.

He wants to make sure workers nearing retirement, those at the mid-career level and newcomers are taken care of.

Dave Campbell, secretary-treasurer for Local 675, said they are prepared to take Pollin’s work to Gov. Gavin Newsom to discuss “securing the funding for this disaster relief and recovery package for fossil fuel workers, in this budget cycle.”

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Bay Area

AME Church Struggles to Fight a Crisis Within a Pandemic

A homeless encampment with approximately 25 families is located just behind Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 476 34th St., in West Oakland. Since the arrival of the encampment there have been fires, with smoke entering the church and setting off fire alarms, dogs chasing elderly parishioners, stolen mail and tithes, and a murder.

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Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, Parks Chapel AME Church Oakland, wipes away tears as Council Member Carroll Fife, 3rd District, promises to help the church and the community combat the issues arising from the increase in homelessness in the Bay Area, at a press conference addressing the presence of a homeless encampment located behind Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland on May 19, 2021. Photo by Christy Price.

Oakland’s homeless population is on the rise and the faith community is struggling with how to balance empathy with safety. A homeless encampment with approximately 25 families is located just behind Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 476 34th St., in West Oakland. 

Since the arrival of the encampment there have been fires, with smoke entering the church and setting off fire alarms, dogs chasing elderly parishioners, stolen mail and tithes, and a murder. Encampment residents have tapped into the church’s electrical box and stolen electricity from the church, raising the church’s power bill. 

On May 19, Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, pastor of Parks Chapel AME Church, addressed a crowd of parishioners and news crews, about the issues that the local community is facing with the increasing homelessness, crime and dangerous conditions surrounding the church property. Through tears, she pleaded for help from the City of Oakland, who has fallen short on promises to address the issues that come with the rise of homelessness.

Carroll Fife, councilwoman for the 3rd District, promised to make this issue a priority. She said she would be the voice of the AME community when it came to pushing other Oakland politicians to do what is needed to tackle this problem. Fife has plans to build more housing for the homeless and is currently working on getting approval to build on land owned by CalTrans. 

Also participating in the press conference were pastors from other churches in Oakland:

 

Rev. Dr. Rodney Smith, First African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Oakland, gave the Invocation.

Rev. Dr. Rodney Smith, FAME Oakland Church/ Photo by Christy Price.

Rev. Dr. Ronné Wingate Sims, Imani Community Church Oakland, read from Leviticus 19:15.

Rev. Dr. Ronné Wingate Sims, Imani Community Church Oakland/ Photo by Christy Price.

Rev. Dr. Jo David Sales, St. Paul AME Church Berkeley, gave the closing prayer.

Rev. Dr. Jo David Sales, St. Paul AME Church Berkeley/ Photo by Christy Price.

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Community

Newsom Unveils Revised Budget Proposal, $100 Billion Post-Pandemic Recovery Plan    

The $267.8 billion budget includes a $196.8 billion general fund and is roughly $41 billion more than the initial budget Newsom proposed in January.

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Gavin Newsom/Wikimedia

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his revised state budget proposal May 14, including a $100 billion economic recovery plan and scores of one-time spending thanks to a nearly $76 billion projected surplus.

The $267.8 billion budget includes a $196.8 billion general fund and is roughly $41 billion more than the initial budget Newsom proposed in January.

The increase in proposed spending was made possible by the state receiving billions more dollars in tax revenue than expected over the last year as the state’s wealthiest residents got even wealthier, according to Newsom and state budget officials. 

“That (recovery plan) is the biggest economic recovery package — period, full stop — in California history,” Newsom said. 

Newsom spent the week leading up to the announcement teasing bits and pieces of the budget and the recovery package, which he has dubbed the California Comeback Plan.

The plan includes sending $600 stimulus checks to state residents who made up to $75,000 last year, spending billions to assist with rent and utility bills that have gone unpaid due to the coronavirus pandemic, making pre-kindergarten available to all 4-year-olds in the state and some $4 billion in relief grants for small businesses. 

Newsom touted the budget’s $93.7 billion in public education funding as the most ever allocated to schools by the state.

That figure also does not include some $15.3 billion in federal education funding and another $8.1 billion in tax revenue that could be funneled to education spending via the “Gann limit,” a 1979 voter-approved ballot measure that puts an annual limit on government spending. 

When the limit is reached, the remaining money must be returned to taxpayers. The roughly $12 billion that will fund the $600 stimulus checks is also part of that strategy to disperse money that surpassed the Gann limit, according to state officials. 

The education funding would amount to roughly $14,000 per student across the state, double what the state was spending per student a decade ago, according to Newsom. 

The state would spend $900 million in 2022-2023 and $2.7 billion in 2024-2025 under the plan to make pre-kindergarten universally available. Some 250,000 students would gain access to pre-K once fully implemented, Newsom said. 

The budget includes $3.3 billion to train and support the additional teachers needed to expand the availability of pre-kindergarten and cut the ratio of pre-K students to teachers from 24-to-1 to 12-to-1. 

“We want to make public schools essential,” Newsom said. “We want to make them competitive. We want to make our public education system enriching. We want to make our public education system what it’s capable of being.”

The funding plan also includes $2 billion to open personal savings accounts for some 3.7 million low-income, foster, homeless and English-learning youth.

The savings accounts would be seeded with $500 base deposits for every student in the program and an additional $500 for students who are homeless or in foster care.

The accounts could eventually be used to help pay for college or start a business, Newsom said, noting that some studies have found that children with early financial access and planning are seven times more likely to go to college.broadband internet

 

“This is an opportunity to address generational poverty,” Newsom said. “This is an opportunity to stretch a college-going mind but also an opportunity to look at trade school and entrepreneurial spirit… because we recognize there are many pathways for our children.”

The budget proposal also includes billions to help unhoused residents get off the streets; build some 46,000 housing units for unhoused residents; clean the state’s streets, freeways and neighborhoods; install broadband internet across the state; modernize the state’s infrastructure; invest in clean and renewable energy sources; and invest in drought and wildfire preparedness and resilience.

Newsom framed the spending in the proposed budget as economic supports that will help the state’s economy come “roaring back” from last year’s nadir in the pandemic’s early days, which forced the state to make financial cuts to shore up a roughly $54 billion budget deficit.

The revised budget proposal, while released on schedule, also comes as Newsom faces an effort to recall him and multiple Republican candidates that have argued the projected surplus is so large only because the state taxes its residents too much.

State Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement that the week-long budget rollout — which Newsom has done in the past — was a de-facto response tour to the recall effort and called him “shameless” for taking some credit in the state’s economic rebound.

“The only credit he and Democrats deserve is for California’s shuttered businesses, sky-high unemployment, deteriorating unemployment department, shrinking population, devastating homeless crisis and failing education system that is punishing students and parents through its union-first virtual schooling,” she said. 

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, praised Newsom for the revised budget proposal’s priorities.

“Thank goodness California is in the position to make transformative investments to end family homelessness, lift those hurt by the pandemic and properly fund our schools,” said Skinner, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. 

“Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget does that and more and complements the state Senate’s priorities,” she said. “Let the negotiations begin.”

Full details on Newsom’s revised budget proposal can be found at http://www.ebudget.ca.gov.

Newsom and the state Legislature will have until June 15 to approve the budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

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