Meeting Minutes – November 2015

11/16/2015

Attending: Basav, Catherine, Robert, Lindsay, Fritz

Next meeting date: Monday 12/14 (brought forward one week from the norm because of the holidays). Already have library reserved for the meeting.

Next meeting facilitator: Robert

First two meetings in 2016 will also be brought forward one week, to Monday 1/11 and Monday 2/8, because the third Mondays of both January and February are Federal holidays.

 

A. Green Neighbors Checks

Catherine will look into options and prices for checks (recycled paper and other sustainable features).

 

B.     Event Series

Frequency: Goal to have a quarterly event, with first event in March.

Location for events: in addition to library, we should consider the community space above the new diner at 9th and Upshur (after construction is complete). Advantage there: can have food at events! Could we hold author events at Upshur St. Books? Robert to check.

Some possible ideas for events (will be fleshed out more later):

·       Mike Ewall/Energy Justice Network on local environmental justice struggles.

·       Riverkeeper.

·       Event to promote 2017 Polar Bear Plunge.

 

C.     Pepco-Exelon merger

Brief recap of where the process is now:

  • Public Service Commission has reopened case, is currently accepting comments on Mayor’s settlement with Pepco and Exelon.
  • Bowser administration and 7 City Council members have thrown their weight behind merger, huge political pressure on PSC to approve merger. We need to exert a lot of counter-pressure.
  • PSC held public hearings on November 17 and 18. Still accepting public comments through December 18.
  • Will hold evidentiary hearings (with cross-examination of witnesses etc.) in December.

What Power DC is doing:

  • “Inside track”: organizations that are parties to the merger case (such as DC SUN) will participate in the evidentiary hearings to try to derail the merger legally.
  • “Outside track”: put public pressure on the PSC.
  • Power DC is doing (approximately weekly) actions on different themes. Each of these actions entails generating comments to the PSC on that specific theme. The same individual can sign multiple action alerts, on different themes.
  • For example, the first theme was CORRUPTION – how the Bowser administration negotiated a backroom deal with Exelon and Pepco, with no public input, even though the merger was so unpopular.
  • Also, Pepco made a $25 million contribution to the soccer stadium, a deal that the administration really wants to complete. Nominally, the payment was in exchange for naming rights for a minor street. But beneficiaries of the soccer stadium deal include developers who are close to the Mayor and have contributed to her campaign and/or her recently disbanded PAC (“FreshPAC”). Plus, the timing of the $25 million from Pepco (shortly before the announcement of the Mayor’s deal with the merging companies) was suspicious. There is a distinct possibility of “pay-to-play” – Pepco made the payment in exchange of getting the Mayor to agree to the settlement, and the payment will benefit other major Bowser donors.
  • The FreshPAC/”soccergate” story has received a lot of media coverage.
  • The next theme is utility rates.

 

What Green Neighbors can do:

  • Send weekly action alert e-mails – post on neighborhood listservs (Petworth, Brightwood, possibly others).
  • Distribute flyers about rates. Basav to flyer farmers’ market on Saturday. Any others want to join? Plus, need volunteers to distribute flyers outside Metro, grocery stores, etc.
  • Maybe push for more ANC resolutions against the merger – more details on that are forthcoming.
  • Talk about the issue with friends, colleagues, neighbors.

 

D.    Solidarity events for Paris climate talks

  • Sunday 11/29, details TBA.
  • Saturday 12/12, details TBA.

 

E.     Bees and pesticides

Still some controversy about the science.

Could be a good subject for our event series. (Especially with a tie-in to the Montgomery County pesticide ban.)

 

F.     Groundswell group wind power purchase

Keep publicizing through e-mails and website.

 

G.    Polar Bear Plunge 2016

Polar Bear Plunge is a fundraiser for Chesapeake Climate Action Network in which people step into the freezing Potomac in January, and raise money from family and friends to do it. Organizations can come up with teams of volunteers to do it, and the first $1,000 they raise goes t CCAN, but the organization gets to keep any money they raise above $1,000. Green Neighbors has done it the last 2 years, will do it again.

Next steps: someone to set up a group page (Lisa?). All plunge volunteers to set up their individual donation pages under group page, and reach out to friends and family to donate.

 

H.    Crude Awakening Network conference reportback

Fritz attended the Crude Awakening Network conference on oil trains in Pittsburgh. Crude Awakening Network is an emerging continent-wide network on oil train safety and environmental impacts. He was only labor representative at conference. The Network is compiling crowdsourced info on what rail routes carry oil in North America. (Railroad industry is secretive about it.)

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