American mayors understand that the future must be powered by clean energy, and they’re calling on Congress to do more to lead a revolution in renewable energy solutions.
That was the takeaway as the United States Conference of Mayor’s Committee on Energy convened Wednesday to discuss policy challenges and solutions. The meeting took place at the first-ever virtual Annual Meeting of the USCM, and the panel, chaired by New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, debated and adopted three resolutions that will help set the Conference’s energy agenda for the year ahead.
Members of the committee also welcomed a few special guests to engage in a dialogue on the issues. This included U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko of New York, Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who talked about the need for federal legislation to address climate change and how legislators can work with mayors to make advances in clean energy.
One adopted resolution, sponsored by Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler, among others, promotes clean energy job creation through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. The federal EECBG Program is designed to spur investment in renewable fuels, and the resolution calls on Congress to reauthorize the program and increase appropriations, including in the next coronavirus response package.
The Committee also debated a resolution from a group of mayors, led by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, focused on a cities-led movement to divest from fossil fuels. The resolution speaks to the growing threat of climate change and the opportunity for an economic recovery grounded in clean energy. It calls for divesting from fossil fuels and investing instead in climate solutions.
Finally, Mayors Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas and Hillary Schieve of Reno put forward a resolution that focuses on the storage of radioactive nuclear waste. The resolution calls on the U.S. Department of Energy to focus on the safe treatment and storage of radioactive waste and to take steps to mitigate the health and environmental risks of transporting it.
Approved by committee, these resolutions will now move to the Executive Committee of the Conference and if approved, they will serve as official policy for the next year.