[Gaia's Ryan McEvoy and Annie Argento participated at this year's Access DC delegation with fellow members of the LA Business Council's committee on Energy and the Environment. Access DC is an annual opportunity for Los Angeles public policy initiatives to be taken to the Hill to gain national support and to exchange new ideas with colleagues.]
Earlier this month, Ryan and I joined a delegation of 150 business leaders and public officials for Access DC, the LA Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual trip to advocate for greater federal investment in LA. This year the delegates were divided into teams focused on immigration reform, regional transportation, healthcare, housing and homelessness, water, and energy and environmental sustainability. We of course were part of the latter!
It was a packed 3-days in DC where we were also fortunate to squeeze in meetings with our friends and colleagues at USGBC to learn more about LEED v.4 and their local and national advocacy campaigns. We were happy to learn of the good work USGBC is doing to advocate for a reform of section 179d as our experience has been that this federal tax deduction is cumbersome and not as straightforward as it should be. Because of this, many of Gaia’s commercial building owners have not benefited from the deduction and therefore have not been incentivized to make greater investments in energy efficiency.
Armed with this information, we found ourselves discussing 179d in many meetings including one with US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) chairman of the US Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources and another with Phil Barnett, Staff Director, House Energy & Commerce Committee, but the official policy calls for our group were the following:
Energy Efficiency & Green Building
Energy efficiency improvements, especially to existing buildings and homes, is critical to reducing reliance on fossil fuels, reducing carbon emissions, and creating green jobs. It’s also key in meeting renewable portfolio standards – it’s simple: use less and you don’t have to generate as much!
We know policy changes don’t happen overnight, and certainly not in today’s political climate and economy, but nonetheless we were thrilled to be part of this delegation – not only to advocate for Southern California, but it was an opportunity to showcase the Golden State’s environmental leadership and Los Angeles’ Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).
Below are some other random highlights, fun (or not so fun) facts, and lessons learned from the trip:
By Annie Argento, Associate Principal