DC Sierra Club Applauds District’s Denial of Pepco-Exelon Merger
PSC Order is Win for the Grassroots; Clear Victory for Clean Energy & Environment
This morning, in a victory for the environment and after months of deliberation, the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a decision denying the request of the Exelon Corporation to purchase DC’s sole electric utility, Pepco.
The DC Chapter of the Sierra Club has fought the proposed merger given concerns that it would harm DC ratepayers, do little to advance DC’s environmental and clean energy goals, and was not in the public interest. Leveraging the power of grassroots support, the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club, along with a cross section of DC-based organizations, formed POWER DC, a coalition that worked to educate, organize, and fight back against Exelon’s takeover of the local utility.
According to the PSC, this “proceeding has generated more interest and more active participation by parties and interested persons than any other proceeding in the Commission’s more than a century of operations.”
“This is a major victory for the grassroots,” said Matthew Gravatt, Chair of the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club’s work to highlight the environmental and community impacts of the proposed merger were a key part of this win.”
“DC has made a commitment to the preservation of environmental quality and the expansion of clean energy options; the PSC’s decision and the outpouring of public support is proof that clean energy and the environment are on the minds of District residents,” said Gravatt.
The PSC decision to deny the takeover states the merger is not in the public interest at “a time when our city’s leadership, at the urging of many residents, has mandated that the District must pursue a cleaner and greener future that includes more renewable energy resources and more distributed generation.”
Additionally, the PSC expressed its concern “about the inherent conflict of interest that might inhibit our local distribution company from moving forward to embrace a cleaner and greener environment.”
Larry Martin, past DC Chapter Energy Committee Chair, and expert witness against the merger in the evidentiary hearing, said “our focus on the environmental outcome of the decision hung on a provision unique in DC – that PSC decisions need to consider conservation of natural resources and preservation of environmental quality.”
Said Martin: “We made an excellent case that Exelon’s record on energy efficiency and renewables was incompatible with DC’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean, renewable energy and efficiency.”
The Sierra Club is the oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization in the country. The Washington, DC Chapter comprises more than 3,600 members and supporters in Washington, DC and is actively involved in local conservation, clean and renewable energy, smart growth initiatives, and local elections; the Chapter hosts a wide range of environmental and conservation focused events, and provides numerous volunteer opportunities.
The D.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club is pleased to announce endorsements in the April 1, 2014 primary election for the D.C. Council.
Council Chairman: Phil Mendelson Phil Mendelson has been an outstanding ally in protecting the environment. He has previously been given early endorsements and has been our champion on the Council. Over his sixteen years of service as a legislator Phil has been one of the most consistent environmental voters on the Council.
Council At-Large: Nate Bennett Fleming Nate Bennett Fleming impressed us with his knowledge and agreement on the issues. Although he will be new to the Council, he is not new to the voters. He is currently the Shadow Representative.
Council Ward 1: Jim Graham Jim Graham has been a consistent supporter with a 100% voting record. We know we can count on him.
Council Ward 3: Mary Cheh Mary Cheh has been instrumental in the introduction and passage of numerous environmental bills and moving them through the Council. She is the Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Environment.
Council Ward 5: Kenyan McDuffie Kenyan McDuffie has been a stand out on the Council, most recently in successfully defending the Brookland Green and saving the park and it's trees from development. Last year, he moved the Community Renewables Energy Act through committee and passage by the D.C. Council.
Council Ward 6: Charles Allen Charles Allen is a new candidate, but not new to the council or the Sierra Club. As Chief of Staff to Tommy Wells, Charles Allen drafted the bill to ban burning coal in D.C. and he was the coordinator of the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act, the bag law.
The D.C. Sierra Club was unable to reach a 2/3rds super-majority vote in two committees for any candidate in the mayoral due to the strong environmental records by the mayoral candidates. The Sierra Club has previously endorsed Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent Gray, and Tommy Wells.