Stephanie Herron, the outreach coordinator for the Delaware chapter of grassroots environmental organization the Sierra Club, met with the members of the Inland Bays Foundation at the South Coastal Library on Tuesday, July 12.
The James Madison University graduate informed members of the IBF of their progress with achieving environmental and energy justice with projects such as reducing the use of single-use bags and the Clean Power Plan.
House Bill 202
House Bill 202 proposes a 5-cent fee on single-use bags. The bill would expand on existing at-store recycling programs and is only applicable to retailers under the current law. Herron said passing the bill would reduce the burden on the environment and on taxpayers. The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee but never received a vote in the House before the June 30 end of the state’s 2016 legislative session. Herron said the Sierra Club will try again next year.
The Clean Power Plan
The Clean Power Plan is the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants. Herron said that, under the plan, nationwide carbon emission will be reduced by 32 percent by 2030. The EPA has set unique goals for each state, and each state gets to plan how they will meet that goal. Herron said Delaware’s goal for the reduction is too low. “We could actually increase our emissions and be under the projected goal set by the EPA.”
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Nine northeast states make up RGGI, which is the regional “cap and trade” system. Emissions in the region are “capped” by only selling a limited number of pollution credits each year. Revenue from sales is distributed to states, and the cap declines 2.5 percent annually. After a “program review,” the Sierra Club emphasized, “We need more aggressive reductions need to achieve 100 percent clean energy and climate justice.”
Goals for the CPP and RGGI
The Sierra Club is working toward creating a strong environmental justice analysis, as well as garnering a commitment from the State of Delaware and RGGI not to trade pollution credits with other markets. Herron also urged that the commitment from Delaware and other RGGI states go beyond the CPP requirements.
How to get involved
Herron urged everyone to join the Sierra Club or attend a DNREC public workshop on the Clean Power Plan. She said she would like everyone to “save energy in your own home or business, educate your friends and colleagues, and advocate for more efficient use of energy in your town and our state.”