Powerful Words From Ed Markey

Jan 24, 2012 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Working with Americans for a Clean Energy Grid and the New England Clean Energy Council we here at the Conservation Law Foundation had the privilege to co-sponsor the New England Clean Energy Transmission Summit.  We were overwhelmed by the massive turnout and tremendous interest from the general press as well as trade press (subscription required).

I will write more about the event in later posts but we wanted to get out into the world the videos of two of the keynote speeches.

Our informative and inspiring lunch speaker was Rep. Ed Markey (D-Malden MA), the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Natural Resources Committee and Senior Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The whole video is well worth watching and features some powerful comments about climate, the state of politics and reasons for both fear and hope.

The last panel featured a video message from Bill McKibben who was unable to follow through on his plans to come and speak because of his need to be in Washington to lead efforts to “blow the whistle on Big Oil” and how dirty energy was cheating in Congress.  But give him a listen to understand where he was and the essential imperative facing our energy system, environment, nation and world.

Overwhelming thanks to the folks at Americans for A Clean Energy Grid who did the hard work of managing the event, filming it and now hosting on their website all the videos and powerpoints from the event.

RSVP: Clean Energy Transmission Summit

Jan 18, 2012 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Next week I’ll be participating in a clean energy summit in Boston that will feature Congressman Ed Markey and FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. Attendance at this event is free. Please RSVP today.

This event brings together key Federal officials from the Administration and Congress, their state counterparts, clean energy industry leaders and the environmental community and energy consumers to forge clean energy solutions that benefit our economy and our environment drawing on the full range of options from renewable energy to transmission infrastructure to demand side solutions like energy efficiency.

Please join me and others for this engaging, important conversation.

New England Clean Energy Transmission Summit

January 23, 2012
9:00am – 4:30 pm


Agenda: Click here

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Connolly Center, Fourth Floor
600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts


Congressman Ed Markey
U.S. House of Representatives

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

Seth Kaplan
Conservation Law Foundation

Fire, Ready, Aim – Congress Reviews National Ocean Policy

Oct 4, 2011 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The Congress creates our federal laws. The Administrative branch creates regulations. The National Ocean Policy has yet to change either. Of course, you wouldn’t have learned this if you had sat through the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee oversight hearing on the National Ocean Policy this morning. The rhetoric from Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and the Republican members — who tried really hard to follow the current GOP playbook by depicting any effort by the Obama Administration as a “job-killing regulation” – claimed that the National Ocean Policy is “…ocean zoning (which) could place huge sections of the ocean off limits to activities not ‘zoned’ as government-approved.” The argument was less than convincing.

Massachusetts’ Representative Ed Markey (D-Malden) knows what many of us have learned from the value of the Massachusetts Ocean Plan: “Just like other plans, comprehensive ocean planning would allow everyone with an interest in our coasts and oceans to participate in a transparent, decision-making process to determine how to best utilize an increasingly busy, productive and important national resource.  This would increase predictability and certainty for existing and new users of these areas and improve ocean health. Opposing ocean planning is like opposing air traffic control. You can do it but it will cause a mess or lead to dire consequences.”

Well said, Ed. John Bullard, former mayor of New Bedford and someone with real experience in ocean planning, also did an excellent job making the case for rational thought and comprehensive ocean planning.

Still, the overall lesson from today’s hearing is that smart ocean planning has yet to inflame Congressional passions. We’re still hoping that the seductive merits of interagency coordination, collaboration and cooperation between ocean users, a productive and inclusive approach to public involvement and an increased ability to make science-based policy decisions will catch the eye of elected officials in Congress, the states and in communities across the nation. We are forced to admit, however, that the solid work of working together is bland stuff compared to the sex appeal of outlandish claims that the federal government is going to take away your fishing pole.

The Mass Ocean Plan is already showing the promise of good planning and cooperation. Rhode Island’s Ocean SAMP will be integral to creating a new industry of clean renewable energy. The National Ocean Policy can do the same for communities across the country. We need the Congress to stay calm and move it forward.


Toxic waves create change

May 7, 2010 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

The political landscape seems to be shifting in response to BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. An overnight poll of Florida residents shows a remarkable shift in public opinion on the value of oil drilling off of their coast. Are these results at all surprising since Floridians are seeing the approaching slick to their heralded beaches? Let’s put it in the context of the previous Florida oil storm, which came in the manner of a multi-million dollar lobbying onslaught by a secret group of out-of-state oil companies in late 2008 and through 2009. This secret cabal was so careful about hiding their indentities that their names are still unknown to Florida citizens despite creating a debate that was on the front pages for months. What a difference an exploding oil platform makes.  Now, the Democrats in the state legislature are urging a vote for a state constitutional amendment to ban offshore oil drilling.  Gov. Crist is leaning their way.

On the Left Coast, the Governator had a more direct conversion and made one of the more prescient observations since the Great BP Gulf Eruption. “Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?,” he asks. “Why indeed?,” responds Rep. John Garamendi who wasted no time in putting his money where his mouth is by introducing federal legislation to permanently ban new oil and gas drilling along the entire west coast. Garamendi won a special election this spring and may be a freshman, but he’s been around the block and knows his oil. He served as deputy secretary of the Department of Interior during the Clinton administration and as Lieutenant Governor of California where he nixed the silly drilling for cash ploy by Plains Exploration and Production oil company.

Back on the Jersey Shore long-time drilling opponents Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, along with Congressman Frank Pallone, are looking at similar legislation to ban drilling in the mid-Atlantic region. Our own New England environmental champions Rep. Ed Markey and Sen. John Kerry were never shy about protecting our beloved Georges Bank and Stellwagen Bank from drilling even at the peak of the Bush era clamor to eliminate the 20 year moratorium.  Unfortunately, the final legislation was never passed and New England’s ocean is still one bad administrative decision away from a return to the failed drilling proposals of the past. The politics of drilling flow like the motion of the ocean itself with the fate of the K-(G)-L climate legislation. Drilling, billions for nukes, a legislated override of a Supreme Court decision to allow regulation of climate pollution and promises, promises to herd in a stray Republican vote are all now up in the air. Sen. Kerry says the proposed legislation will be unveiled on Wednesday. Here’s hoping the proposed oil drilling provisions in that bill have been subject to the same moment of clarity that have awakened millions of Americans. We need climate protection legislation without adding to the oil-carbon disaster.