The DC Environmental Network has a number of budget priorities, spread across a number of agencies and offices. We are already engaging the Executive on a number of them, including funding for
lead line replacement
, to reduce exposure to lead poisoning. We are hoping the Mayor's proposed budget will mirror some of our shared sustainability goals, including:
This year the District established the Clean Rivers Impervious Surface Area Charge (CRIAC) Relief Program to help low-income residents and non-profits that need assistance to pay fees earmarked for important water and sewer infrastructure improvements. DCEN will be working to make sure this program is appropriately funded in FY20.
Making sure there are no budgetary obstacles to aggressively implementing the
Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018
is a critical priority for DCEN. We are currently trying to figure how to secure funding, early, to move forward with analyzing the costs and benefits of the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) program within the bill. Something that has to occur in tangent with creation of the BEPS task force, which will, among a number of things, establish building efficiency standards. DCEN has also worked to support the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for over a decade and will advocate for funding LIHEAP as long as District residents need it.
We are hoping the Mayor and Council use the FY 2020 budget to put DC on a path toward completely meeting the affordable housing needs of families with extremely low incomes, through increased investments in the Housing Production Trust Fund and Local Rent Supplement Program, and additional funds for tenant vouchers and preserving DC’s public housing stock. We look to partners, including the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, for guidance on these issues.
DCEN is committed to making sure District residents benefit from the presence of urban wildlife. We will look to make sure ongoing District programs that support wildlife, including educational and recreational initiatives on Kingman and Heritage Island, wildlife rehabilitation services, and other important efforts, are funded.
DCEN will work to make sure the programs in the Department of Public Work's (DPW) Office of Waste Diversion are adequately funded in FY20. We are hoping this years proposed budget will be the first in which we don't have to mobilize public and Council support to achieve our sustainability goals. We hope to have a budget briefing for DPW sometime soon.
Office of Attorney General:
At the Office of Attorney General (OAG) Performance Oversight Hearing last week, AG Racine agreed with DCEN that their office could do more environmental programming. Part of the answer is building up infrastructure at OAG, including adding more FTEs to focus on our priorities. We will see what is possible as the budget process moves forward.
More to come!