Southeast, U.S. – Today, 24 mayors from cities and towns across the Southeast sent a letter to their members of Congress urging support for federal policy to achieve 80% clean electricity by 2030 as a stepping stone to a fully clean power grid by 2035.
The mayors from Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, representing the region’s small towns and biggest cities alike, recognize the need for accelerated action on the climate crisis and the benefits of clean energy.
A growing body of expert analysis indicates that the United States can achieve 80% clean electricity by 2030 while improving public health, saving lives, creating jobs, promoting investment, reducing health and environmental damage costs, and keeping bills low.
In order to gain these substantial benefits from achieving 80% clean energy by 2030, Congress is considering multiple policies as part of the budget package that would spur adoption of clean energy. One of the most notable policies is a clean electricity standard known as a Clean Electricity Performance Program. This policy in particular is supported in the mayors’ letter as the cornerstone for a broader clean energy transformation that could improve the quality of our air and water, protect public health, and bolster energy independence.
Many local governments have taken a leading role in addressing the climate crisis and supporting the development of clean energy, yet getting to 80% or 100% clean electricity will, for most cities and counties, require partnership and leadership from state and federal government, since many cities do not ultimately control the mix of energy generation fuels that power their communities.
The mayors “urge our members of Congress to move swiftly to enact a clean electricity standard that could be implemented as a Clean Electricity Performance Program, that would compel our nation to reach 80% clean electricity by 2030 and 100% clean electricity by 2035.”
Mayor Jennifer Weaver of Hillsborough, North Carolina said, “It is important for every jurisdiction to do our part to reach 100% clean energy as soon as possible, but this won’t happen if we do not coordinate together. We are making every effort to do our part at the local level, and we need state and federal officials to do their part as well. This is essential for our collective future.”
Mayor Craig Newton of Norcross, Georgia said, “Lowering our carbon footprint is essential to counter its negative impacts on climate change. I support the efforts in encouraging Congress to pass a Clean Energy Plan.”
Mayor Brent Walter Latham of North Bay Village, Florida said, “In North Bay Village, we are proud to champion progressive initiatives to strengthen our natural and built environment in light of climate change. We recently passed a green building code, advancing our mitigation and adaptation measures– but we know we can’t do it alone. It is essential we work with our local, state, and federal partners to advance our unified vision for clean energy.”
Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin of Florence, South Carolina said, “Clean air is essential for life!”
Mayor Van R. Johnson, II of Savannah, Georgia said, “Clean energy is absolutely achievable with the support of Congress. The impacts are far reaching and will make our communities and our country cleaner, and more resilient.”
Mayor Lydia Lavelle of Carrboro, North Carolina said, “A commitment of this sort at all levels of government is imperative, and one we must undertake for future generations.”
Mayor Rodney Harris of Miami Gardens, Florida said, “Clean energy is the future, and it only makes sense for us to start utilizing it. This is especially true for those of us living in South Florida, where we are very susceptible to the effects of global warming.”
Mayor TJ Cawley of Morrisville, North Carolina said, “I am proud to join fellow forward looking leaders who recognize the urgency of taking action now and that every day is earth day.”
Mayor Don Hardy of Kinston, North Carolina said, “We must do whatever we can, however we can, whenever we can to help impact the lives of others for the better.”
Mayor Steven B. Grant of Boynton Beach, Florida said, “Work needs energy; Sustainable work needs Clean Energy.”
Mayor Sally B. Philips of South Miami, Florida said, “South Miami is having solar panels put on those city buildings where they fit, uses hybrid vehicles for its Code and Parking Enforcement and Parks and Recreation staff, is known as a “Tree City USA” because of all the shade trees, and has ordinances requiring new construction to include solar. The City has pledged carbon neutrality by 2040. EV charging is required in new multistory construction, and South Miami requires construction in our transportation district to meet South Florida Green Building Gold standard.”
Since 1985, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has worked to promote responsible and equitable energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at cleanenergy.org.