We awoke to our second day in DC with much excitement and anticipation! We would be parking under the Capitol and talking to members of Congress all day long. With clean energy and climate bills at the forefront of our legislators’ minds, there was definitely a palpable feeling of opportunity in the city.
We started out the day with a meeting with Dr. Manik Roy, Vice President of Federal Government Outreach at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Unfortunately, only five of us made it. Due to a bus snafu about a mile from the Pew Offices, we left Mechanic Rob and Captains B-Co and Betsy with the mothership, and briskly walked the last mile. We arrived to Pew in tact, albeit a bit sweaty and harried. But by the end of the meeting, we were completely recharged. Dr. Roy grilled us on the various facets of the different energy and climate bills, and we gained some insight into the “inside baseball” of various cap-and-trade and cap-and-dividend structures.
Next stop? Capitol Hill! We parked the bus on the National Mall, and a steady stream of tourists and curious passersby led to one of our most successful events yet. We had a few crew members sneak away throughout the day to meetings set up with the offices of Senator Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Collins (R-ME), and Senator Shaheen (D-NH), and we were lucky enough to have Congressmen Adler (D-NJ) come aboard our bus.
I met with Morgan Cashwell, legislative correspondent for Senator Collins, who has been doing a lot of work on the CLEAR act. This is a cap-and-dividend program that gives 75% of the revenue generated back to the consumer. Feel free to watch this video for more information.
We ended the day with a Dartmouth Green Alumni event at the Hawk ‘n Dove. After an exciting, busy and at times overwhelming day, it was nice to sit down and chat with some Dartmouth alums working in various green fields such as policy, lobbying, consulting, and technology. No place in America is really quite like Washington D.C.; however, we still found a welcoming and friendly group of Dartmouth alums to offer stories, advice and support.
We concluded the day with a nighttime stroll past the monuments. The cool night breeze was welcome relief after this hot, sweaty and humid day. We marveled at the stoic grandeur of the Washington Monument, the respectful beauty of the World War II monument, and the dignified majesty of the Lincoln Memorial. As we sat in silence for a few moments on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking upon the reflecting pool, we all were contented, exhausted, and oh so happy to be alive.
What did we learn during our day on the Hill? We learned that while political gaming makes progressive environmental legislation difficult, it’s still possible. We realized people in D.C. are really self-important, but sometimes for good reason. And we realized that all you need is leisurely walk down the Mall to recharge your patriotic spirit (except for Chingy…he’s Canadian.)
Its been real, DC!