POW Advocates for Advancing Clean Energy in Washington D.C.
Photo by Iz La Motte
POW has been lobbying at both the State and Federal levels since 2013, giving us the opportunity to build relationships with lawmakers and staff on both sides of the aisle. Bi-partisan work can be a challenge, but this approach is critical to advocating on behalf of the Outdoor State which is made up of 40% Democrats, 31% Republicans and 29% Independents. POW has found that the best way to make the voices of the Outdoor State heard is through lobbying. It’s our megaphone to drive impact and it gives us the opportunity to speak directly with lawmakers who are driving policy and to advocate for the things that we care about. We do this by sharing our personal stories with lawmakers about how we’ve been affected by climate change, finding Common Ground with them on bi-partisan solutions and connecting our stories to the policies POW is advocating for.
Over the last three years, in particular, POW and POW Action Fund has been lobbying for many of the policies that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), marking a huge win for the Outdoor State and climate in 2022. While we took a moment to celebrate this milestone and think about what comes next in this uphill climb toward a clean energy future, the work most certainly did not stop. The passage of the IRA and IIJA marked just one peak on this journey with multiple valleys. Now, it’s time for POW and our Alliance of athletes, creatives, scientists and brand partners to push toward the next summit by getting the initiatives in the IRA and IIJA implemented.
On June 20 and 21, POW held its first Lobby trip of 2023 in Washington D.C. with 14 Athlete, Science, Creative Alliance members and five Brand Alliance partners to meet with the Biden Administration’s agency officials including, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Interior, Department of Energy, Council of Environmental Quality and the Department of Energy Loan’s Program Office. Additionally, the team also met with members of Congress, including 22 Democrats and 14 Republicans for 36 meetings over two days.
During these meetings we discussed how we can advance clean energy infrastructure, expand clean energy transmission, and support clean energy issues that directly affect the Outdoor State, local communities and climate. The goal of these conversations was to gain support for POW’s first-ever cross partisan legislation in partnership with the American Conservation Coalition. This proposal will help implement the initiatives in the IRA by creating community benefits for counties and tribal governments that host renewable energy infrastructure.
POW’s key talking points included:
- In order to reach our clean energy goals and address climate change, we need to responsibly develop and deploy renewable energy.
- Renewable energy needs to reach communities, so we also need to rapidly build transmission lines to deploy affordable energy across the country.
- Communities that host transmission and other energy infrastructure need real incentives to come to the table and work with developers and other key stakeholders to build and operate this energy infrastructure.
- Responsible deployment of renewable energy and transmission development must tangibly support local communities.
- Community participation will help alleviate the growing backlog of permit applications and ensure projects can move forward.
- POW’s proposal would build a fund to support communities, which requires no additional government spending.
“Climate change is an existential threat to the ski industry. The rapid and responsible deployment of clean energy to tackle climate change will take thoughtful incentives for communities to host clean power transmission,” said Hannah Berman, Aspen Snowmass’ Senior Sustainability and Philanthropy Manager. “This bill directs funding into local communities, particularly rural communities like where our 4,000 employees live, to incentivize the development of renewable power transmission.”
In addition to meetings, POW also held an event at Brand Alliance partner Arc’teryx’s store in Washington D.C. which was attended by clean energy experts, Capitol Hill staff, and several of POW’s donors and partners from the area. This event provided the opportunity to engage with Alliance members and understand our advocacy work on a deeper level.
The result of this Lobby trip further cemented POW’s profile on Capitol Hill as one of the few climate organizations willing to dive deep into complex and challenging issues and find cross partisan solutions to scaling up a clean energy future. POW built new relationships with members of Congress and expanded upon existing relationships with the Biden Administration, leading to actionable ways POW can work with lawmakers to highlight the success of the IRA and advance clean energy infrastructure.
While the topic of transmission has become increasingly partisan, creating new obstacles for the path forward–POW staff, Alliance members and brand partners all walked away from a successful two days on Capitol Hill having identified climate champions who are up for the challenge that lies ahead.
Why does this work matter to POW and the entire Outdoor State?
In order to reach our nation’s climate reduction goals, significant changes need to be made to our transportation and energy infrastructure. In order to make this happen, POW has focused on the importance of renewable energy and what is needed to rapidly transition to a renewable future. How do we get there? Our nation’s transmission infrastructure needs to be updated and expanded.
This work matters to the outdoor community because in order to develop and deploy renewable energy it will inevitably involve our public lands. We know, we love recreating on our public lands too! That’s why our voice is so important in this discussion. If the entire outdoor community comes to the table in support, together we can ensure that the development and deployment of renewable energy is done in a balanced way on our public lands.
Washington D.C. by the Numbers
This Lobby trip marked a big step for POW. It was the first time the organization went to meet with lawmakers with the goal of introducing its own bill to Congress. It’s been quite the journey and while the trail hasn’t always been straight forward, the work put in over the last few years has laddered up to this moment. To paint the whole picture of the path that led POW here, we need to take a look back at past Lobby trips. Here’s a quick recap of POW and POW Action Fund Lobby Days since 2020:
In 2020 POW held two virtual Lobby Days (thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic) to advocate for clean electricity, clean cars and electric vehicle infrastructure. POW Alliance members asked lawmakers to consider nationwide programs to scale clean and renewable energy as well electric vehicle infrastructure.
Clean energy incentives were proposed in the following bills that POW supported:
- H.R. 2096/S. 1142: The Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2019
- H.R. 3961/S. 2289: The Renewable Energy Extension Act
- H.R. 4887/S. 1988: The Offshore Wind Power Act and H.R. 3473/S. 1957: The Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act
- H.R. 2256/S. 1094: The Driving America Forward Act
By the numbers:
- 2 days
- 24 virtual meetings
- 31 lawmakers, 20 Democrats and 11 Republicans
- 46 Alliance members and 22 Brand Alliance partners in attendance
In 2021 POW Action Fund held two Lobby trips to thank lawmakers for their support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act while asking them to consider policies that were not in the bill, including:
- Development of a National Clean Electricity Standard.
- Simplification of America’s complex clean energy tax incentive system.
- Development of an Energy and Economic Transition Impact Study to see how the transition to net-zero emissions impacts fossil-fuel based communities.
- Creation of tax incentives to promote domestic solar energy manufacturing.
- Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Equity Program with the creation of grant awards to create EV charging infrastructure near affordable housing.
By the numbers:
- 2 days
- 24 meetings
- 31 lawmakers, 19 Democrats and 12 Republicans
- 12 Alliance members and 8 Brand Alliance partners in attendance
In 2022 POW Action Fund held two Lobby trips with the goals of building relationships with Republican members of Congress and to build a connection between climate change and outdoor recreation. We advocated for policies including an updated grid and affordable renewable energy, but more specifically the following:
- Program funding that focuses on reducing emissions. Specifically for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and Climate Pollution Reduction Grants.
- Investing in electric vehicle infrastructure.
- Community assistance with worker transition, specifically for Energy Community Reinvesting Financing.
- Updating the grid to power a renewable energy future with Transition Line and Intertie Incentives.
- Support for H.R. 2406/ S.1016, the Electric Power Infrastructure Improvement Act. This bill will allow a tax credit through 2031 for investment in qualifying electric power, transmission line property and directly benefit 22 large-scale transmission projects across the country. Additionally, this bill would support more than 500,000 jobs, improve the resilience of the grid and support new projects that connect modern renewable energy resources to the power demands of regional consumer markets.
- Supporting electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure by making investments in rebates.
- Stop drilling in the Arctic to repeal the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oil and Gas Program.
- Stopping the Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
By the numbers:
- 2 trips
- 4 days of meetings
- 31 meetings
- 26 lawmakers, 7 Democrats and 19 Republicans
- 19 Alliance members and 7 brand partners in attendance
That’s a lot of work over the last three years with five Lobby trips and 97 meetings with lawmakers. Thanks to all of our athletes, creatives, scientists and brand partners who have joined and supported POW over the years — we certainly would not be where we are today without your help!
And a special thank you to these folks who joined us last week in Washington D.C.:
- Caroline Gleich, POW Ski
- Gus Schumacher, POW Ski
- Amie Engerbretson, POW Ski
- Elena Height, POW Snowboard
- Mikey Schaefer, POW Climb
- Abbey Smith, POW Climb Team Captain
- Dillon Osleger, POW Bike
- Jared Shumate, POW Ski
- Erika Flowers, POW Trail
- Iz La Motte, POW Creative
- Evan Green, POW Creative
- McKenzie Skiles, POW Science
- HP Marshall, POW Science
- Hannah Berman, Aspen Snowmass
- Jess Powell, Black Diamond
- Madeline Wade, REI
- Costa Adranly, Clif Bar
Highlights from the 2023 June Lobby Trip:
Photos by Creative Alliance member Iz La Motte
Author: Stacie Sullivan
Stacie always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the ski industry from a young age, having first clicked into skis at the age of 4 and writing her 8th grade career project on being a professional skier. While her dreams of becoming a professional athlete didn’t quite pan out the way she planned at […]