‘Corporate America Has Failed Black America’


Author: David Gelles                Published:  6/6/2020               New York Times

“My blood boiled a long time ago,” said Robert Reffkin, the co-founder of the real estate brokerage Compass, “when I formed the impression that most companies don’t care.”

For a group of elite black executives, police killings and protests have unleashed an outpouring of emotion and calls for action.

In the past week, it has seemed like every major company has publicly condemned racism. All-black squares cover corporate Instagram. Executives have made multimillion-dollar pledges to anti-discrimination efforts and programs to support black businesses.

Yet many of the same companies expressing solidarity have contributed to systemic inequality, targeted the black community with unhealthy products and services, and failed to hire, promote and fairly compensate black men and women.

“Corporate America has failed black America,” said Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation and a member of the board of Pepsi, and who is black. “Even after a generation of Ivy League educations and extraordinary talented African-Americans going into corporate America, we seem to have hit a wall.”

With dozens of cities protesting the violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, a national conversation about racism is underway. For black executives, who have spent their lives excelling at business while overcoming structural discrimination, the killings and ensuing protests have unleashed an outpouring of emotion. Many are speaking candidly about their private fears, as well as their disappointment with the corporate apparatus that made them stars.

Wes Moore, the chief executive of Robin Hood, a New York charity combating poverty, said he chooses his workout clothes to minimize the chances anyone will consider him, as a black man, dangerous. “I pick the outfit that I wear when I run strategically,” he said. “I wear shirts with my alma mater on it, Johns Hopkins, so people know I’m not a threat.” Mr. Arbery was shot to death by apparent vigilantes while out for a jog; three white men have been charged.

Mr. Moore said he was fed up with being one of just a relatively small number of black executives in the top tier of American business. “The list starts getting very thin very quickly,” he said. “There aren’t enough good examples. We’ve been satisfied with exceptions and exceptionalism.”

Mr. Smith added that for the first time in a long time, he had reason for optimism. Over the past week, he said, he has been inundated with calls from other business leaders wanting to know what they can do. “This is the first time in my life I’ve seen not just empathy, but engagement,” he said. “This is unacceptable, and other C.E.O.s are asking how they can get involved.”

“We’ve been satisfied by putting John Rogers on every board,” he added, referring to the black investor who has been a director at Exelon, McDonald’s, Nike and The New York Times Company. “But we haven’t been deliberate about building bench and pipeline.”

Robert F. Smith, a private equity billionaire and the richest black man in America, said he has been overwhelmed by conflicting feelings. “I am saddened, I am angry, I am upset and I am determined,” he said. “I run through that wave of emotions every minute.”

“Corporate America can no longer get away with token responses to systemic problems,” said Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation.

Credit…Guerin Blask for The New York Times

Mr. Walker, too, said the severity of this moment seemed to be shocking some companies into action. “Corporate America can no longer get away with token responses to systemic problems,” said Mr. Walker, who has been protesting in New York. “It is going to take a systemic response to sufficiently address this crisis that has been decades in the making.”

As brands rushed to align themselves with protesters over the past week, their words often rang hollow, undermined by their own actions.

Amazon called for an end to the “inequitable” treatment of black people. Yet the company has faced sustained criticism for poor working conditions and low pay. In March, it fired Christian Smalls, a black employee at a Staten Island warehouse who was demanding safer conditions while working in a pandemic, and the company’s general counsel disparaged him as “not smart or articulate.” Amazon has said Mr. Smalls violated its social distancing policy, and that the executive did not know he was black.

The commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, issued a statement saying the protests express “the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.” But his organization has banned players — most of whom are black — from kneeling to protest police brutality, and the quarterback most identified with the gesture, Colin Kaepernick, has been effectively blacklisted. (On Friday night, Mr. Goodell appeared to reverse himself, saying, “We, the National Football League admit we were wrong” and adding, “I personally protest with you.”)

L’Oréal shared a post that read “Speaking out is worth it.” But three years ago, the makeup company dropped its first transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf, when she spoke out about racism after the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va.

“Most of these corporate statements were put together by the marketing team that was trying not to offend white customers and white employees,” said Dorothy A. Brown, a law professor who studies economic injustice at Emory University in Atlanta. “It’s complete B.S. It’s performative.”

Companies have for the most part addressed racism only in the face of overwhelming public pressure. In the 1980s, for example, a global protest movement forced corporations including General Motors and Pepsi to stop doing business in apartheid South Africa. More often, however, companies have studiously avoided confronting the legacy of racism.

Members of “corporate America have generally not distinguished themselves as moral leaders,” said Ursula Burns, the former chief executive of Xerox and a board member at Exxon. “They generally have gone along with the flow, and for a long time that’s all we expected them to do. They were responsible to their shareholders.”


Ursula Burns in Davos, Switzerland, in 2018. “I worry every day if a policeman is near me,” she said this week.
Credit…Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Ms. Burns herself, despite leading a gilded life as a successful black C.E.O., said that law enforcement still makes her nervous. “I dress like the one percent. I drive like the one percent. I wear watches and jewelry like the one percent,” she said, adding: “I worry every day if a policeman is near me. They look at me as first and foremost a threat to their place in society.”

She added that with police cracking down violently on protesters, “It is the scariest moment I have been in, in my entire life.”

Even after the violence in Charlottesville, which led to an abrupt disbanding of President Trump’s business advisory councils, few companies made lasting policy changes.

Instead, generations of well-intentioned pledges by businesses have resulted in only marginal advancement for the black community. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated grim employment trends, and today fewer than half of black adults in America have a job. Black workers make less money than white workers. That is due in part to the fact that they are more likely to have poorly paying service jobs, but research also shows that highly educated black employees are paid less than their white peers.

“We don’t get paid the same amount for the same work,” said Mellody Hobson, the co-chief executive of Ariel Investments and a board member at JPMorgan and Starbucks. “We’ve been disproportionally affected in layoffs and unemployment.”

At many of America’s major employers, black men and women are absent from meaningful leadership roles.

The nation’s largest health care company, CVS, has no black people on its senior leadership team.

In finance, there are no black people on the senior leadership teams of Bank of America, JPMorgan (where managers in Phoenix branches were recorded making racist remarks) or Wells Fargo (which recently faced a federal lawsuit for discriminating against minority home buyers).

In technology, there are zero black members of the senior leadership teams of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

In total, there are just four black chief executives among the 500 largest companies in the country.

Many big companies have added black directors to their boards in recent years. But while board seats can be levers to effect change, they do little to shift the power centers within companies. Exxon, the largest U.S. energy company, has two black board members, including Ms. Burns — but the management committee is composed entirely of white men.

“We are put into these positions that are honorific, because they want our presence,” Mr. Walker said. “But we are not given authority and resources.”

Billionaire Robert Smith urges top companies to consider reparations

Author:  Zack Budryk                Published:  

Billionaire Robert Smith urges top companies to consider reparations

Robert Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners, said companies that profited from the slave trade should consider paying reparations to Black Americans, citing the coronavirus pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the community.

“I think that’s going to be a political decision that’s going to have to be made and decided upon,” Smith, ranked by Forbes as the U.S.’s wealthiest African American, told Reuters. “But I think corporations have to also think about, well, what is the right thing to do?”

Those companies, he said, “can bring their expertise and capital to repair the communities that they are directly associated with in the industries in which they cover. I think that has to be a very, a very thoughtful approach. But I think action needs to be taken.”

“How do we restore, repair and regenerate the economic activity in these communities utilizing the force of the U.S. government and business and partnerships?” he said.

In the meantime, Smith told the news service he has focused his own efforts on infusing capital into Black communities with a shortage of financial institutions. About 70 percent of the Black community, he said, lacks a reliable bank branch, often leaving Black Americans to rely on more predatory institutions that target the poor and minorities.

Smith said that while “the allies weren’t as widespread” in his youth in the 1960s, he believes interracial solidarity has significantly improved since then.

“Employees of companies are also going to hold the leaders accountable to do something about it,” he told Reuters. “We have a chance for systemic change.”

Smith previously paid off the student debt of Morehouse College’s entire graduating class in September, fulfilling a pledge he made last May.

Here’s What Companies Are Promising to Do to Fight Racism

Author:                Published: 9/23/2020                             The New York Times

Corporate America has pledged millions to social justice efforts since the killing of George Floyd. But some businesses have gone further, committing to concrete changes in their practices.

Companies big and small have reacted to the protests after the police killing of George Floyd last month.

Friday will be a paid company holiday for employees at Nike. The same goes for workers at Twitter, Target, General Motors, the National Football League and a variety of other businesses. JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and other banks will close branches early.

Companies big and small decided to recognize Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery, after the killing of George Floyd set off an urgent national conversation about race.

Companies are usually quiet at moments of public upheaval and hesitant to take a political stand for fear of alienating customers. But since Mr. Floyd’s killing late last month, businesses of all kinds have expressed their solidarity with protesters, donated millions of dollars to organizations dedicated to racial justice or vowed to change their office cultures to be more inclusive.

But some have gone further, announcing intentions to make concrete changes inside their own institutions or in how they do business. Here is a list of some of the promises made.


Why DC Residents Must Go Solar PEPCO Request A 136 Million Dollar Rate Increase Over next 2 Years

Author: DC Public Service Commission                      9/24/2020                                         DCPSC

FC1156 – Virtual Community Hearing

Event information for FC1156 – Virtual Community Hearing

Event summary A discussion of PepcoConnect’s multi-year rate plan.
Event details Those who wish to testify at the virtual community hearing should contact the Commission Secretary by the close of business, five (5) business days prior to the date of the hearing by sending an email to PSC-CommissionSecretary@dc.gov.

Virtual Community and Legislative-Style Hearing Policies and Procedures

Event date and time 9/29/2020 2:00:00 PM
Contact Person Brinda Westbrook
Contact Number 202-626-9192
Attachment Click here to open


Understand Your Electricity Bill.

Author: DCPSC                                                 Published: 9/24/2020                            DC Power Connect


Like most energy customers, you look at your energy bill to find out what you need to pay each month. But do you really know what services you are paying for? Use our guide below to better understand your bill and make an informed choice when switching suppliers.

A utility bill is broken down into several different sections, each of which provides important information. In addition to guides from Pepco and Washington Gas, here’s an overview of common sections.
Summary of your charges

The summary of charges generally appears at the top the bill. This section provides an overview of the account status, including the previous account balance, any payments made on the previous balance and the new amount owed for the current billing period.

Electricity consumers who have not selected a third-party supplier have the Standard Offer Service (SOS) rate by default. Selecting a different retail electricity supplier will replace the SOS rate with the rate offered by the retail electricity supplier.

Details of your electric charges

This section shows the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) you used during the billing period, as well as the rate you pay per kWh, which may change with the seasons. The section is comprised of several smaller charges that cover maintenance and upgrades to the electric grid and to fund other DC government-sponsored energy initiatives. The names and amounts of these electricity charges include an electric distribution and an electric supply charge.



The delivery of electricity to your home or business. This includes local wires, transformers, substations and other equipment used to deliver electricity to end-user consumers beginning at the high-voltage transmission lines.


Part of the basic service charges on every customer’s bill for delivering electricity from the electric distribution company to your home or business. The distribution charge is regulated by the Public Service Commission. This charge will vary according to how much electricity you use.


Energy usage

This shows your total consumption each month over the past year and provides a good visual representation of how much energy you used as compared to the previous year. Pepco customers also have access to “green button” data that lets you view, analyze and display electricity use in either graph or tabular format. You can also download this data to create customized reports and graphs.

Fight utility scamsFind out how to protect yourself, your family and your community from utility scams.

DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office

Author: DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office      9/23/2020          DOE

The Solar District Cup

College students interested in renewable energy careers have until September 29, 2020, at 5 p.m. ET to team up and enter the Solar District Cup Class of 2021. Through the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, this competition is looking for ideas for innovative, low-cost distributed energy systems for a campus or urban district. For inspiration, read about the Class of 2020 winners.

We look forward to reading your proposals.

AEE Applauds FERC Order Opening Wholesale Energy Markets to Distributed Energy Resources

Author: Monique Hanis      Published: 9/17/2020          AEE


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2020 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy applauded approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of a long-awaited rule (FERC Order No. 2222) directing Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) to open their markets to participation by distributed energy resources (DERs). The vote was 2-1, with Commissioner Danly dissenting.

“We applaud FERC for taking this critical and long-awaited step to open competitive wholesale electricity markets to distributed energy resources. Having worked on this important rulemaking since 2016, we are thrilled that FERC has now taken action to reduce barriers to these technology innovations in wholesale markets,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE. “While we are still reviewing the details of the Commission’s decision, it appears that FERC has delivered a welcome and much needed win for U.S. consumers — as Chairman Chatterjee said this morning, ‘when DER aggregations line up and compete with traditional resources to provide all the energy, ancillary services, and capacity that they have to offer –- consumers win.’ We couldn’t agree more.”

“Allowing this growing base of customer-owned and controlled resources to engage in these markets will improve competition, lower rates, give consumers more choice, and provide needed flexibility that will support the reliability and resilience of our electricity grid,” said Dennis. “This is a boon to American innovation that will save customers money while reducing carbon emissions. By improving the economics of clean, affordable energy resources customers are already adopting in ever increasing amounts, new business models will be developed to drive even more adoption of DERs, unleash private investment, and create good U.S. jobs.”

Under the Federal Power Act, FERC is charged with ensuring that competition in the wholesale power markets is open and fair, resulting in wholesale electricity rates that are “just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential.”

In early 2016, FERC began examining market barriers facing energy storage technologies. At that time, AEE urged FERC to broaden the scope of its inquiry to additional advanced energy technologies, specifically distributed energy resources (DERs). On Nov. 17, 2016, agreeing with AEE, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) proposing to remove barriers to the participation of both energy storage and aggregated DERs in organized wholesale electricity markets operated by RTOs and ISOs. On Feb. 15, 2018, FERC issued Order No. 841, directing RTOs/ISOs to remove barriers to the participation of energy storage resources, but elected to seek more information before finalizing a rule on DERs. The docket has been pending ever since.

In addition to smaller energy storage resources not subject to Order 841, DERs include resources like rooftop solar, electric vehicles, and other technologies located on the distribution system or behind the customer’s meter. Individually, these resources are too small to participate in regional grid markets, but technology and software advancements have enabled companies to aggregate DERs at a scale and operability level that makes them a significant, flexible resource to be called upon by regional grid operators. Allowing them to participate in wholesale markets reduces overall consumer costs and improves the economics of DER adoption by increasing their utilization, deferring investments in other resources. Wholesale market participation also unlocks new business models that can expand DER production and adoption in the United States, and will drive reductions of carbon emissions.

Chairman Chatterjee provided a real-life example of how Order No. 2222 leverages the power of electric vehicles: “Let me give you a real-life example of what we’re doing today. Think about electric vehicles, or EVs, for a moment. Estimates from EEI show there will be almost 19 million electric vehicles on the road in the United States by the end of this decade alone, and that’s on the low end of some of the projections I’ve seen. When those vehicles are charging, say, in our garages, they amount to a significant energy resource that could – over time, using the power of advanced technologies – be managed through aggregations to provide a range of services in our organized energy markets. They could provide energy and spinning reserves, or even frequency regulation. By unleashing the power of EVs in this way, we have the ability to further drive down costs in our markets and bolster grid resilience. That’s to say nothing of the added benefit of emissions reductions we could see from increased EV deployment.”

According to FERC’s fact sheet, “Order No. 2222 takes effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Grid operators must make compliance filings to FERC within 270 days of the effective date. Each compliance filing must propose an implementation plan appropriately tailored for its region and must outline how the final rule will be implemented in a timely manner.”

Background Materials:

  • FERC Docket RM18-9-000*
  • FERC Order 2222 Fact Sheet is here. We await final written order.
  • “Here’s a Glimpse of What Distributed Energy Resources Could Bring to Wholesale Markets – If They Are Given A Chance,” Advanced Energy Perspectives, Sept. 17, 2019 is here.
  • “FERC Agrees with AEE: Let All Advanced Energy Technologies Compete in Regional Power Markets,” Advanced Energy Perspectives, Nov. 28, 2016 is here.
  • “Opinion: A FERC challenge: Opening up electricity markets to advanced energy technologies,” Utility Dive, June 30, 2016 is here.
  • AEE Urges FERC to Look Beyond StorageAEE Statement, June 7, 2016 is here.

*AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis (mhanis@aee.net) for permanent media access.

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.

Where Is Marijuana Legal in the US? [2020]

Author: Test Clear Drug Advisors                     Published: 9/21/2020                             TCDA

Marijuana continues to tread between legal and illegal status, depending on where you are looking in the US and for what purpose you are using the substance.

 As far as the US federal government is concerned, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. Nonetheless, some states, which will include the District of Columbia (DC) if its statehood pushes through, have legalized marijuana for recreational, medical, or for both purposes. Other states are more stringent with limited medical cannabis laws allowing only cannabidiol (CBD) products with little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes the psychoactive high.

The winds of public opinion and policy reform seem to be blowing toward marijuana legalization. It’s hard to ignore the tax revenue from the marijuana industry, which can generate $17.5 billion in tax revenue by 2030. Plus, the medicinal value of marijuana, particularly CBD, may be the only hope for patients with serious medical conditions. These reasons and more may have motivated 30 out of the 50 states to have a marijuana law. It’s not just legalization that is at work here; the move toward decriminalization is also evident.

By the end of this post, you will have counted the states where marijuana is legal in the US. You’ll also be reading up on the laws in every state, whether it legalizes cannabis or not, and pending bills that can upend current federal law on marijuana. The guide also examines the impact of the legalization, public opinion, and prospects that can affect your life and career.

Where Is Marijuana Legal?

As of December 2019:

  • Thirty-three US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
  • Eleven states and DC have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
  • Twenty-five states and DC have decriminalized possession of marijuana in small amounts.
  • DC does not allow commercial production and sale of marijuana in its jurisdiction.
  • Vermont does not allow commercial sales of marijuana but does permit medical sales.

Here is a list of states and federal districts where marijuana is legal, as specified:

  1. Alaska (both recreational and medical marijuana)
  2. Arizona (medical marijuana)
  3. Arkansas (medical marijuana)
  4. California (recreational and medical marijuana)
  5. Colorado (recreational and medical marijuana)
  6. Connecticut (medical marijuana)
  7. Delaware (medical marijuana)
  8. Florida (medical marijuana)
  9. Hawaii (medical marijuana)
  10. Illinois (recreational marijuana will become legal in 2020 and medical marijuana)
  11. Louisiana (medical marijuana)
  12. Maine (recreational and medical marijuana)
  13. Maryland (medical marijuana)
  14. Massachusetts (recreational and medical marijuana)
  15. Michigan (recreational and medical marijuana)
  16. Minnesota (medical marijuana)
  17. Missouri (medical marijuana)
  18. Montana (medical marijuana)
  19. Nevada (recreational and medical marijuana)
  20. New Hampshire (medical marijuana)
  21. New Jersey (medical marijuana)
  22. New Mexico (medical marijuana)
  23. New York (medical marijuana)
  24. North Dakota (medical marijuana)
  25. Ohio (medical marijuana)
  26. Oklahoma (medical marijuana)
  27. Oregon (recreational and medical marijuana)
  28. Pennsylvania (medical marijuana)
  29. Rhode Island (medical marijuana)
  30. Utah (medical marijuana)
  31. Vermont (recreational and medical)
  32. Washington (recreational and medical marijuana)
  33. West Virginia (medical marijuana)
  34. District of Columbia (recreational and medical marijuana)
Where is Marijuana decriminalized

Where Is Marijuana Decriminalized?

In the context of marijuana, decriminalization refers to the elimination or reduction of criminal penalties for the personal use and possession of the substance. By decriminalizing marijuana, the possession of small amounts of marijuana becomes a civil infraction or slides one notch lower in the penalty scale.

The term decriminalization differs from legalization that has more to do with allowing medical, recreational, or both uses of marijuana, such that penalties imposed on them are lifted or abolished. State cannabis laws can vary and specify what constitutes legal use, possession, purchase, cultivation, sale, and more of cannabis, so it’s critical to read the statutory provisions. It’s also plausible for a state to decriminalize marijuana but not to have laws that explicitly allow adult use, or that the decriminalization applies to local units.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the following jurisdictions in the U.S. have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana:

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. Hawaii (decriminalization becomes effective on January 11, 2020)
  7. Illinois
  8. Maine
  9. Maryland
  10. Massachusetts
  11. Minnesota
  12. Mississippi
  13. Missouri
  14. Nebraska
  15. Nevada
  16. New Hampshire
  17. New Mexico
  18. New York
  19. North Carolina
  20. North Dakota
  21. Ohio
  22. Oregon
  23. Rhode Island
  24. Vermont
  25. Washington
  26. District of Columbia

Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois (legalization effective on January 1, 2020), Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have laws permitting recreational use of marijuana.

What Are State Marijuana Laws?

The interactive map clearly lays out jurisdictions of the US that have medical-marijuana laws and recreational-marijuana laws. Despite not enacting laws on the legalization of medical cannabis, certain states have “limited” marijuana laws for therapeutic purposes.

What Is the Impact of Marijuana Legalization?

If you were to draw a rough timeline of cannabis laws in the US based on the section above, it would look like this:

Rough timeline of Cannabis laws

Many variables are involved in the legalization of marijuana, so further research is required to measure its impact on the youth, the overall economy, and more. For now, we look at numbers and findings with sample case studies that have been collected so far. States that implement medical-marijuana programs have to thresh out issues, such as establishing a patient registry, dispensing, and licensing. These MMPs can take years before they become fully operational.


Taxing legal marijuana sales has been one of the motivations for legalization on a state level.

MarketWatch relates that Colorado made $270 million in tax revenues from legal pot sales in 2018 or $45 million it collected from alcohol tax. The same article notes that California and Oregon missed their targeted projections for the same year.

Crime and Violence

2017 paper published in The Economic Journal in 2019 reveals the decrease in violent crimes in states or counties near the Mexican border because of medical marijuana laws (MMLs). The study notes that 12 out of 16 states that have MMLs as of 2012 allow for home cultivation. Ten of the 16 states have or allow for dispensaries supplied by local marijuana farmers. The latter reduces the revenues of Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and their “investment in violent activity.

Some, however, will argue that legalization does not equate the reduction of crime. This piece from The Hill relates an uptick in homicide rates in jurisdictions that legalize marijuana.

For example, Denver recorded a homicide rate of 67 percent in 2018 from 36 percent in 2013. Seattle had a peak rate of 31 cases in 2018 from 19 cases in 2013. Meanwhile, DC saw 160 homicide cases in 2018, compared to 116 cases a year before.


A study from The American Economic Review notes that the legalization of marijuana will remove the stigma of illegality with increased access to the drug. Does this “destigmatization” apply to employment in states with medical and recreational marijuana laws?

The NCSL notes that employers in states with marijuana laws are given discretion on drug testing and decision-making based on the results of the drug test. However, a state can have a law or language that protects medical or recreational cannabis users from discrimination or being declined employment, as in the case of Nevada. Check here if your state has this protection.

What Is the Cole Memorandum?

It’s critical guidance on the enforcement of marijuana issued by US deputy attorney general James M. Cole in August 2013 during the Obama administration. The 2013 memorandum recognized state ballot initiatives that legalized the use and possession of marijuana in small amounts, as well as the regulation of its production, purchase, and sale.

In the memo, the Department of Justice directed US attorneys and law enforcement to focus on the federal government’s important priorities, such as preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors. It left states and local law enforcement agencies to enforce their narcotics laws and prosecute marijuana-related conduct on an individual level.

The Cole Memo was widely seen as the federal government’s way of being hands-off on states with marijuana laws. The expectation is that states will have “strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health, and other law enforcement interests.”

Rescission of Cole Memo

In January 2018, US attorney general Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo during the Trump administration. The memo took a jab at previous guidance that, according to Sessions, “undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out the mission.”

The 2018 memo emphasized the return of the rule of law, directing US attorneys to prosecute marijuana activities based on the laws of the US Congress and well-established principles.

For many, the rescission of the Cole Memo is a step back to the limbo that is cannabis’s legal status. Certain US representatives did respond to the reversal by introducing the Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act of 2019. This prevents the attorney general from prosecuting activities that relate to the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana or conduct that state law authorizes.

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment is hailed as the most significant legislation in the heels of the Cole Memo. The continued renewal of the amendment means that federal funds won’t be used to enforce federal law in states that legalize medical marijuana.

A bit on the name: the amendment was previously known as Hinchey-Rohrabacher, after Representatives Maurice Hinchey and Dana Rohrabacher. When Representative Sam Farr took over with Rohrabacher, the amendment became Rohrabacher-Farr. With Representative Farr’s retirement, Representative Earl Blumenauer took over his place, and the amendment bears the current names of the sponsors.

The amendment has been included in the annual appropriations bill passed by Congress since 2014. In June 2019, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the amendment that protects both recreational marijuana and medical marijuana programs from the DOJ’s interference. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee did not take up the expanded amendment but opted to go with the amendment that was enacted in 2014 and pertained to state medical-cannabis laws.

Marijuana at a federal level

Is Marijuana Legal at the Federal Level?

The short answer is no. Marihuana, cannabis, or marijuana, as defined in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), is a controlled substance classified as a Schedule I, along with marihuana extract.

According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Diversion Control Division, Schedule I controlled substances have these attributes:

Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.

The CSA, which is Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, schedules substances that form the basis for federal regulation and control. Drugs listed under Schedule I and II face the strictest regulations that will be enforced by the DEA. A substance can be removed or reclassified subject to a petition.

Notably, interested parties have called for the removal of cannabis from Schedule I. This is in light of states’ adoption of medical marijuana laws that recognize the medicinal value of the plant. Public policy research group Cato Institute proposed to end the drug war and legalize drugs that will save the government $41.3 billion in annual enforcement expenditures.

What’s Next for Legalization of Marijuana?

(Note: states in the process of legalizing marijuana and pending proposals on the federal level )

On the State Level

According to this report, six states are on track to legalize recreational marijuana in their jurisdictions:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • South Dakota

There can be more surprises with 2020 an election year. Nonprofit organization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) keeps track of pending legislation for legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. Check what’s on your state’s plate here.

On the Federal Level

Here are marijuana-related proposals that are pending before the Congress:

  • The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act of 2019) aims for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers to have access to financial services. Introduced in March 2019, the bill also intends to give protections to institutions that will provide the financial services.
  • The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS Act) aims to amend federal law such that states will be allowed to make their medical marijuana policies. It’s also the intention of the bipartisan bill introduced in January 2019 to permit doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans with serious or chronic conditions
  • Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act, which was introduced in January 2019, wishes to decriminalize marijuana such that it will be removed from all schedules under the CSA and its products be subject to regulation like alcohol
  • The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), introduced in May 2019, echoes the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. The bill proposes for the decriminalization of marijuana and the amendment of relevant laws to reflect this change. It also calls for the Health and Human Services to research on the impact of marijuana
  • The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, introduced in February 2019, seeks to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, as well as to establish procedures for taxing and regulating marijuana.

Where Does the Public Stand on Marijuana?

Americans on marijuana legalization

What Can You Do?

The numbers and survey results shared above point to a shift toward legalizing marijuana, a movement that is sweeping the US as we speak.

You are fortunate if you live in a jurisdiction that permits access to cannabis for medical or recreational use. If not, you may have to be more proactive by participating in measures that ease restrictions on the substance in your state or on the federal level. You may also write to your lawmakers about your beliefs on the matter.

Indeed, the conflict between state laws and federal laws on marijuana makes it a challenge for employers to adopt drug-testing policies that comply with the rules. It’s all the more reason not to rest on your laurels as the existence of marijuana laws does not necessarily exempt you from a preemployment drug test for marijuana.

Accordingly, here are resources for passing a workplace drug test in flying colors:

Racial justice is climate justice

Author: Liz Havstad       9/20/2020           Hip Hop Caucus


Racial justice is climate justice. And the current administration’s aggressive efforts to open drilling in Coastal Plains of The Arctic Refuge is a complete violation of both.

The Arctic Refuge is not just one of our nation’s most pristine ecosystems, it is also the sacred home to the Gwich’in people. Drilling in these lands wouldn’t just be dangerous for our rapidly warming climate. Drilling is an assault on this community’s long held way of life.

On our newest The Coolest Show podcast episodes, Rev Yearwood gets together with the Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, Bernadette Demientieff, Gwich’in Steering Committee Youth Council member, Isaiah Horace, and Soul River Inc. founder, Chad Brown. They each sit down with Rev. Yearwood in our three episode series called “Protect the Arctic” to discuss why we must stop arctic drilling, the power of the Indigenous peoples’ movement, and the impacts of the climate crisis on front line communities.

This Sunday, listen to this three-episode series and take action to protect the Arctic Refuge!

Each Friday we release The Coolest Show podcast It and can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, everywhere else you may listen to podcasts, and at thecoolestshow.com.

We’re so honored to share this platform with the climate movement.


Liz Havstad
Executive Director
Hip Hop Caucus

Hip Hop Caucus

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Listen to Emerald Cities Dr. Denise Fairchild Testify at Climate Change Subcommittee

Author: Dr. Denise Fairchild             published: 9/15/2020               ECC


Tomorrow: ECC Testifies at the Congressional Hearing on 100% Clean Economy

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) announced today that the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee will hold a fully remote hearing on Wednesday, September 16, at 10 a.m. (EDT) on the need for an ambitious economic recovery plan that is centered around climate action. The hearing is entitled, “Building a 100 Percent Clean Economy: Opportunities for an Equitable, Low-Carbon Recovery.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our economy.  Families across the country are hurting and in desperate need of new, good-paying jobs that won’t get shipped overseas or disappear out from under them,” Pallone and Tonko said. “This economic crisis demands a strong federal response — one that takes care to improve the well-being of all communities across the country and creates a cleaner, more equitable and just economy.  Recovery measures should put the United States on the path to a low-carbon future.  Economic growth and climate action go hand-in-hand, and we look forward to discussing the benefits of fostering a low-carbon economic recovery.”

This hearing will take place remotely via Cisco Webex video conferencing. Members of the public may view the hearing via live webcast accessible on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website. Please note the webcast will not be available until the hearing begins.

Additional information for this hearing, including the Committee Memorandum, testimony and the live webcast will be posted HERE as they become available.



The EV news you need to know

Author: Electric Auto Assoication        Published 9/7/2020       EAA

If 25% of cars electrify, the US would save billions. Plus news on Hyundai, Ford, Lucid, Fikser, and Citroen.

Hyundai IONIQ

The US economy

Billions could be saved with 25% EVs

A new study shows that billions of dollars in climate and health spending could be saved if just a quarter of active vehicles in the US were to be electric.

Kandi K23

Kandi K23


Brand new and $13,000?  How’s that?

Including the $7,500 federal rebate, a new Kandi will cost $13,000 when it is released in the US by the end of this year, the Chinese automaker confirmed.

Lucid Air

Lucid Air


San Diego to San Francisco on one charge?

The production version of the Lucid Air, with a 517 mile range, is expected this month, with customer deliveries scheduled in early 2021. The impressive range is met by its just as impressive 300 kW peak charge rate.

Lucid home charging

Lucid home charging

A car your home can depend on

The new Lucid Air will feature bi-directional charging with the potential to be connected to your home grid.

Fisker Ocean

Fisker Ocean


The Ocean 3 to get new siblings

Fisker, already planning to release the affordable Ocean 3 in 2022, announced that it will expand its electric car line-up in 2025 with the release of a pick-up, a sports sedan, and a second crossover.

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford (and more)

You can still hear the roar of the engine

Authentic sounding engine noise will now be an option on the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Other electric vehicle (EV) companies are experimenting with sound, too, in order to meet new federal requirements taking effect this month.

Hyundai IONIQ

Hyundai IONIQ


IONIQ: Updated and soon in triplicate

Hyundai is expanding its IONIQ brand with a CUV, a sedan, and a large SUV.

Karma Revero GTE

Karma Revero GTE

Forbes Magazine

The best for 2020

The magazine names its picks for the 10 most exciting EVs.

Citroen e-C4

Citroen e-C4


The French are coming. With the usual style.

Featuring what the company calls a “hushed, cocoon-like” interior, the new e-C4 compact hatchback is launching soon.

The 10th annual National Drive Electric Week is this month!

The 10th annual National Drive Electric Week is this month!

Author: Guy T. Hall         Published: 9/14/2020    ELECTRIC Auto Assoication

With a mix of online and in-person events around the country, it will be an remarkable year.

National Drive Electric Week 2019

National Drive Electric Week 2019

National Drive Electric Week (NDEW) is coming up fast Sept. 26 – Oct. 4. Electric Auto Association chapters and electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts are planning 200 virtual or physical events across North America. As many know, most events have expanded into the virtual space, and this is an exciting opportunity to share our knowledge, passion, and expertise to a broader audience.

With so many virtual events you can now attend National Drive Electric Week events on the other side of the continent. Live in Oregon? Attend Rhode Island’s “Ask an EV Owner” discussion.

Download the PDF program here of all sessions, with updates made every day.

Teams are pulling in speakers from across the world to provide an entertaining and informative virtual EVerything, including: History, New Models, Solar, Technology, Diversity, Policy and Advocacy, Road Trips, Incentives, and Performance. Several teams are engaging local or regional talent for community EV showcases.

Depending on local requirements, some locales will continue to provide in-person events that are held outdoors with social distancing and enhanced safety precautions. They include meet-ups at a drive-in or in-your-car driving events.

  • Get involved today by signing up to attend an event or volunteering: Visit driveelectricweek.org and register for your events today.

  • Pass the word onto friends, neighbors, and family by posting the website on social media.

  • Sign up to help. Even virtual events require assistance to create a cool session.

  • Recruit speakers. Do you know someone with  compelling EV knowledge who can participate in a virtual event? Contact Guy Hall now.

  • Create your own virtual EV event. It’s as simple as registering and setting up a Zoom meeting. We can help.

More events will be added over the next few weeks, so remember to continue visiting driveelectric.org for updates.

Join us too for the National Drive Electric Week Kick-Off virtual event on September 24 hosted by the Electric Auto Association, Plug In America and Sierra Club as we give a sneak peak into what the week holds.

NCAA rules allow White students and coaches to profit off labor of Black ones, study finds

Author: Christopher Ingraham  Published: 9/7/2020    Washington Post

Though sports revenue nearly doubled during the study period, the players ‘risking their health and safety’ have not seen a comparable increase in benefits, data show

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s long-standing policy prohibiting profit-sharing with college athletes effectively allows wealthy White students to profit off the labor of poor Black ones.

That’s the stark conclusion of a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper uses revenue and expense data for college athletic departments to trace the flow of billions in annual revenue generated by NCAA sports, particularly basketball and football.

The NCAA prohibits college athletes from being compensated for their labor. The rule is rooted in the concept of the “student-athlete,” a term the association’s first executive director coined “to help the NCAA fight against workmen’s compensation insurance claims for injured football players,” as Jon Solomon, editorial director of the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program, puts it.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 college football season is still pressing on. Here’s where we’re at. (Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

In the 1950s, the widow of college football player Ray Dennison sued for workers’ compensation death benefits after Dennison, a student on the football team at Fort Lewis A&M, was killed in a football game. The NCAA argued Dennison was ineligible for benefits because he was a student-athlete, rather than an employee of the university. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed, and the term has been the cornerstone of the NCAA’s defense against profit-sharing ever since.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 college football season is still pressing on. Here’s where we’re at. (Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

In the 1950s, the widow of college football player Ray Dennison sued for workers’ compensation death benefits after Dennison, a student on the football team at Fort Lewis A&M, was killed in a football game. The NCAA argued Dennison was ineligible for benefits because he was a student-athlete, rather than an employee of the university. The Colorado Supreme Court agreed, and the term has been the cornerstone of the NCAA’s defense against profit-sharing ever since.

But college sports today bear little resemblance to their amateur origins. “We’re talking about athletic departments with $100 million budgets,” said Craig Garthwaite, lead author of the study. “That’s a commercial enterprise. It is a modern business endeavor and we thought we should analyze it that way.”

To do that, Garthwaite and his colleagues collected revenue data for all 65 athletic departments in the Power Five conferences, home to the NCAA’s top Division I football and basketball programs, from 2006 to 2019. They also assembled data from student rosters across all sports in those departments in 2018, including data on the players’ ethnicity and hometowns.

The data yielded a number of preliminary findings. First, the revenue generated by those athletic departments nearly doubled during the study period, from $4.4 billion to $8.5 billion. Nearly 60 percent of that revenue was generated by football and basketball teams, much of it derived from the increasingly lucrative sale of broadcast rights to major television networks.

Over the study period, the average annual salary of football coaching staffs nearly doubled, from $4.8 million to $9.8 million. Non-coaching administrative salaries nearly doubled as well. But financial support for the athletes — primarily tuition aid, room and board — grew 47 percent.

“It’s morally bankrupt,” Garthwaite said. “The NCAA wants it to be ‘amateur’ for the athletes but none of the rules of amateurism to apply to all the other people in the system.”

The NCAA did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Much of the money generated by football and basketball programs is spent on salaries for coaches and administrators and on the construction of lavish facilities for the teams. But millions of dollars also flow each year to such “nonrevenue” sports as tennis, sailing and crew, which don’t generate substantial revenue and hence are reliant on the substantial profits from football and basketball to sustain them financially.

The net result: White athletes and coaches profit off the labor of Black athletes, who receive no additional compensation for the considerable revenue they generate.

“We’re the first to empirically document the regressive nature of it in a systematic way,” Garthwaite said.

“The subsidy that predominantly Black male athletes provide to others is a missing feature when we talk about equity in college athletics,” said Trevon D. Logan, a professor of economics at Ohio State University. “Although some other scholars have noted this, the paper does a nice job of linking this all together.

Garthwaite cautions that fixing this inequity isn’t as simple a matter as taking away revenue from squash and baseball and giving money back to football and basketball players. The revenue-generating sports play a major role in funding the women’s sports programs mandated by federal Title IX legislation, for instance.
But Garthwaite says the finding that “money is generated from one group that has traditionally been disadvantaged in society and it flows to a group that has not been disadvantaged” requires rethinking how we talk about “equity” in college sports.

“In my opinion, no convincing argument has been made that players should not be compensated far more than they currently are,” said Richard Borghesi of the University of South Florida, an economist who has studied compensation in college sports.

His prior research found that if college athletes were fairly compensated for the value of their work, they would earn “more than double the value of tuition and other aid, and this new study provides additional support for that prior work.

Leaving Markets is No Easy Answer to FERC Orders that Undercut State Clean Energy Commitments

Author: Jeff Dennis,Prusha Hasan,and Caithlin Marquis     Published: 9/9/2020         AEE

FRR Question-745

Frustrated by recent decisions from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and dismayed to see their policy objectives undermined by wholesale market rules, a growing number of states are considering taking matters into their own hands. Specifically, in response to FERC’s rulings disadvantaging resources that benefit from state clean energy policies, some states in PJM Interconnection and ISO New England, along with New York, are considering alternatives to centralized capacity markets – including leaving these markets altogether. An AEE background paper released last week cautions that leaving an independently operated capacity market is no quick fix for the curve balls FERC has thrown at states. Rather, leaving centralized capacity markets is a fraught choice that should be pursued only if all other potential pathways have been thoroughly exhausted. Make no mistake – the current FERC majority is attempting to undermine clean energy and state choices. Even in the face of that threat, though, states would be better off working with RTOs/ISOs and other stakeholders to identify reforms to energy, ancillary services, and capacity markets to align them with state clean energy policies, rather than undermine them.

FERC’s recent expansion of the minimum offer price rule (MOPR) in PJM has elevated the profile and urgency of concerns that also exist in ISO-NE and NYISO. When FERC issued its controversial decision in December 2019, it required PJM to set an artificial price floor for state-subsidized generation (such as wind and solar). FERC’s intent was to reverse “price suppression” caused by state policies. What the MOPR will actually do is limit the ability of advanced energy resources to participate in the nation’s largest electricity market and undermine state policies that are explicitly intended to promote advanced energy deployment.

States are now looking for solutions, and many are considering directing their utilities to leave the capacity market altogether, an option called the Fixed Resource Requirement (FRR) in PJM. Through the FRR, a utility would withdraw from PJM’s capacity market and be responsible for procuring  capacity resources to meet its share of the region’s resource adequacy requirements. In PJM, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has initiated a formal investigation into this possibility and scheduled a technical conference on September 18. Less formal discussions are underway among legislators and regulators in Illinois and Maryland, among other states.

Outside of PJM, the New York Public Service Commission and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, like the NJBPU, have also initiated formal investigations and held hearings on alternatives to RTO/ISO centralized capacity markets. (New York may have gotten a further push in this direction by an order from FERC issued late Friday rejecting a NYISO proposal to modify its “buyer side mitigation” rules – its analogue to MOPR – to recognize that capacity resources that align with that state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires 70% of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030, were more likely to get built than proposed fossil-fuel power plants.)

The appeal of FRR is clear: By allowing states, and not FERC, to set the rules for meeting resource adequacy requirements, it would avoid the harm of MOPR. But the option comes with uncertainty and a host of risks. For starters, the FRR is likely to balkanize the regional market into smaller submarkets. It also leaves unanswered questions about how states will procure the capacity needed to maintain resource adequacy. States will have to create new procurement structures from scratch (since few have any kind of structure in place today), and developing these markets and deciding which resources can participate will take time. If states decide to put regulated utilities back in control of generation development, clean and emerging technologies can be excluded or put at a disadvantage. In short, FRR could result in a drastically less competitive market – and once a utility chooses this route, it is locked out of the capacity market for at least five years.

Advanced energy companies are concerned that FRR-based responses to MOPR will erode the benefits of regional competition, limit access to a diverse array of advanced energy technologies on a regional basis, create new barriers to market participation, and increase the costs of meeting clean energy goals. Large, independently administered markets have historically opened up more opportunities for advanced energy developers while lowering prices for customers. This is why AEE, in concert with other clean energy trade organizations, has been continuously warning of the uncertainty and unintended consequences of FRR.

Sitting by while MOPR disrupts and delays achievement of state clean energy policies is clearly not a good option, either. So what should states do? AEE’s background paper, “No Quick Fix: Why Fixed Resource Requirement is Not the Best Way for States to Protect Their Energy Choices,”  offers three steps states can take before resorting to FRR. First, states should work with RTOs/ISOs and stakeholders to develop reforms that would better align market rules with state policy objectives. There are a number of proposals worthy of consideration and further development—from a forward clean energy market to improved price formation to various capacity market reform options—and stakeholders in both PJM and ISO-NE have begun these discussions. Second, states should pursue new or expanded carbon pricing mechanisms, which would better align markets with state policies while also partially counterbalancing the harmful effects of MOPR. Third, states should consider expanding direct environmental regulation of polluting power sources. This option lies firmly within state jurisdiction, and would help to shift the economics of the resource mix into better alignment with state policy targets.

Consideration, design, and implementation of these three recommendations will take time. The urgency of addressing the harm of MOPR in PJM hinges at least in part on how FERC rules on PJM’s compliance filing; if the Commission accepts the filing largely as is, it will take a few years for the worst effects of MOPR to kick in. That means that states have time to develop the right solutions rather than jumping quickly into the most readily available solution, with its considerable risks. Likewise, there is time for measured consideration of the best path forward in New York and New England states if the discussions already started move at a pace that matches the urgency of the challenge.

While a lot of the focus is on what actions states could or should take, the advanced energy industry also has a responsibility to engage with states and RTOs/ISOs as discussions continue and reforms are discussed. And to be sure, FERC – and potentially Congress – will be key moving forward. If FERC continues to escalate its attacks on state clean energy objectives and stands in the way of market reforms to align wholesale markets with those objectives, Congress may need to intervene.

Helping college students affected by COVID-19

Author:  Wells Fargo        Published: 9/3/2020     Wells Fargo

A young man is sitting and smiling at something off camera. He wears glasses, a grey hooded sweatshirt, and a jean jacket over that.

The Wells Fargo Student Impact Scholarship will provide $5,000 scholarships for the spring 2021 semester.


September 3, 2020

Helping college students affected by COVID-19

Wells Fargo is launching the Student Impact Scholarship to provide $1 million in scholarships for students and families who need financial assistance due to COVID-19.

As families prepared to send their children to college for the fall 2020 semester, almost 70% polled this spring said they were worried about paying for their education because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CNBC. To help students and families who unexpectedly need financial assistance because of the pandemic, the Wells Fargo Student Impact Scholarship is launching to provide $1 million in scholarships.

The back of someone’s head is shown in front of a laptop with the top of the screen saying: Wells Fargo and Student Impact Scholarship.
Applications for the Wells Fargo Student Impact Scholarship are being accepted from Sept. 14 to Oct. 2.

“Amid the uncertainty and confusion of the current state of the world, students remain some of the key drivers of change,” said John Rasmussen, leader of Personal Lending for Wells Fargo. “They are rising to the challenges they are facing and working hard to provide much-needed support to their families and communities. Wells Fargo wants to support those who are making a difference in their community and help them continue their educational journey.”

Wells Fargo’s Student Segment Marketing team is working with APIA Scholars, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of college scholarships to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, to provide $5,000 scholarships to a wide range of applicants. The application period begins Sept. 14 and will run through Oct. 2.

“Amid the uncertainty and confusion of the current state of the world, students remain some of the key drivers of change.”— John Rasmussen

The scholarships, which will be distributed for the spring 2021 semester, will be awarded to students who have taken action toward uplifting and empowering their communities in 2020. Students must also:

  • Intend to enroll or continue enrollment as a degree-seeking undergraduate student at an accredited U.S. college or university in spring 2021.
  • Have been financially impacted by COVID-19 and have demonstrated financial need.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the U.S., or a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary. Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are also eligible to apply.
  • Have completed the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, if legally applicable.
The headshot of John Rasmussen shows him smiling at the camera while wearing glasses, a dark blazer and tie, and a white, collared shirt.
John Rasmussen

“We believe a post-secondary education can be an important tool in building long-term financial health of communities and individuals, and are thus committed to supporting students and families in their pursuit of higher education,” Rasmussen said. “During this time of crisis when diverse populations are being disproportionately affected, it is critical that we support the ability of students to stay on their educational path — not only for their benefit, but for that of their wider community.”

To provide students with support and tangible skills, Wells Fargo will also offer leadership training and ongoing guidance, using the Beyond College webinars on the company site CollegeSTEPS®.

“During this time of crisis when diverse populations are being disproportionately affected, it is critical that we support the ability of students to stay on their educational path — not only for their benefit, but for that of their wider community.”— John Rasmussen

Continued support

Wells Fargo has a history of providing significant scholarship support for underrepresented students. Since 2010, the company has provided more than $49.4 million to support programming and scholarships for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the United Negro College Fund, with more than $87.8 million provided across all higher education programs and sponsored events. Wells Fargo Talent Acquisition Strategy and Targeted Programs Team also recruits and hires interns and full-time employees and provides online training modules for students and recent graduates through its Beyond College Webinar Series.

Wells Fargo is committed to helping its Education Financial Services customers who are experiencing hardships. Customers affected by issues related to COVID-19 should speak to their client service consultant to explore payment assistance options and visit Wells Fargo’s COVID-19 information center.

A thin yellow line divides the page.

4 tips for college students from Wells Fargo’s Student Segment team

Take care of yourself.

Focusing on your health, with activities like regular exercise or meditation, or on areas such as money management and productivity can be excellent ways to use the potential additional free time you have.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and let the school you’re attending know.

If you have not completed the FAFSA, you still can, even if your financial situation has changed since filing your most recent individual income tax return. Once you have signed and submitted your FAFSA form, you can only update basics such as your contact information, the number of people in your household, your marital status, and which schools you want to have access to your form.

Explore virtual opportunities for jobs, internships, and volunteer work.

Your go-to job might not be possible this year, but you may still be able to earn money for college by working virtually and leveraging your interests, skills, or hobbies. Some possible online jobs include managing social media for local businesses or nonprofits, proofreading, or taking online surveys. Remote internships and volunteer opportunities may also be available.

Know what resources are available to you.

There are financial resources potentially available to help with food, housing, health care, and other needs triggered by the pandemic. Emergency cash grants may also be available.

Take care of yourself.

Focusing on your health, with activities like regular exercise or meditation, or on areas such as money management and productivity can be excellent ways to use the potential additional free time you have.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and let the school you’re attending know.

If you have not completed the FAFSA, you still can, even if your financial situation has changed since filing your most recent individual income tax return. Once you have signed and submitted your FAFSA form, you can only update basics such as your contact information, the number of people in your household, your marital status, and which schools you want to have access to your form.

Chicago launches $200M RFP to power city facilities by renewable energy

Author: Katie PyintheSky            Published: 9/4/2020          Utility Dive

Dive Brief:

  • The City of Chicago has released a $200 million request for proposals (RFP) for a contract to procure renewable energy for all city-owned buildings.
  • Under the contract, all city-owned buildings, streetlights and other facilities would run on renewable energy starting in 2022 and lasting at least five years. Supplier applications are due Nov. 6, and the city intends to choose a vendor in January.
  • This RFP supports Chicago’s stated goal of running all city-owned buildings on 100% renewable energy by 2025 and transitioning the entire city to renewable energy by 2035.

Dive Insight:

Chicago is leveraging its economy of scale purchasing power with this RFP, said Brendan Owens, senior vice president at the U.S. Green Building Council. The city’s procurement work also could encourage neighboring municipalities to forge similar agreements to reap the benefits of renewable sources added to the regional energy pool.

“[Chicago is] a huge purchaser of bulk rate electricity and may have the ability to go out and do procurement to create renewable energy that previously was not on the grid,” Owens said. “There’s a win-win across all the value chains that the city is interested in.”

The renewables contract could shape how Chicago renegotiates its power purchasing agreement with electric utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), which expires at the end of this year. Last year, nearly two dozen aldermen requested a feasibility study on cutting ties with ComEd and created a municipal utility. The study results came out last week indicating it would cost the city about $8.8 billion to sever ties with ComEd and create a municipally-owned utility. The average electric delivery rate would be 43% higher in the first year of a municipal system, and it would be higher to varying degrees through 2039. Chicago consequently halted exploration of municipalization.

The cost of renewable energy has come down significantly in recent years, experts note, meaning switching to renewables could provide Chicago with energy savings in the long term.

“Renewable energy specifically, and energy efficiency as well, are well-proven to save money for anyone — private or government sectors,” said Liz Beardsley, senior policy counsel at USGBC.

Switching to renewable energy can also reduce pollution, leading to positive public health benefits —  with critical implications during the pandemic considering scientists have found links between higher levels of air pollution and higher COVID-19 death rates.

Power generation intermittency is a challenge with renewable energy. Solar generation peaks during the day, and wind peaks at night. Chicago could overcome reliability challenges with each type of individual energy source by using a blend optimized to when and how buildings use the energy, Owens said. For example, city buildings could employ a strategic blend of solar and wind-use based on their optimal usage times.

The renewable energy RFP is the latest in a string of actions Chicago has taken over the past several years to reduce the carbon footprint of its built environment, which the city said accounts for 72% of Chicago’s greenhouse gas emissions. The city launched a building energy rating system last summer to rate large buildings’ energy efficiency and make the information public. Chicago achieved LEED for Cities platinum certification in 2018 for its work toward sustainability goals.

More than 160 U.S. cities have committed to using 100% renewable power. Now there’s a push for cities to lead sustainability efforts by example with their municipal facilities, as is the case in BostonCincinnati and Seattle.

“Cities have been making climate commitments, leading them to focus on their own operations and their impact to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions and their carbon footprint,” Beardsley said.

Recommended Reading:

Call for Separation of Maryland HBCUs From State System Could Be Endorsement of Inequity

Author: Jarrett Carter                  Published: 9/3/2020      HBCU DIGEST


Leaving Regional Power Market is ‘No Quick Fix’ for States That Support Clean Energy

Author:   Monique Hanis           Published:   9/3/2020    AEE NEWS

In new background paper, AEE argues that the “Fixed Resource Requirement” should not be first choice for states seeking to defend their clean energy commitments against FERC order they see as undermining state policies

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2020 – Today, national business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) released a background paper arguing that pulling out of regional capacity markets should be a last resort for states to defend their energy choices. In “No Quick Fix: Why Fixed Resource Requirement is Not the Best Way for States to Protect Their Energy Choices,” AEE details the ways that the so-called Fixed Resource Requirement (FRR), which some states are exploring in response to an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) they see as undermining their policy commitments to clean energy, carries with it risks and costs, and that they would be better off prioritizing other options which could bring them closer to achieving their clean energy goals.

“The FRR option has received significant attention from states and clean energy advocates because it appears to provide a quick and immediate solution to the problems created by the FERC order. But in reality, FRR is not a clear or simple path and it presents many new risks for clean energy developers and buyers,” said Jeff Dennis, Managing Director and General Counsel at AEE.

In December 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a controversial decision, called the Minimum Offer Price Rule,* directing the nation’s largest regional grid operator, PJM Interconnection, to apply an administratively set minimum price to any new (and some existing) resources eligible to receive financial support from state programs that participate in PJM’s annual capacity auction. That requirement could potentially keep new renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, and demand resources from clearing the auction for capacity payments, making these resources more expensive for states that have chosen to support them, and forcing ratepayers to pay for additional capacity that’s not needed for reliability if those resources are in place. As a result, some states have begun to consider directing utilities to pull out of PJM’s regional capacity market altogether, through the FRR mechanism. Under FRR, states themselves would take responsibility for ensuring adequate capacity to meet electricity demand.

While states that have made commitments to clean energy should consider all possible options to avoid the negative impacts of the FERC-imposed rule, advanced energy companies are concerned that FRR could have unintended consequences on competition, access to the most cost-effective advanced energy resources across the region, and ultimately the ability to finance and develop new clean energy resources needed to meet state goals. Similarly, large buyers of advanced energy resources, such as commercial and industrial customers with ambitious sustainability goals, fear that FRR will undermine their ability to access cost-effective renewable energy projects across the PJM region, and increase costs to consumers generally.

In “No Quick Fix,” AEE argues that states should pursue other potential options, and consider FRR only as a last resort. AEE offers three steps states should take now:

  1. Engage with PJM and other regional grid operators to reform their markets and align them with state policy goals,
  2. Pursue new or expanded carbon pricing mechanisms, and
  3. Expand direct environmental regulation of polluting power sources.

“Rather than rush into an FRR-based alternative, states should use this time to advocate for reforms that would prepare power markets for a future where advanced energy resources like wind, solar, energy storage, demand response, energy efficiency, and distributed energy technologies, are the majority of resources on the system. States should seek to continue to capitalize on the benefits of competitive regional wholesale markets, and consider FRR only as a last resort,” said Dennis.

*AEE offers free, complimentary access to its PowerSuite online platform tracking all federal and state energy legislation and regulatory filings to credentialed media. Sign up for a free trial and contact Monique Hanis (mhanis@aee.net) for permanent access.

About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, including New York, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.6 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.







Real estate developer earns $30 million before the age of 30

Author: Wells Fargo                                  Published: 9/3/2020          Financial Health

Meet Patrick Jeune, a real estate developer who got his start as an entrepreneur when he was in college, with the help of Wells Fargo.

Patrick Jeune is smiling and standing in a building that is under construction.

Real estate developer Patrick Jeune got his start as an entrepreneur with a line of credit from Wells Fargo when he was in college. Today, at 30, he’s flipped more than 30 homes and made over $30 million dollars developing real estate in downtown Philadelphia. He also empowers other young professionals through mentorship.

Jeune was the first entrepreneur featured in Wells Fargo’s Empowerful campaign, a cultural engagement platform that launched in 2019. Empowerful celebrates successful individuals in diverse communities who inspire others to achieve their goals.