Howard's Blog

Howard A. Learner

Environmental Advocacy in These Times

These are unprecedented times. Like many of you, ELPC is doing our part with our staff working from home to ensure their safety and our communities’ health.

ELPC’s effective work continues to protect core environmental values across the Midwest region. We will continue to fight back and play to win against the Trump Administration’s misguided rollbacks of healthy clean air and safe clean water rules to protect public health. We will work to ensure that any economic stimulus and infrastructure legislation includes improving public transit and modern passenger rail and invests in a clean energy future that will accelerate climate change solutions.

We’re all in this together. Over the past week we’ve made progress toward advancing renewable energy and protecting our Great Lakes. Even in times of great crisis, there is still important work being done.

In the last week:

  • Great Toledo Blade Editorial – “Courting a Cleaner Lake (Erie)”: “A lawsuit filed against the federal agency by the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center and Lucas County commissioners seeks a reasonable standard: adoption of a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, standard strict enough to get Ohio to a 40 percent reduction in phosphorus runoff by 2025, compared to 2008 levels. The plaintiffs also ask, in a bid for summary judgment filed recently, that the court retain jurisdiction to ‘assure implementation and enforcement of the compliance schedule.’ That, too, is reasonable. Federal and state regulators have had their chance to clean up Lake Erie without strict court oversight, and they have failed. Voluntary measures pursued by the administration of former Gov. John Kasich did not get the job done.”
  • The Chicago Tribune has been running a series on threats to the Great Lakes. The most recent article on Lake Superior and winter ice is a compelling read and another example on the urgent need to drive solutions to combat climate change to protect our Great Lakes.
  • In a major win-win-win for the people of Iowa, ELPC attorneys helped broker key legislation that helps clarify “net metering” standards for local solar energy customers, allowing consumers, businesses and utilities to invest in solar with confidence. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 583 into law on March 12.
  • ELPC successfully pushed back against misguided and misleading arguments by ComEd in our gaining a favorable ruling from the Illinois Commerce Commission to better enable schools, municipal buildings and nonprofits to use conventional power purchasing agreements to obtain solar energy through third-party financing arrangements.
  • ELPC Senior Attorney Rob Kelter teamed with the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative to pen a guest editorial for Utility Dive about how smart thermostats can work with utility time-of-use rates to save energy, money and the environment.

I will keep you posted on environmental progress across the Midwest and how you can be an effective advocate with ELPC. In the meantime, my best wishes to you and your family, stay healthy and safe, and let’s keep working to protect our environment and healthy communities for all.

Howard A. Learner,

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Howard Learner is an experienced attorney serving as the President and Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. He is responsible for ELPC’s overall strategic leadership, policy direction, and financial platform.

MORE FROM Howard A. Learner