Governance and oversight to meet equity and justice goals

EJ organizations and frontline leaders should not only be considered organizing leaders, but technical experts with skills and expertise in developing equitable energy policies.

100% regenerative energy policies should include language on governance and oversight that requires regular reporting to ensure that the policy is meeting its goals, particularly on equity and justice. There should be decision-making and oversight to ensure investments are being made in BIPOC and frontline communities. And there should be regular reporting on whether renewable energy is reaching low-income communities.

Policy recommendations

Oversight Boards and Technical Advisory Groups should be formed:

  • BIPOC and frontline leaders should not only be considered organizing leaders but also technical experts with skills and expertise in developing equitable energy policies.
  • Ensure the Oversight Board or Technical Advisory Group has teeth. These bodies should be meaningful and have stronger roles and responsibilities than simply giving advice. The recommendations that come from these bodies should be enforceable.
  • Members of these boards and advisory groups should be compensated accordingly, in order to support the capacity needed to fully participate in these boards.
  • The 100% regenerative policy should include language to strengthen existing oversight boards, so that they are more inclusive and diverse.
  • BIPOC and frontline board members should have the ability to consult with their own communities on the progress and recommendations of the 100% regenerative program.
  • Policy should include mechanisms and processes for public transparency, so communities are aware of decisions and rule-making and have the opportunity to weigh in.
  • Ensure continuity of implementation so that the 100% regenerative program launches shortly after the policy is passed and there are no significant delays.
  • Boards and Advisory Groups must have the power to collect data, such as:
    • Easily accessible energy burden data
    • Metrics on outreach to BIPOC and frontline communities, rural, and Tribal groups
    • Locations of energy infrastructure, such as substations and other energy infrastructure
  • Inter-departmental consultation should be encouraged and board members should eliminate barriers to consultation in order to limit siloing between departments and boards.
  • On-going oversight and authority to review and make improvements.
  • BIPOC and frontline communities should be able to select board members that represent their communities. Prior definitions of what is a BIPOC and frontline community should align with both the selectors and the representatives.
  • Ample numbers of representation with equitable representation, and geographic (rural and urban) representation, with a significant representation of Tribal leadership.

Push for appointment processes that meet specific requirements:

  • Ensure authentic community representation as determined by local BIPOC and frontline groups
  • Governors who historically make appointments should consult with EJ communities, rural, and tribal groups on appointments
  • Include enforceable conflict of interest clauses
  • Require reports and recommendations on the 100% regenerative policy

Push for participatory budgeting and implementation:

  • BIPOC and frontline communities should be trained on developing the budget for, advocating for, and implementing the funds for the 100% regenerative policy.
  • Budgets of agencies should be made available. Agencies should highlight what parts of budget spending are on the backs of ratepayers.

Examples

Example House Bill 2242 Oregon: The Oregon Public Utility Commission established the Office of the Low-Income and Environmental Justice Advocate with the following policy elements:

  • “Responsible for representing low-income and environmental justice communities in the proceedings of the commission;
  • Shall be a person who has significant background and experience working in low-income and environmental justice communities, with an emphasis on experience in evaluating the impacts of energy burdens on low-income and environmental justice communities;
  • May, upon exercise of the independent judgement of the office, intervene as of right as an interested party or otherwise participate in the proceeding.
  • Shall convene a low-income and environmental justice advisory group to advise the Office of the Low-Income and Environmental Justice Advocate;
  • Provide a report that: (1) Shall include a description and assessment of the work of
  • the office, including any major milestones accomplished by the office; and (2) May include recommendations, including recommendations for legislation, for changes to the form or function of the office including, but not limited to, recommendations for increasing the staff or other resources available to the office.”[1]

References

  1. Representative Helm, Holvey. “House Bill 2242.” Oregon Legislative Assembly. Accessed 27 Jul. 2019.