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Utilities Chair and Council President Jason Williams Comments on Balancing Sustainability and Affordability for New Orleanians

July 7, 2017

Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams
NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans City Council welcomes the Administration as a partner in furthering the Council's efforts toward a thoughtful energy policy for the City. The Aspirations of the Mayor's "Climate Action Strategy" are fully consistent with the path set by the Council for the last decade in establishing workable energy efficiency programs for our citizens and lower-carbon generation for Entergy New Orleans ("ENO"). As a result of these efforts, ENO's carbon emissions are already 50 percent below the national average with less than 4 percent of its energy portfolio coming from coal. Moreover, working with the Council, ENO is on the path to reduce its coal component to less than 1 percent, before the Mayor's goal date of 2030.

Planning for our future today is a must. We have an obligation to future generations, to innovate and create energy resources which do not denigrate the environment. The Council is charged with the responsibility of utility regulation, which means assuring that our collective aspirations can be achieved while maintaining affordable monthly electric bills. At a time when some of our national leaders still reject direct evidence that human action is devastating the environment, it is critical that state and local leaders take responsible action to protect our environment.

Considering the overwhelming data before us, it is time to take a longer more critical look at the way we do things. The average elevation of New Orleans is below sea-level. Its most-populated areas are largely bounded by swamps and bodies of water. Those facts alone begin to paint a picture of how unique our home is and how vulnerable we can be if the harmful effects of climate change go unchecked.

We commend the Mayor's team for the hard work they have put in producing this strategy. We share the concern for climate impact on our City and our planet. The Council will continue to do our part by promoting increased energy efficiency and renewable energy alternatives. We look forward to working with our Mayor, community and industry partners to find ways to accomplish as much as we can while balancing the impact with affordable utility bills. It is an important challenge that we are prepared to take on.

As we look to refocus around best practices in climate change we cannot ignore a real need to do the same in all other arenas which impact our residents. The emphasis on reducing incidents of violent crime cannot waiver. The success of our City depends on increasing economic opportunities for all, regardless of a person's current state of education or training. We have to maintain our vigilance about our children and stop the school to prison pipeline. Healthy and transparent operation of our institutions is essential to cultivating a city that is not just climate resilient but sustainable in all facets.

I vow to remain steadfast in my effort to help build an energy portfolio that is clean, efficient and reliable while balancing today's pressing needs and concerns.


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