A broad coalition commits to work with Gov. Brown and bipartisan legislative leaders to build a safer, stronger California by upgrading our energy grid, updating our laws and improving public safety investment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A growing coalition of more than 300 organizations, individuals, labor unions, energy companies, public safety and community leaders today launched a statewide effort to support Governor Jerry Brown and the bipartisan group of legislative leaders in their work to protect California from threats of natural disasters caused by the changing climate.
BRITE – “Building Resilient Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s Economy” – is a coalition spanning a wide range of interests from organized labor and community groups, environmentalists and public safety leaders, energy companies and many of the state’s longest established business organizations. In addition to their support for strengthening the state’s infrastructure for greater resilience in the face of extreme weather events, the group is also united in its urgency to act now.
BRITE is uniting to find solutions to address the areas of need raised by Gov. Brown and the bipartisan legislative leaders:
- Modernize vegetation and forest management practices for fire prevention and carbon sequestration;
- Ensure utility and public infrastructure is designed, constructed and operated to maximize resiliency to extreme weather events and natural disasters;
- Enhance the emergency response system, including consideration of mutual aid resources, telecommunications, 911 systems, and community needs, particularly in low-income and vulnerable rural and urban communities;
- Examine the availability of insurance products in high wildfire areas in light of increased risks from climate change, and;
- Update liability rules and regulations for utility services in light of changing climate and the increased severity and frequency of weather events.
“We are proud to work with BRITE members from across California to find solutions that protect good jobs and keep communities safe,” said IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell. “Frontline workers, and the communities they serve, need a more resilient energy grid. California doesn’t need finger pointing – it needs real leadership to modernize infrastructure and strengthen our public safety response to better serve all Californians.”
“Because of climate change, we’re experiencing more intense wildfires,” said Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve. “The smart approach is to work with our utilities today and not blame them for ‘the new normal.’ We are proud to join the BRITE coalition and support a secure energy future for California.”
“Energy workers, their families and the communities they serve need a safe and reliable grid,” said Jacque Bee, executive director of the Recycling Black Dollars. “We’re proud to stand side-by-side with BRITE coalition members across California who understand that good jobs, economic growth, and community safety depend on an infrastructure and system of laws and procedures that is resilient in the face of extreme weather and natural disasters.”
“As the fifth largest economy in the world, California depends on the safe, reliable energy supplied by public- and investor-owned energy utilities,” said Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council president and CEO. “Without a more resilient energy grid and updated laws that address the ‘new normal’ of extreme weather, we cannot meet the economic or environmental challenges we face. I’m happy to work with the BRITE coalition in their efforts to support economic growth and protect communities.”
“BRITE understands the urgency of addressing extreme weather and the changing climate, which has long been among the CalAsian Chamber’s policy priorities,” said Pat Fong Kushida, president and CEO of the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce. “It’s an issue that hits minority and low-income communities hardest. We need a reliable energy grid and investment in safety not just to protect Californians, but to create opportunities and offer pathways for California’s most vulnerable.”
“Future generations are counting on California to continue to lead the way in clean energy production,” said Dr. Matt Rahn of California State University San Marcos – Wildfire Research Program. “We will not be able to meet our goal of reaching 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 without strong utility partners and a modern, resilient energy grid. That’s why we’re proud to join the BRITE coalition to advocate for a safe, secure energy future for every Californian.”
BRITE is a coalition supporting the bipartisan group of legislators and Gov. Brown, who characterized the effects of the changing climate in California as “the new normal.”
To meet the demands of the changing climate, grow our economy, realize California’s clean energy future and address the challenges as described by Gov. Brown and the bipartisan legislative leaders, the BRITE coalition is working to:
- Achieve climate resiliency with a comprehensive approach to managing forests and other lands as well as energy infrastructure.
- Upgrade the emergency response system and provide communities the resources they need to meet the demands of climate change and resulting natural disasters.
- Reform our regulations and laws that govern public- and investor-owned utility companies to address the “new normal” of extreme weather.
- Ensure state and local governments, energy companies and communities work together to reach California’s goal of delivering 50 percent of our energy from renewable resources by the year 2030.
- Preserve healthy, stable public and investor-owned utilities to continue to play their vital role in powering the world’s fifth largest economy.
For more information on BRITE – “Building Resilient Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s Economy” – or to join, visit //www.briteca.com/
– 30 –