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Dirty Money? The Real Story of How Special Interests Impact Environmental and Energy Policy at the State, Federal, and Global Level

December 9, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

From Joe Manchin to ComEd, it’s hard to escape speculation about the role of corporate money and special interests in environmental and energy policy. On Thursday, December 9 at 7PM, join Reform for Illinois for an in-depth look at what’s really going on with three advocates who have been in the trenches fighting for environmental reform at the state, federal, and global level.

Our conversation will feature Illinois PIRG’s Abe Scarr, WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Dana Johnson, and Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum. 

The forum will be moderated by RFI Executive Director Alisa Kaplan.

We’ll discuss questions including:

  • In the wake of the alleged bribery scandal surrounding former House Speaker Mike Madigan, how did ComEd shape recent energy legislation in Illinois?
  • What’s the real story behind congressional resistance to federal climate change legislation?
  • What does equitable energy policy look like, and how are special interests affecting equity concerns in global climate changenegotiations?

This free event (with a suggested donation of $15) will be conducted via Zoom.

Click here to register now! You can also submit your own questions for our guests.

Abe Scarr is the director of Illinois PIRG. He is a lead advocate in the capitol and in the media for stronger consumer protections, utility accountability, and good government. In 2017, Abe led a coalition to pass legislation to implement automatic voter registration in Illinois, winning unanimous support in the Illinois General Assembly for the bill. In 2019, he co-authored “Tragedy of Errors,” a report documenting decades of mismanagement in the Peoples Gas pipe replacement program, and has built a large coalition to end wasteful gas utility spending. In 2020, he co-authored “Guaranteed Profits, Broken Promises,” a report documenting the failures of the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, which granted ComEd formula rates, and has been a prominent voice calling for reform in the wake of the ComEd bribery scandal. Before moving to Illinois in 2014, Abe worked as the state director for ConnPIRG, where he helped pass a landmark solid waste and recycling law. He serves as a board member for the Consumer Federation of America.

Dana Johnson serves as Senior Director of Strategy and Federal Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice and leads an advocacy, regulatory and policy-setting team. She has successfully helped shape the environmental industry narrative in the areas of clean air, healthy homes, water quality, energy democracy, and transportation standards. A sought after thought leader, Dana has moderated conversations about equitable policy-making on behalf of the New York Bar Association and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Water Club. She also conceptualized and co-hosted an environmental justice education series on Clubhouse titled All Heat, No Shade. This series built awareness of President Biden’s Climate Executive Orders and his “whole of government” approach to addressing environmental justice and the climate crisis. Dana is a Board Member of Green 2.0 – a non-profit organization that believes that the voices and leadership of a powerful environmental movement must be as diverse as the causes it champions. She also is on the Advisory Council of the State Energy & Impact Center of NYU School of Law.

Dana recently returned from the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where she advocated for equitable approaches to climate change policy.

Tyson Theron Slocum is director of Public Citizen’s Energy & Climate Program, covering the regulation of petroleum, natural gas and power markets. Tyson promotes an equitable energy transition that provides renewable energy and sustainable transportation solutions for working families. Tyson serves on the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy & Environmental Markets Advisory Committee, and the CFTC’s Market Risk Advisory Committee, and frequently intervenes before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission representing the interests of households. Tyson presents his research in congressional testimony and appears regularly in the media, including appearances on CNN, MSNBC and The Colbert Report. Tyson is a member of the faculty at the University of Maryland, where he teaches an Honors College seminar on energy and climate policy, and was named Teacher Of The Year in 2017. Tyson hails originally from Newport, RI. Follow him on Twitter @TysonSlocum

RSVP here.


December 9, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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