K Street Files: Powering Up

Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:02pm

More than 60 businesses, industry groups and environmental advocates are launching the Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America today, lobbying for a national energy-efficiency standard.

[IMGCAP(1)]“This is a perfect time to make a push on efficiency because the building and contracting industry is so hard hit by the economic downturn that there is skilled labor available and ready and willing to do this kind of work,— said Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition, a member of the campaign.

Dow Chemical Co., Whirlpool Corp., Johnson Controls Inc., the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy are among the campaign’s members.

Representatives from the organizations are planning on blanketing Capitol Hill on Thursday and meeting with Senate and House staff. The campaign is pushing for a federal mandate to require utilities to reduce electricity demands by 15 percent and natural gas use by 10 percent by 2020. Eighteen states have already enacted efficiency targets for utilities.

“We have seen the spread of energy-efficiency standards across the states, and it seems ripe to raise it to a national level, just as the state renewable standards are going to be in all likelihood consolidated to a national standard,— Detchon said.

Viva Cuba. Provisions relaxing U.S. policy toward Cuba almost derailed last month’s omnibus spending bill, and now the Cuban-American community is responding with a campaign aimed at thwarting the re-elections of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.).

The US-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, a group that advocates for continued U.S. isolation toward the communist island, launched a direct-mail and online fundraising campaign on Monday aimed at raising more than $100,000 to run ads against the two lawmakers.

The PAC plans to target Serrano, the author of provisions that relaxed some trade and travel restrictions, with ads in the Washington, D.C., market when Congress returns from Easter recess.

“Serrano actually admires the Cuban government,— said Mauricio Claver-Carone, a director of the US-Cuba Democracy PAC. “He has a lot of people in Congress and elsewhere fooled about his intentions on Cuba.—

Since its founding in 2004, the PAC has relied primarily on the Cuban-American community in South Florida to raise more than $2.7 million, according to Claver-Carone. It will target Dodd in what is shaping up to be a tougher-than-expected re-election fight for the Senator in 2010.

“We look forward to supporting whoever his opponent may be,— Claver-Carone said. “His vulnerability is a unique opportunity to target one of the biggest opponents of current Cuba policy in the U.S. Senate.—

Dodd’s office did not reply to a request for comment.

“If I have to be attacked by this group in order to allow a Cuban-American to visit a sick relative more than once every three years, then the choice is easy,— Serrano said in an e-mail, referring to the travel provisions he included in the omnibus bill. “I will stand with the families every time.—

Professor Novelli. It’s official. AARP Chief Executive Officer Bill Novelli confirmed that after nine years at the nation’s largest membership organization for people age 50-plus, he’s moving to a younger demographic, joining the faculty of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business as a distinguished professor.

Novelli will stay at the AARP through June 5 to ensure a smooth transition for his successor, A. Barry Rand, who has already begun at the organization.

Rand, the former executive vice president for worldwide operations at Xerox Corp., comes on board after most recently serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Howard University.

Novelli began his tenure at Georgetown on Tuesday in a co-teaching position and will start full time at the university in August, teaching courses in social responsibility, nonprofit management and social enterprise.

“I want to keep my hand in health and social issues, and hope to establish a center at the university focused on social enterprise,— Novelli said.

Famous for climbing the stairs every day to his 12th-floor office at AARP headquarters in Washington, Novelli is also looking forward to immersing himself in college life once again.

“I’ll be engaged in campus life,— he said. “Attending football and lacrosse games, taking an anthropology course and going to the gym.—

K Street Moves. The c2 Group has expanded its reach, hiring Patrick Robertson, Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) deputy to the chief of staff. Roberston, who joined the firm as a partner, will focus on energy, transportation and environmental issues.

• Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck scored longtime BP lobbyist Michael McAdams. McAdams, who joins as a policy director focusing on energy initiatives, spent 14 years with BP as a lobbyist working on environmental and regulatory issues.

• Policy Impact Communications has brought on former Rep. Matthew Salmon (R-Ariz.) as executive vice president and as a member of the board of directors. Salmon most recently served as president of the high-tech trade association COMPTEL.

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