April 15, 2020 10:00 AM
City Council Chamber
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NEW ORLEANS - Today, the New Orleans City Council held its first regular meeting since the "Stay at Home" mandate went into effect through video teleconference. The Council had previously suspended all meetings scheduled to occur since March 13, 2020, to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
The processes for the meeting followed the guidance provided in a State Attorney General opinion for public bodies on how to conduct meetings during the coronavirus crisis. The Council addressed a limited agenda consisting of essential items necessary to sustain the business of the City of New Orleans, or items already passed unanimously to our "consent" agenda.
The Council Chambers remained closed with only Council President Helena Moreno and essential personnel on-site to administer the meeting, which was streamed live on the Council's website at council.nola.gov as well as Cox Cable Channel 6.
"What times we are in both here in New Orleans and across the globe," said Councilmember Moreno. "The chamber is closed, so as President, I sit solo on the dais while my colleagues are online. I am deeply thankful for the Clerk and the essential council staff members here with me who are helping to ensure meetings can continue and be broadcast live for the public on cable and online. I miss being with my colleagues and with our constituents in the audience, but I know we will be together again and come through this even stronger."
All land use deadlines are currently suspended pursuant to emergency declaration. Therefore, no land use items were considered during today's teleconferenced meeting, and all pending matters will be set for public hearing at a future date.
Members of the Council and key staff during today's live meeting broadcast
Council Takes Step Toward Renewable & Clean Portfolio Standard for New Orleans
The Council adopted Resolution R-20-104 on the consent agenda regarding the development of renewable portfolio standards and establishment of a new procedural schedule. Authored by Councilmember-At-Large Moreno, the Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard (RCPS) for New Orleans will help support net-zero carbon emissions in the city by the year 2040 and effectively end the acquisition of new fossil fuel resources. By adopting this docket, New Orleans will become the first territory or state in the Gulf South to enact renewable or clean energy standards. The critical mandates in the legislation would also make the city a leader in climate policy nationwide, and encourage rapid decarbonization by requiring Entergy New Orleans to annually remove carbon resources from its portfolio until it reaches net-zero by 2040.
A key component of RCPS is that it prioritizes affordability to the ratepayer. Many throughout New Orleans struggle to stay afloat financially, and therefore, the Council wants to ensure that a sustainable future doesn't lead to significant passed on costs. For that reason, the proposal allows for a combination of renewables and existing carbon-free energy resources, capping costs to ratepayers at 1% per year.
"I believe that this climate action plan is bold, obtainable, and most importantly, swift. We simply can't wait any longer. Major weather events have already proven that our city is uniquely vulnerable and only getting more so in the future. With the Council's Renewable and Clean Portfolio Standard, we will move faster and more strongly than almost any community in the country. Our steep challenges as a city must be met with equal solutions. The RCPS gives our people the best hope for a sustainable tomorrow," said Councilmember Moreno.
Preliminary Work Approved for S&WB Plant at Carrollton Campus
The Council passed Ordinance No. 32,931 to approve preliminary construction work on the new Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) Power Plant at its Carrollton Campus and update the language throughout the original Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) to reflect current state statutes and Facility Planning & Control regulations.
Crews responding to a turbine explosion at the S&WB plant on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans on Dec. 14, 2019, courtesy of NOLA.com
2020 Regular Meeting Schedule Amended due to COVID-19
The Council adopted Motion M-20-106
, amending its regular meeting schedule for the year 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, the regular meetings scheduled for May 7, and May 21 will take place via remote access, with meetings scheduled for June TBD.