Government Affairs Director
As Government Affairs Director, Kerri works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies and officials to advance sustainable communities strategies, climate action planning, energy efficiency programs and other SBC activities.
Kerri is a communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of public- and private- sector experience in community and government relations, business communications, land and water conservation, and nonprofit management and capacity building. Prior to joining SBC, Kerri spent six years with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, where she served most recently as that agency’s Regional Policy and Program Manager. Before that, she was Executive Director of a non-profit conservation group, operated her own consulting practice where she cultivated relationships with watershed organizations, land trusts and other community groups within and outside the Sierra, and served as account executive and creative director for a community and government relations firm in San Francisco. Kerri holds a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a certificate in Land Use and Natural Resources planning through UC Davis Extension. Kerri has also authored a number of publications addressing land and water conservation and community sustainability issues in the Sierra Nevada.
Kerri and her husband John live in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, where they enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and hosting backyard barbeques for friends and family.
Wildfire Mitigation: Ready, Set ... Wait?!?
Many people welcome the rainstorms that occasionally blow through the Sierra in summer. While these downpours can temporarily green up yards and gardens, late-season showers like these also boost the growth of weeds and underbrush. This additional plant growth then dries and turns combustible in a matter of weeks, adding to the fuel that can feed out-of-control summer wildfires.
As we are entering the peak of a hot, windy fire season in the Sierra, it’s shocking to note that the State has eliminated money from its budget that was slated to help reduce the risk of wildfire and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it. That source was the California Air Resources Board’s “cap and trade” program, in which specific industries pay for the climate pollution they create via, for example, CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, the Governor chose to “loan” the first two years of cap and trade money – expected to total $500 million – to the State’s General Fund to help balance the budget.
Sierra Business Council supports the intent of the cap and trade program – to fund projects that help achieve the state’s landmark climate change goals outlined in AB 32, the Global Warming Solution Act. SBC has signed on to a number of letters to the Governor asking for swift repayment of the “loan” so that the cap and trade money can be spent – as the voters intended – on projects that reduce climate pollution.
We know that this year’s fire season started early and threatens to be severe, with 22,500 acres already scorched from the Aspen and Power fires in Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests. During California’s annual Wildfire Awareness Week (May 5-11), Governor Brown blamed climate change for more “intense” weather events that will cost “a lot of money and lives.” The Governor’s own CalFIRE Director, Ken Pimlott, cautioned that “[i]t’s time to prepare your home for wildfires. The time was actually yesterday [emphasis added].”
The irony is not lost on me that this year’s Wildfire Awareness Week theme was Ready, Set, Go. Yet the Governor chose to divert $500 million that was set and ready to go… ready to reduce fire danger, support clean energy and improve transportation – all projects that would decrease harmful pollution and improve our communities, our economy and our climate.
The state needs to act immediately, as the Governor and others have chided us to do. As the CalFIRE Director put it: the time to act is not now ... it was yesterday!
If you believe, as I do, that we need that cap and trade money back in the budget to fund these kinds of projects, please let your State legislators know. Click here to find and contact the people who represent you in the State Assembly and Senate.