August Top 5

Last week, the House of Representatives voted for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Budget Resolution, with extensive climate and clean energy investments, and set up a timeline for late September for a House vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. While there are still more negotiations to settle before this legislation becomes law, this most recent win belongs to you, the voters, and all the advocates pushing for this once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the climate crisis in a way that addresses racial and economic inequality.

From the ‘code red for humanity’ IPCC report to devastating extreme weather — including Hurricane Ida, which the Washington Post recently called “the poster child for a climate change-driven disaster” —  and long-standing environmental and racial injustice and economic inequality, it’s never been more urgent or more important to act on climate at the scale that science and justice require. It is imperative that the House and Senate deliver for the people and enact President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda into law.

In addition to voting on the $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution, the House of Representatives passed the H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an updated version of the historically bipartisan Voting Rights Act that addresses current-day voter suppression tactics. 

For more than 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has been a crucial bipartisan line of defense against discriminatory voting laws and racial gerrymandering that has empowered Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous communities to participate in our democracy. This vote is an important step towards restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which has been undermined over the past few years by a number of court rulings.

Now, the Senate must take up and pass both H.R. 4 and S. 1, the For the People Act, to ensure an equitable redistricting process and free and fair elections in 2022. LCV has already called upon Senate leadership to reform or eliminate the filibuster to ensure the continued protection of all voters, regardless of their race or geography. Our nation will never achieve environmental justice if the communities most affected by climate change and pollution do not have full access to and representation in our democracy.

These are significant steps forward and the next few weeks are an absolutely critical period in the campaign to get climate, jobs, and justice priorities across the finish line. There is so very much at stake. To help you sort through it all, here is your LCV Top 5 for August:

1. ​​LCV, Climate Power August Activity Recap — More Than $14 Million Invested

With members back home for the next couple of weeks, and Congressional committees getting to work marking up portions of the reconciliation bill, LCV’s advocacy in the states and D.C. could not be more important. This is a make or break period to ensure the Build Back Better Act includes the climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice provisions we’ve been fighting for.

LCV and Climate Power are investing even more in our push for the passage of bold, transformative policies that center on climate, justice, and jobs. In the first half of August alone, we have invested more than $14 million in our Climate Action Now efforts, including countering the false narratives from climate action opponents. Through our multi-state Great American Build tour, led by LCV’s state affiliates, we have taken our movement’s message to key Congressional districts to make it clear that voters overwhelmingly want Congress to act on climate now

Across the country, LCV’s 30+ state affiliates, in coordination with our Climate Action Now teams, have been applying pressure and demonstrating strong support for climate, justice, and jobs legislation by: 

  • organizing more than 60 events with members of Congress, cabinet officials, and other federal and local leaders;
  • knocking on  nearly 130,00 doors in key states; 
  • garnering visible support from close to 5,000 small businesses;
  • distributing more than 9,300 yard signs in key areas where members of Congress will see this in-district support as they return home during August recess;
  • recruiting volunteers to be climate action advocates at town halls
  • engaging citizens and raising awareness through one-of-a-kind community-based art activations; and
  • placing opinion editorials in papers across the nation to support bold, just climate action.

For a detailed update on our work in the first half of August, read our latest Interested Parties Memo here

2. LCV, Chispa, and The Redford Center Partner to Build Community Power Through New Short Film Series

Earlier this month, the Redford Center, in collaboration with Chispa and LCV announced the launch of a new series of short films in a collective call for civic engagement around clean transportation to build a safer, more just future. 

As part of The Redford Center’s Power the Vote civic engagement initiative, this new series, titled Community Power, showcases local activists, storytellers, and culture-makers as the visionary leaders that are building the movement to fight for environmental justice and regeneration.​ 

The first film in the series, Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands) was directed by Chispa Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez and tells the story of Chispa Arizona Senior Organizer Teo Argueta and a group of local mothers who make the connection between  dirty diesel school buses, air pollution and local health impacts, and specifically childhood asthma and lead the way in fighting for clean air for their children and communities. Read more about this powerful film series — and watch En Nuestrxs Manos — here.

3. Energy Secretary Graholm Joins LCV for Virtual Discussion on Building a Clean Energy Future

President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combat the climate crisis, strengthen communities, and create good-paying union jobs. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined LCV for a virtual discussion on the positive impacts that clean energy has already had on our nation’s economy and communities. Additional speakers included Alyssa Quintyne, Interior Organizer with LCV’s state affiliate The Alaska Center, Frank Hawk, COO of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and Gilbert Cambell, Co-Founder and CEO of Volt Energy. Watch a recording of the event here.

Related: LCV President Gene Karpinski snapped a pic with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) outside the White House at the announcement of President Biden’s executive order on electric vehicles and proposed clean vehicle standards.

4. New Poll: Three in Four Voters Support Build Back Better Reconciliation Package

A new poll released by LCV and Climate Power shows widespread support for the full Build Back Better reconciliation package that includes transformative investments in clean energy and environmental justice. The results were released the day the Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and moved to the Build Back Better budget resolution that includes this popular, historic climate action. 

Key takeaways from the poll include:

  • Three in four voters support the Build Back Better reconciliation plan.
  • Large majorities say the plan’s climate, clean energy, and environmental justice components are essential:
    • 66% are more likely to support the bill if it includes provisions to expand use of clean energy like solar and wind
    • 63% are more likely to support the bill if it includes strong action to address climate change
  • 63% say they are more likely to support the bill if it includes environmental justice provisions that target communities affected by pollution/development
  • 66% of voters, including 78% of Independents, say taking action to deal with climate change this year is an important priority for the President and Congress.

Read the full polling memo from Hart Research here.

Related: MEMO: The Attacks on Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda Don’t Hold Up

5. ICYMI: Highlights from the Climate Action Now Tour 

In states across the country, members of Congress, local officials, and organizations are joining LCV state affiliates to host events including town halls, rallies, clean energy facility visits, art activations, block parties, and community gatherings calling for immediate climate action and highlighting the opportunity to invest in clean energy jobs. In case you missed them, here are a few event highlights from the tour that you can view online:

  • Georgia Conservation Voters along with Climate Power, hosted an event at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta to push for Congress to take immediate action to pass the bold climate action contained in the Build Back Better budget plan. The event featured guests Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action and the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP), Brionté McCorkle, Executive Director, Georgia Conservation Voters, Daniel Blackman, former candidate for Georgia Public Service Commissioner, and Ashley Renne, environmental activist & sustainability expert. You can watch the video of the event here
  • Additionally, Georgia Conservation Voters along with Southern Equity, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy hosted a webinar with U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and local clean energy business leaders to discuss renewable energy and jobs in Georgia. WATCH the webinar.
  • Floridians have seen firsthand the impacts of extreme weather intensified by the climate crisis and are currently experiencing Red Tide, an overgrowth of harmful, poisonous algae that turns the ocean surface red. This phenomenon is worsened by pollution and habitat degradation. Florida Conservation Voters (FCV) hosted a roundtable with Florida State Senator Lori Berman, Florida House Representative Anna Eskamani, and Frances Colón of the Center for American Progress to discuss the state’s clean energy future. WATCH the round table, and READ FCV’s blog on how “Red Tide Robs Restoration Efforts.”
  • Wisconsin Conservation Voters hosted a roundtable with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Dane County Executive Joseph Parisi, and RENEW Wisconsin’s Sam Dunaiski to discuss how a clean energy future can help transform Wisconsin’s economy and address the climate crisis. WATCH the roundtable. 
  • Congressman Raúl Grijalva along with State Representatives Andrés Cano and Kirsten Engel joined Arizonans at Tucson’s Pima Community College Automotive and Technology Center to discuss how bold climate action can create clean energy jobs and protect frontline communities from pollution and severe weather in every part of the state. WATCH the event.

THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

President Biden announced that his administration will update clean vehicle standards,  reversing some of the damage done by the Trump administration and making much-needed progress to cut carbon pollution from cars and trucks. 

As part of the process, the EPA opened a comment period and will take input from the public until September 27 before reviewing it and setting a final emissions rule. But corporate polluters are going all-in to protect the Trump-era tailpipe standards and prevent innovation. Please, send a message to the EPA today demanding the strongest emissions standards possible, of the options EPA analyzed, Alternative 2

Clean car manufacturing has the potential to bring good automotive manufacturing jobs back to the United States and provide well-paying jobs for workers in America, while also combating climate change. Moreover, increasing vehicle emissions standards will also help fight environmental injustice. Because of decades of racist housing policy, communities of color and low-wealth communities are more likely to have highways cut through their neighborhoods — leading to disproportionate harm from vehicle emissions, including unequally high rates of asthma and other illnesses. It’s an injustice that must end, and cleaner cars can help us get there. We need 5,000 LCV members to act now. Click here to provide your comment — we’ll deliver it to the EPA immediately to support the strongest near-term clean car standards and to require that all new vehicles sold by 2035 be zero emission vehicles.

 

Related Articles