THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – 04 29, 2022

Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“The path to climate security will be paved by the innovation and grit of American workers — from a Civilian Climate Corps that will put 300,000 diverse new servicemembers to work tackling the climate crisis, to tax credits and a national climate bank to invest in the technology of tomorrow, to decades-overdue investments to secure true environmental justice. We have never been closer to taking the transformational action necessary to protect ourselves and our planet.”

— Senator Ed Markey and White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy in an op-ed published by the Boston Globe titled “A Clean Energy Economy is Within Reach”.

“We need good, union jobs in the coalfields, no matter what industry they are in. This is a start toward putting the tens of thousands of already dislocated coal miners to work in decent jobs in the communities where they live.”

–United Mine Workers of America (UMW) Secretary-Treasurer Brian Sanson speaking on the benefits of the recent partnership between UMW and Sparks Inc., which plans to build a battery manufacturing facility in West Virginia. The initiative is part of a larger shift towards training American workers to lead the clean energy transition via “good-paying, family-sustaining jobs” that have transformational effects on local communities. 

“We’ll be going door-to-door … to talk with Kentuckians about high electricity bills and the need for bold investments in climate, care, jobs and justice. We use an approach called ‘deep canvassing,’ which invites non-judgmental, empathetic, story-based conversations at the door about important issues.” 

— Lisa Abbott, co-director of organizing for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, worked with other activist groups as part of the Green New Deal Network’s national day of action, Fight for Our Future. By using “deep-canvassing,” organizers produced a series of documentary-style videos with locals talking about how environmental issues impact their daily lives. 

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NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE SENATE TO PASS A TRANSFORMATIONAL RECONCILIATION BILL: In response to reports about a bipartisan group of senators meeting to discuss climate and energy security, LCV urged leaders to act on climate through budget reconciliation without delay

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Between increasingly devastating climate-fueled extreme weather events, high gas prices, and rising inflation, now is the time for the Senate to pass a transformational climate, jobs, and justice reconciliation bill that will save families money, create good paying jobs, and build a healthier, more just clean energy future. Congressional Republicans have demonstrated time and again that they are not serious about acting on climate at the scale science and justice require or ensuring billionaires pay their fair share. Their overwhelming support for Trump’s 2017 tax scam and Congressional Republicans’ abysmal 14% average 2021 LCV score make that abundantly clear. We truly cannot afford any more delay or distraction. The time to act on climate through the budget reconciliation process is right now.”

CONGRESS SHOULD CONFIRM MORE JUDGES: Last week, LCV sent letters to the U.S. Senate from LCV President Gene Karpinski urging members to confirm J. Michelle Childs to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Nancy Abudu to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Both votes will be considered for inclusion in the 2022 Scorecard.

GOOD NEWS FOR OFFSHORE WIND: On Wednesday, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton announced bold steps towards achieving its offshore wind energy goals as part of the nation’s transition to energy independence. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “We are thrilled to see the Biden-Harris Administration continue to make aggressive moves toward achieving its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. These initial steps to leasing more than 5 million new acres of offshore wind areas off the Central Atlantic and Oregon coasts will create good-paying jobs up and down the U.S. clean energy supply chain all while tackling the climate crisis. Thank you to BOEM Director Amanda Lefton for prioritizing these deployment goals; we look forward to working with the administration to accelerate the transition to clean energy independence.”

PROTECT MORE PARKS: To conclude National Park Week, The Hill published LCV President Gene Karpinski’s op-ed urging the Biden-Harris administration to protect more parks. The parks system, he explains, is important to “ensur[ing] that we are safeguarding the diverse cultures and history of our country, preserving more public lands and waters, and expanding equitable access to them.” Karpinski placed particular emphasis on pushing President Biden to use the powers granted to him in the Antiquities Act to designate Avi Kwa Ame in southern Nevada and Castner Range near El Paso, Texas as national monuments, as they both have significant ecological and cultural value as well as strong local support. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “As we proudly celebrate National Park Week, we must also echo the calls from local elected officials, Indigenous leaders, conservation groups, hunters, anglers, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and other advocates working to protect more parks. It is time for the Biden administration to accelerate the pace of conservation and make these sacred places our next national monuments.”

COMMUNITY MEMBERS DEMAND STRINGENT TRUCK EMISSIONS STANDARDS: On Wednesday, Chispa delivered a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency signed by over 700 community members advocating for more stringent emissions standards for trucks and buses. The petition precedes Asthma Awareness Month, during which Chispa and community advocates will continue to fight for communities’ right to healthy air. 

UPDATING MINING LAW IS A STEP TOWARDS JUST, CLEAN ENERGY: On Tuesday, House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva and Senator Martin Heinrich, who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources committee, introduced the Clean Energy Minerals Reform Act, legislation to modernize the nation’s severely antiquated hardrock mining law.

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “For over 150 years, mining operations have been governed by an antiquated and racist law that contains no environmental or community protections. As we increase our focus on mining the raw materials needed to secure a clean energy future independent of petro-state autocrats, we must root our efforts in justice for the communities that have long been disproportionately harmed by colonization and resource extraction, particularly Indigenous communities. This bill will give land managers the ability to defend our public lands from irresponsible mining, provide taxpayers with a fair return, and allocate funds to address the long-standing hazards of abandoned mines to drinking water and fish and wildlife habitat. We thank Chair Grijalva and Sen. Heinrich for their leadership and urge Congress to act so that we may begin to fix the mining industry’s toxic legacy.” 

THREE INCUMBENTS FOR CONGRESS: This week, LCV Action Fund endorsed three candidates: Diana DeGette for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, Ayanna Pressley for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District, and Richard Blumenthal for reelection to the U.S. Senate from Connecticut.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

🎉CONNECTICUT COMMITS TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY: The Connecticut legislature passed a bill committing the state to achieve zero-carbon electricity by 2040, becoming the 14th state to set a 100% clean energy goal. This huge victory was largely due to the efforts of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters who championed the bill and built large public support around it. The legislation will soon be signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont who originally established the goal in a 2019 executive order.

REPRESENTATIVE PALM TAKE: Connecticut Representative Christine Palm said, “I believe we have the moral, economic, social and intergenerational responsibility  to look our kids in the eye and say we did everything within our power when we had the chance. This is our chance. This is the beginning of what we should be doing. Reducing carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses is just where it starts, and certainly not where it ends.”

CTLCV TAKE: In their press release, Connecticut LCV said, “Connecticut led the charge in a nationwide effort to transition to clean and renewable energy by committing to a 100% zero-carbon electricity supply by 2040. Other states have made similar commitments, but Connecticut’s is one of the strongest to focus on the electricity sector. Connecticut is not only a national leader, but also an inspiration to the region as part of a multi-state effort to reform the regional ISO-New England grid.”

SAVING SOLAR IN FLORIDA: On Wednesday, Florida Conservation Voters and Chispa Florida celebrated a huge and unexpected victory for solar power when Governor Ron DeSantis’ vetoed an anti-net metering bill that would have allowed Florida electric utilities to impose steep fees on businesses and homeowners who install solar panels. 

FCV TAKE: Florida Conservation Voters tweeted, “YOU DID IT. Thanks to the advocacy of *thousands* of Floridians, @GovRonDeSantis has opted to VETO the anti-rooftop solar net metering bill. Gigantic win. All credit to the people of Florida, who know a bad deal when they see it — and made themselves heard!” 

SINGER CAMILA CABELLO PARTNERS WITH CHISPA: On Earth Day, singer Camila Cabello partnered with Chispa Arizona to uplift their work fighting for environmental justice in Latinx communities. Watch the video Camila posted with activists describing what climate justice means to them HERE.

ACTIVATE 48: This week, Chispa Arizona joined three Arizona-based advocacy groups to form the Activate 48 coalition, which aims to unite Arizonans in the fight for democracy and healthy communities. Watch their powerful message HERE

FIGHTING FOR VOTING RIGHTS IN ARIZONA: On Wednesday, State Co-director of Chispa Arizona Dulce Juarez joined an event organized by the Voter Movement Project. During the webinar, titled “Voting Rights: New Solutions. Unprecedented Challenges,” she shared Chispa Arizona’s work to make Arizona the solar capital of the world, the litigation the organization is involved in to push back on bad legislation, and the current coalition effort to pass a ballot measure to ensure access to the ballot. Watch the webinar HERE.

TELLING OUR CLIMATE STORIES: Chispa Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro honored the lesson’s her grandmother taught her about protecting the Earth in a recent blog post, “Growing Up with Madre Tierra.” 

CHISPA LCV TAKE: Chispa Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro said, “All the tips and tricks my grandma shared with me were a lifestyle. She would go out of her way to take care of a plant, how she didn’t care if the food would take longer because of the small electric stove to avoid potentially toxic fumes, or how she air-dried our clothes in el tendedero so they wouldn’t shrink thus conserving precious limited resources. It all has a deeper purpose; it all was done with love. It is all to protect and nourish.”

SAN DIEGO CALLS ON CA TO KEEP UP WITH CLIMATE ACTION: On Earth Day, League of Conservation Voters – San Diego’s president of the board of directors, Lucero Sanchez, published an op-ed urging the state of California to keep up with San Diegans’ local climate efforts by passing the Climate Courage Budget, which dedicates at least five percent of state spending over five years – roughly $75 billion – towards climate solutions. She particularly urges state representatives, especially State Senate leader Toni Atkins, to keep “fighting for us and dig in” as the June 15 state budget deadline approaches.

OUR TAKE: President of the Board of Directors at League of Conservation Voters – San Diego Lucero Sanchez said, By doubling down on climate solutions at scale over the next five years, California can help San Diego and other communities correct economic and environmental injustices and grow new markets while creating jobs powering our economy on affordable clean energy.”

CT CALLS FOR CLEAN TRANSPORTATION BILLS: On Earth Day, Executive Director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters  Lori Brown published an op-ed urging state legislators to pass legislation that will reduce carbon emissions by increasing access to electric vehicles and expanding commercial rooftop solar, and offer a climate change curriculum in our public schools. 

CTLCV TAKE: Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lori Brown said, “By supporting House Bill 5039 and Senate Bill 10, we can commit our state to 100% zero-carbon, renewable energy and substantially reduce diesel air pollution from trucks and buses in Connecticut. These bills will help Connecticut become energy independent, improve our air and water quality, create thousands of new jobs and address the alarming impacts of climate change…While diesel trucks make up only 6% of the vehicles on our roads, they are responsible for over 50% of all smog-forming pollution and 45% of all the deadly diesel soot. Every day, smog and soot harm our most vulnerable populations, especially communities next to highways, which are all too often low-income communities of color. ..Our state legislators must pass these two critical bills for our environment. The time to act is now. The future of our health and climate depend on it.”

HOLDING UTILITY COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE IN MI: Over the weekend, representatives Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) and Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) announced legislation that would increase accountability over utility companies’ poor performance by providing relief to customers who lose power during outages. 

MLCV TAKE: Communications Director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Nick Dodge said, “We pay the highest costs for energy in the Midwest but receive some of the worst service in the nation. We applaud Reps. Rabhi and Aiyash for working to provide relief to Michigan residents while holding investor-owned monopoly utility companies accountable.”

CLIMATE MURAL BRINGS NEVADANS TOGETHER: On Earth Day, Governor Steve Sisolak and Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen joined the Nevada Conservation League (NCL), outdoor recreation leaders, artists, and youth activists in front of a new, NCL-sponsored climate mural painted by Las Vegas based, Brazilian artist Guilherme Lemes. Community members called on federal leaders to pass transformative climate legislation that invests in the health of our planet via jobs, climate, and justice investments.

NCL TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Communications Director Angelyn Tabalba said, “Nevada is at the frontlines of the climate crisis. From record-breaking temperatures, raging wildfires that scorched the West, to historic droughts, we know now is the time to act. The climate crisis is threatening our communities, and we must protect Nevadans from dangerous extreme weather events and the peril posed now and in the future. Today, we’re demanding Congress pass comprehensive climate legislation to build an affordable clean energy economy that creates jobs, cuts pollution, protects our health, and advances environmental justice.”

CLEAN TRANSPORTATION AND GREEN SCHOOLS IN NY: On Earth Day, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a fund of $59 million for the Clean Green Schools initiative, a program that will advance clean energy and energy efficiency solutions for all public school buildings across New York State that are designated as high-needs by the New York State Education Department or located in a disadvantaged community. The announcement builds on the historic achievements in the enacted FY 2023 Budget and supports the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Hochul also announced that the Charleston Bus Depot will get a share of 60 zero-emission Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses by the end of the year as part of the MTA’s plan to have an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2040.

NYLCV TAKE: President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “Making a commitment to a nation-leading transition to electric school buses across the state and decarbonize our schools are transformative investments into our environment, our students, and for public health. NYLCV supports this strong commitment from the Governor and NYSERDA to provide support for underserved communities to reduce emissions and improve air quality through the Clean Green Schools Initiative with major funding in the upcoming $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. When we switch to electric school buses, we’re going to be protecting our students and communities, and we’re going to be helping keep students safe and healthy in Clean Green School buildings…We can’t tackle the climate crisis without tackling transportation pollution and investing in mass transit. With asthma the leading cause of school absences, reducing air pollution in communities that house bus depots is critical to improve the public health of our neighbors, and keep kids in class.” Read NYLCV’s takes HERE and HERE

EARTH DAY CELEBRATIONS AND TACKLING TRAFFIC VIOLENCE IN NYC: On Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a historic investment of more than $900 million to tackle the city’s traffic violence crisis and deliver a safer, healthier, and greener city for all New Yorkers. The administration committed $904 million over five years to rapidly build out critical street safety and public transportation infrastructure and advance the goals laid out in the ‘NYC Streets Plan’. The announcement follows NYC’s “car-free Earth Day,” during which climate organizers used the over 80 streets reserved solely for pedestrians and cyclists across NYC to enjoy pop-up performances, live music, and, in Bushwick, the revelation of a rainforest-themed mural. Additionally, 13 protesters calling attention to the world’s climate emergency were arrested early on Friday for blocking a printing facility of The New York Times in Queens.

NYLCV TAKE: President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “We can’t drive our way out of the climate crisis. The New York League of Conservation Voters is thrilled and thankful to see Mayor Adams and Commissioner Rodriguez leading us on Citi Bikes for a fantastic ride to celebrate a car-free Earth Day.” 

EQUITABLE WASTE DISPOSABLE FOR NYC: In honor of Earth Day, Councilman and Majority Leader Keith Powers (D-4) re-introduced the Community Organics and Recycling Empowerment (CORE) Act, which would make it easier for New Yorkers in all community districts to drop off both organics for composting and electronics for recycling. The legislation will increase equitable access to composting and recycling and divert significantly more waste away from landfills by requiring drop-off sites in every community district to be easily accessible.

NYLCV TAKE: President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “These bills are priorities for NYLCV and included as part of our 2021 Scorecard, and we’re excited to support them as they are again considered in the Council.”

PA POISED TO JOIN REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE: Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolfe’s administration approved new  rules that allow the state to finally join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a priority for the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. RGGI is a carbon reduction program that improves air quality and addresses the climate crisis by requiring fossil fuel power plants to pay for their pollution. CVPA emphasized RGGI as “an historic step forward in addressing our climate crisis and building a 21st century green economy.”

MAKING OUTDOOR SPACES ACCESSIBLE: The Virginia League of Conservation Voters teamed up with Virginia Commonwealth University’s  Outdoor Adventure Program to host a rock wall climbing event last Wednesday. The event celebrated Earth Day and aimed to raise awareness about the importance of making outdoor spaces and activities accessible to everyone.

VLCV TAKE: Emily Morrow with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters said, “I think for far too long, it’s been a primarily white cis male space and we’ve started to bleed into [where] white cis women can enjoy these spaces, but it’s really still sectioned off from large portions of the community. So just making it more accessible, where there are more opportunities to learn and try something new, I think is really important.”

COMING UP:

APRIL 30: Day of the Children

MONTH OF MAY: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; Jewish American Heritage Month; Asthma Awareness Month

MAY 3: World Asthma Day

 

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