THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – AUGUST 19, 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 and Twitter.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

Democrats don’t owe anybody anything in return for passing the IRA. That bill was already a significant compromise, where progressives met moderate members of our party far more than halfway—and that’s not even counting the massive highway bill we also passed as part of the IRA deal. Calling on us to support more big wins for Big Oil, at the expense of families living in Flint, Michigan, or Cancer Alley, Louisiana, is indefensible.”

— Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, in his recent op-ed titled “Watch Out! Here Comes the Climate Deal’s Other Shoe.” In the piece, Grijalva examines the implications of the  API-approved permitting reform wishlist, misleadingly referred to as a “permitting reform” package, which could lead to continued oil and gas leasing and extraction. 

“When you put people at the center of designing cities, you power the community – because in the end our dream is to design with the community rather than for the community.”

— Dr. Yingling Fan, Professor of urban and regional planning, speaking in Transportation and Happiness as part of the Community Power film series, an initiative of The Redford Center in collaboration with LCV and Chispa. Fan’s work tracks people’s emotional experiences as they travel and examines how transportation is a crucial contributor to health. 

Young climate activists set a high bar for climate action, which was vital to the success of the bill. Our aim now is to underscore to them the great climate elements in the law so they continue to be energized around this issue.

— LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith, in a recent LA Times piece highlighting the importance of communicating the Inflation Reduction Act’s benefits. 

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$10 MILLION INFLATION REDUCTION ACT EDUCATION CAMPAIGN: Climate Power, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), and Future Forward USA Action joined forces to launch a $10 million national campaign on Friday. The ads will educate people on the benefits of the just passed Inflation Reduction Act to their lives, especially how it lowers the costs of their energy bills and prescription drugs. View the ads, which will play on major streaming services, HERE.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “President Biden and Congress made history by enacting the strongest ever federal climate legislation — and now, finally, our communities get to feel the benefits of moving to a clean energy economy. After years of being seen as secondary, today clean energy investments are squarely at the center of U.S. economic policy.”

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes said, “Democrats in Congress and President Biden beat the special interests to deliver the most meaningful climate bill ever. Now it’s time to make sure that young people, who consistently rank the climate crisis as their top concern, understand this concrete action will make a real difference in their lives by combating climate change, reducing carbon pollution, lowering costs and ramping up good-paying clean energy jobs.”

VIDEO – ITS OFFICIAL, WE PASSED CLIMATE LEGISLATION: Passing the Inflation Reduction Act would not have been possible without the activists who fought for a better future against still-too-powerful fossil fuel industries. Watch our video celebrating this monumental moment of prevailing on so many fronts and our continued fight for a more just and equitable planet HERE.

TIMELINE – HOW WE WON HISTORIC CLIMATE LEGISLATION: In the wake of President Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act, LCV took a moment to reflect on this monumental legislation, its countless benefits and even its potentially harmful provisions, and what it took us to get to this historic moment for climate action. We discuss lessons learned and how we will move forward as an organization, recognizing that this bill has flaws, and is a beginning, not an end. Read more HERE.

LCV STATEMENT FROM CAROL M. BROWNER ON PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNING THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT INTO LAW: On Tuesday, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, marking a historic victory for action on climate, clean energy jobs, and environmental justice that took relentless activism of a diverse coalition. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, “Today President Biden has again demonstrated his commitment to be the ‘Climate President’ — signing into law the most significant climate legislation ever. The Inflation Reduction Act is a significant step to make the country stronger and our people healthier. This bill will position the United States, when paired with strong action from his administration, to meet President Biden’s commitment to cut climate pollution by at least 50% by 2030 through unprecedented investments in clean energy solutions that will drive down pollution and energy prices – saving families hundreds of dollars every year…At the same time this bill failed to meet the needs of communities of color and at-risk communities who for too long have borne a disproportionate burden of fossil fuel and other pollution. LCV will fight to protect Indigenous communities and communities of color along our Gulf Coast, in Alaska, and everywhere that are threatened by oil and gas drilling and fossil fuel development, and we will continue to push Congress and the administration to do more to advance environmental justice.” Read the full statement HERE.

2022 GREENROOTS MEMBER MOBILIZATION FIELD PROGRAM LAUNCHES WITH $1.75 MILLION INVESTMENT AND FIRST-EVER NATIONAL RECRUITMENT TEAM: On Wednesday, LCV announced the launch of its 2022 GreenRoots member mobilization program. GreenRoots is one of the largest coordinated field programs in progressive politics and has had a significant impact since it was first launched in 2012. This year, LCV will invest $1.75 million in the effort with 100 program staff, including field organizers on the ground in 15 states. To deepen LCV’s impact, the program also includes a national membership recruitment team, which will mobilize LCV members across the country to help elect 50 LCV Action Fund-endorsed federal candidates, including 13 U.S. Senate candidates. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The stakes for climate, justice, and democracy have never been higher in a midterm election year. Now more than ever, we need to elect leaders who will fight for all communities and stand up against corporate polluters and their profits. LCV is thrilled to launch our 2022 GreenRoots program to mobilize our members to volunteer for the climate and environmental justice champions who will ensure we have true pro-environment majorities in Congress next year. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act – the single-largest climate investment ever – proves once again that elections have consequences and that’s why this is our biggest grassroots mobilization effort yet. LCV and our members are all in to win this November.”

OUR TAKE 2: LCV National Field Director Jennessa Agnew said, “LCV members are more motivated than ever to help elect climate and environmental justice champions. After spending the last year and a half mobilizing to help get Congress to pass the biggest investment in clean energy and environmental justice in history, there is so much energy and excitement to volunteer to help get those climate champions re-elected and elect new candidates who will lead the ongoing fight to ensure everyone in this country has clean air, clean water and clean energy.”

POLL WORKERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE HELPING MAKE OUR ELECTIONS MORE SECURE AND FAIR: On National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, LCV highlighted the voices of two poll workers in the Conservation Voter Movement (CVM) who have joined the hundreds of thousands of people across the country that stepped up to take on one of the most critical parts of the electoral process. Amid the shortage of poll workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, rampant disinformation, and relentless attacks on voting rights since the 2020 election, recruiting poll workers is as  important as ever and helps community members ensure their everyones’ votes are counted. Read our blog post to hear their stories, learn about their critical work protecting our democracy, and how to sign up to be a paid poll worker at Power the Polls

POLL WORKER TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters Voting Rights Manager Brooke Harris said, “[Having] the ability to help people in my city vote, the enormity of that is not lost on me. Because of a lot of the attacks [are] on our election systems and on election administrators, this is crunch time for our democracy. We need poll workers, we need each other to step up to this. And folks who are able to make sure that all of our elections are run and they are run smoothly and fairly and accurately and securely – it’s us, just regular everyday folks that have a Tuesday free and are able to do that that make that happen.”

FILM RELEASE – COMMUNITY POWER MINNESOTA: On Wednesday, the Community Power film series, a civic engagement initiative of The Redford Center in collaboration with LCV and Chispa, released its fifth and final film, Transportation and Happiness. The film is centered around the research of professor of urban and regional planning, Dr. Yingling Fan, whose recent work tracked people’s emotional experiences as they travel and examined how transportation is a crucial contributor to health. The film series showcases local activists, storytellers, and culture-makers as visionary leaders with the collective power to enact lasting environmental change. Watch the latest installment HERE and others in the series HERE

LCV ACTION FUND ENDORSES REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ FOR CONGRESS: On Tuesday, LCV Action Fund, which works to elect pro-environment candidates, announced the endorsement of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz for re-election to the U.S. House representing Florida’s 25th Congressional District. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are thrilled to endorse Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her re-election campaign to continue to represent Florida’s 25th District. She has always been a strong environmental supporter and defender of Florida’s natural resources and coasts. Throughout her time in public office, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has shown that she is committed to prioritizing people over corporate polluters and their profits. Now more than ever, Floridians need representatives who will fight for all communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

FCV TAKE: Florida Conservation Voters Legislative and Political Director Jonathan Webber said, “People in Florida need leaders like Debbie Wasserman Schultz who have a proven record of advocating for our natural resources. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has supported protections for the Everglades, opposed drilling off Florida’s coasts, and co-sponsored legislation to fight ocean acidification and toxic algal blooms while protecting Florida’s reefs and clean water. We are thrilled to see LCV Action Fund support her campaign to represent Florida because we know that she will fight for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate for all communities in Florida with the urgency it requires.” 

CASTNER RANGE CONTINUES TO MAKES STRIDES TOWARDS NATIONAL MONUMENT STATUS: LCV is excited to see that Representative Veronica Escobar met with the Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo to discuss making Castner Range a National Monument. After starting the day together with a flyover and tour of the area, they held a joint press conference with Executive Director of the Frontera Land Alliance Janaé Reneaud Field to amplify the commitment that the community, the congresswoman, and the under secretary all have to protect this crown jewel of West Texas. View the event’s highlights from the Castner Range National Monument coalition, a strong group of local activists who have fought to protect Castner Range for decades, HERE.

CONGRESSWOMAN TAKE: Representative Veronica Escobar said, “In a homecoming, his first visit to the community as the Under Secretary, we have an ambitious shared agenda, but at the top of that list is Castner Range. All of us know that preserving Castner Range and declaring it a national monument has been a priority for our community for 50 years.” 

UNDER SECRETARY TAKE: Under Secretary and El Paso native Gabe Camarillo said, “There is significant community push which I am extremely impressed by. All of the civic organizations that are here today, the community leaders at the state, local, and federal levels as well as all of the interested individuals who have sent letters to make sure that we preserve this area for future generations’ enjoyment and use; I understand that I can try to lend my voice and my support to their efforts.”

PROTECTING THE SOUTHWEST’S MOST HISTORIC LANDSCAPES: In a move praised by a broad coalition of local and national activists and supported by several Native American leaders, other partners, LCV, and Chispa Arizona, on Tuesday Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Great Bend of the Gila Conservation Act. The bill would establish the 329,310-acre Great Bend of the Gila National Conservation Area, the 47,653-acre Paolo Verde National Conservation Area, and approximately 56,985 acres of new wilderness, and notably includes innovative language to enhance tribal governments’ role in the management of these lands.The Great Bend of the Gila is one of the most culturally significant and ecologically fragile landscapes in the southwestern United States. At least 13 federally recognized tribes maintain continued cultural connections to Great Bend, and their efforts to protect the area have already spearheaded the designation of nearby sites included in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more with the Natural Resources Committee factsheet HERE and find resources from local activists HERE.

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa Arizona was quoted in the committee’s statement: “Chispa AZ is happy to support our indigenous relatives who have been calling for the protection of sacred lands such as The Great Bend of the Gila. Although Arizona is lucky to have a great deal of public land, these lands are not necessarily ‘protected’ nor guaranteed to remain ‘public.’ Public lands are important for the preservation of history and critical to understanding the rich diversity of our state’s stories, and the experiences of indigenous, Latinx, and other communities. For some of our families, a connection to public lands is a connection to their heritage and a place to pass down memories and stories. We thank Representative Grijalva for his support and heeding the call of Tribes to not only protect these sacred spaces but to also center indigenous voices in how this land and their legacies are managed in perpetuity. We ask that congress also hear the call of the original caretakers of this land and protect The Great Bend of the Gila.”

CALLING ON EXECUTIVE ACTION TO PROTECT COLORADO’S PUBLIC LANDS: On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Camp Hale in Colorado and met supporters of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act, which would protect over 400,000 acres in Colorado but has stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition.The Secretary joined Senator Michael Bennet, Senator John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse to discuss the importance of these treasured landscapes and call on President Biden to explore options, including executive action, to protect Camp Hale and other public lands in the CORE Act. LCV strongly supports the protection of public lands in Colorado and beyond.

EPA PROPOSES RULE TO FURTHER PROTECT WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES FROM CHEMICAL DISASTERS: Today, EPA proposed revisions to its Risk Management Program rule meant to further safeguard workers and fenceline communities from disasters at facilities using hazardous chemicals. Undercut by the Trump administration, the Biden-Harris EPA is looking to restore previous protections and harness input from workers and those in surrounding communities to improve on those protections. 

PARTNER TAKE: National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform Michele Roberts said, “We are glad to see that EPA is following through on their commitment to reconsider the RMP rule and look forward to reviewing it closely and weighing in to ensure the final rule meets the moment,” said Michele Roberts, National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform. “Preventing chemical disasters is a top priority for EJHA affiliates and we are counting on this administration to deliver a truly protective rule that does so. In this single rule, President Biden & Administrator Regan can live up to their commitments to protect fenceline communities, stand with workers and act on climate change.  We are counting on EPA to have the moral and political courage to keep the promises President Biden has made to our communities.” 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

DIRTY DOZEN IN THE STATES: Today LCV Victory Fund state affiliates announced the first six candidates to the 2022 Dirty Dozen in the States. Modeled after LCV Victory Fund’s federal Dirty Dozen, the Dirty Dozen in the States highlights 12 of the worst candidates on the environment at the state and local level across the country . Members of the Dirty Dozen in the States have consistently sided against the environment and are a danger to our democracy. View the first six of the list HERE.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “State and local leaders are where the rubber meets the road for so many crucial decisions to protect our environment and our democracy. States have made strong progress but we know candidates like these want to drag us backwards. These six are the worst of the worst and defeating them will protect communities across the country.”

STATES WILL DECIDE HOW MUCH INFLATION REDUCTION ACT WILL ACTUALLY CUT EMISSIONS: Now that the Inflation Reduction Act has been signed into law, LCV’s state affiliates across the Conservation Voter Movement are working hard to educate communities about the benefits of the bill. The work of implementing the bill swiftly and justly will largely fall on states, and some of the most exciting portions of the bill could supercharge state climate action, making it critical that state environmental leaders communicate locally about how these federal investments will empower their communities

  • Illinois Environmental Council’s federal policy director Brian Gill spoke on the bill on Chicago Tonight
  • State Representative Austin Davis spoke about the bill at an event organized by Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania
  • California Environmental Voters joined celebrity Jeff Goldblum and others to celebrate the bill 
  • The Environmental League of Massachusetts and U.S. Representative Lori Trahan joined each other for a facebook live event 
  • The New York League of Conservation Voters hosted a press conference with U.S. Representative Paul Tonko 
  • North Carolina League of Conservation Voters hosted a press conference with U.S. Representative Deborah Ross
  • Wisconsin Conservation Voters got creative to thank U.S. Representative Mark Pocan! 
  • On Tuesday, Senator Rosen was joined by Senators Cortez Masto, and Padilla to host the 26th annual Lake Tahoe Summit, where White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy delivered the keynote address and leaders discussed how federal spending bills are game changers for local conservation work 

CHISPA ARIZONA REGISTERS VOTERS WHERE THEY ARE AT: This week, the Chispa Arizona team registered Arizonians to vote at the Greater Good Phx Barbershop and Steele Park in downtown Phoenix. They even registered the community’s Eloteros, also known as street corn vendors, to make sure the community vendors are speaking up. Check out Chispa Arizona’s post HERE

PROTESTING A NEW PIPELINE IN NJ: Last week, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and allies organized outside of the state Department of Environmental Protection during a hearing to protest the expansion of a new natural gas facility in Somerset County. The project would expand an existing compression station to increase capacity in the Transco gas pipeline. Opponents, including Branchburg residents, are against the pipeline because it’s a health hazard to the community. A study adopted by the state board of public utilities states that New Jersey is not likely to face a natural gas shortage over the next decade, giving more power to protesters who say that more gas infrastructure isn’t needed.  NJLCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak says that if Governor Murphy approved the permit, the governor would be going against the executive order he signed last November promising that New Jersey would cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half. Watch the protestors’ message HERE. 

PROTESTER TAKE: Branchburg resident Teresa Callahan said, “I do expect NJDEP and Governor Murphy to act in the public interest. It is not acceptable for NJDEP to gamble with the health of local residents by approving this permit and just evaluating later whether harm has been done to the health of those of us who live near the facility.”

CHISPA ARIZONA VOLUNTEER DAY OF ACTION: This week, Chispa Arizona’s Clean & Green Campaign Manager Sawsan Abdurrahman @sawsanina  led a training for new volunteers, who then hit the streets to survey communities about  Phoenix’s Public Transit system. Check out Chispa Arizona’s post HERE.

YOUTH x ART WITH CHISPA FLORIDA: Earlier this month, Chispa Florida closed out the summer with Climarte, an event encouraging youth to reflect on the arts, our relationship with the environment, and our impact on ecosystems. Chispa LCV thanks Queer Latinx and La Mesa Boricua de Florida for their collaboration and support. Check out Chispa Florida’s post HERE.

CHISPA FLORIDA BUILDS COMMUNITY: This past weekend, Chispa Florida held the first annual People Power & Energy festival at Tampa Spanish SDA Church in collaboration with Lulac West-Tampa Council, Feeding Tampa Bay, Hispanic Federation Florida & Southeast, Food and Water, Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan, and Solar Energy Loan Fund. The event discussed air quality, eligibility for subsidized home weatherization, needs-based solar panel financing, and electric school buses, and provided health resources and 200 food boxes for community members during the event. Check out Chispa Florida’s post HERE.

COMING UP:

ALL OF AUGUST: Poll Worker Recruitment Month

AUGUST 23: Florida Primary Election

SEPTEMBER 13: Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island Primary Elections

SEPTEMBER 20: National Voter Registration Day; Massachusetts Primary Election

SEPTEMBER 24: National Public Lands Day

NOVEMBER 8: Election Day

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