THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – AUGUST 5, 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:

“Put simply, this legislation saves lives, reduces cost, reduces inflation, and the American people are on our side.”

— Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said during LCV’s press conference on Thursday calling on Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

“We have to acknowledge that, particularly those in the Gulf Coast, those in the Arctic, have–in their own words–been thrown under the bus.They feel that.They feel that pain. They feel that trauma. Many of us when we first heard about this, our kind of exuberance and our excitement didn’t take in their pain as a movement. So I think we need to acknowledge that first.”

— Reverend Lennox Yearwood talking about the critical need to pass the Inflation Reduction Act while also calling on people to acknowledge the painful impacts that the compromises in the IRA will have on frontline communities during a panel hosted by Evergreen Action. 

“They’ve got people talking about social justice issues, their love for this place and the region, how it can be painful to see themselves misrepresented – a lot of those voices are in there.”

Caroline Rubens, director of Appalshop, speaking on the damage done to the arts and media collective that was recently flooded in Kentucky. The more than 20,000 items in the Appalshop include records of environmental activism, labor strikes, and more in the form of decades worth of film, oral histories, videotapes of musical performances, photo collections and other records that celebrate Appalachian culture, which has often been misunderstood and badly portrayed. 

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PASS THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT NOW: The League of Conservation Voters, American Federation of Teachers, Americans for Tax Fairness, Building Back Together, Climate Action Campaign, Center for American Progress, and other climate, health, and tax fairness advocacy organizations held a press conference with Senators Chuck Schumer, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar, Ed Markey and 11 others on Thursday afternoon calling on Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. During the conference, Senators highlighted how the climate crisis, high inflation and exorbitant drug prices are affecting their communities and advocated for their colleagues in the Senate to pass this historic and transformational legislation. Watch the full press conference here.

To further urge Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, LCV President Gene Karpinski sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging members to support the bill and unequivocally stating that LCV will score this historic legislation in the 2022 Scorecard. If passed, the Inflation Reduction Act would be the strongest federal climate legislation in U.S. history, investing $369 into climate, justice and jobs. A full list of LCV priorities in the Inflation Reduction Act can be found here

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski wrote, “As our nation and the world are already experiencing the deadly and devastating impacts of the climate crisis, and as we reckon with longstanding environmental and racial injustice and economic inequality, this opportunity for Congress to make transformational progress has never been more urgently needed. The Inflation Reduction Act puts the United States on the path to cutting our carbon pollution by roughly 40% by 2030, while creating good-paying union jobs, cutting costs for families, and investing directly in communities of color too often left behind.” 

WHY’S AN OCTOPUS ON MY LAWN?: This week, LCV commissioned New York artist Justin Brice to install five solar-powered highway message boards along the National Mall calling attention to the urgency of the climate crisis. The public art exhibition, entitled “Why’s an Octopus on my Lawn?” flashed phrases about extreme weather and species extinction and used cautionary aphorisms to mobilize viewers in the fight for climate action. As Congress prepares for a vote on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the installation is also a call for lawmakers to act quickly to provide relief to communities feeling the brunt of the climate crisis. The installation was stationed from Thursday evening through Friday evening. See photos of the installation here.

PROTECTING NEPA: Following a vote by the Senate on Thursday to disapprove of the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s “National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Regulations Revisions,” LCV condemned Senators for undermining the restoration of core environmental provisions. LCV had sent a letter from President Gene Karpinski to Senators on Monday urging them to vote NO on the resolution.

OUR TAKE: Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “This vote was nothing more than a Republican-led stunt to appease their fossil fuel industry allies. A stronger National Environmental Policy Act is key to ensuring people have a say in the projects built in their community. Thorough, community-based environmental reviews are critical to helping eliminate environmental racism and making sure low income communities and communities of color are protected from polluters who want to build dirty, toxic projects in their backyards. Instead of doing the bidding of big polluters, Congress should be focused on tackling the climate crisis and passing bills like the Environmental Justice for All Act that will ensure that every community has access to the clean air, clean water, and healthy environment they need to thrive.”

THREE YEARS OF EJNCF: The Equitable and Just National Climate Platform coalition celebrated its three year anniversary this week by launching the EJNCP Justice40 Resource Guide and Funding Finder. Formed by a coalition of environmental justice and national environmental groups, EJNCP helps develop national climate policy with an eye towards environmental justice and building collaboration. The Resource Guide and Funding Finder aim to give communities and state and local governments easier access to federal Justice40 funds. As EJNCP now enters into its third year, it pledges to use its full power to push for climate action and environmental justice. Read the full list of EJNCP accomplishments and priorities here.

ENDORSING MANDELA BARNES: On Tuesday, LCV Action Fund announced its support of Mandela Barnes for election to the U.S. Senate representing Wisconsin. Barnes has been active in Wisconsin state politics since 2014 when he was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly and quickly cemented himself as a climate champion, earning a 100% lifetime score from the Wisconsin Conservation Voters. After being elected to Lt. Governor in 2018, he served as chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change where he worked to recommend 55 strategies for how the state could tackle climate change.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Mandela Barnes is a true environmental champion with a strong record leading efforts to tackle the climate crisis working alongside farmers, environmental advocates, Indigenous leaders, and business executives in Wisconsin. Mandela Barnes will prioritize the health and well-being of communities instead of polluters and their profits. We are thrilled to support his campaign because we know that he will help lead the ongoing fight to create good-paying, clean energy jobs, and bring environmental justice for all communities.” 

WCV TAKE: Wisconsin Conservation Voters Government Affairs Director Jennifer Giegerich said, “Mandela Barnes has championed climate action his entire career, including leading the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change. Our communities in Wisconsin deserve leaders in Congress who will prioritize all communities, fight for environmental justice, and lead Wisconsin through a just and clean energy transition. Mandela Barnes will  represent our state in the fight for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate for everyone in Wisconsin.”

BACKING JOYCE BEATTY: LCV Action Fund also endorsed environmental champion Joyce Beatty for her reelection campaign to represent Ohio’s 3rd Congressional District this week. Beatty serves as the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and has been a strong leader on environmental justice, climate, and jobs as well as a staunch defender of voting rights and racial justice.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Representative Joyce Beatty has helped lead the fight to tackle the climate crisis and address environmental justice issues that prioritize the health and well-being of communities over polluter profits. We could not be more excited to support her campaign for Congress because we know that Rep. Beatty will bring her extensive experience fighting for our environment to pass strong climate and democracy legislation that will benefit all communities.”

ENDORSING ERIC SORENSEN: In its third endorsement of the week, LCV Action Fund announced its support for Eric Sorensen’s election to the U.S. House representing Illinois’ 17th District. Sorensen worked for decades as a climate communicator in his role as a meteorologist and also started an initiative to make kids in schools feel safer during severe weather events. He also serves on the boards of local organizations that connect vulnerable LGBTQ+ individuals to health services and, if elected, would be the first openly LGBTQ+ person to represent Illinois in Congress.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Now more than ever, it is critical that Congress have strong climate communicators like Eric Sorensen who know how to help people understand the impact the climate crisis has on all communities. We are confident that Eric Sorensen will always stand up for people over corporate polluters and help lead the fight for climate, jobs, and justice.”

IEC TAKE: Illinois Environmental Council General Fund Executive Director Jennifer Walling said, “Eric Sorensen has been a strong advocate for communities in Illinois for decades, and we are thrilled to see LCV Action Fund support his campaign to represent Illinois in Congress. His depth of experience as a scientist and science communicator make him the best candidate to tackle the climate crisis while centering justice as we work to transition to a clean energy economy with good paying, sustainable jobs for people in Illinois and the rest of the country.”

ENDORSING CA CLIMATE CHAMPIONS: LCV Action Fund also endorsed three candidates for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from California this week. Christy Smith (CA-27), Dr. Asif Mahmood (CA-40) and Robert Garcia (CA-42) are all impressive candidates who will fight for immediate action on climate change and environmental justice. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Communities in California know the devastating consequences of inaction on climate change all too well, which is why we are thrilled to support these outstanding candidates for election to the U.S. House. Whether as elected officials or health leaders, Robert Garcia, Dr. Asif Mahmood and Christy Smith have all demonstrated their deep commitment to protecting our environment and communities from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis and environmental injustice. We can count on them to continue to protect Californians’ health and fight for climate, justice and jobs.”

CLIMATE CHAMPIONS WIN IN AZ AND WA: Candidates endorsed by LCV Action Fund in Arizona and Washington celebrated victories in their primary elections on Tuesday night and will advance to the general election in November. In Arizona, LCVAF congratulates Chairman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Representatives Tom O’Halleran (AZ-02), Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), and House candidates Jevin Hodge (AZ-01) and Kirsten Engel (AZ-06) on their victories. In Washington, LCVAF also congratulates Sen. Patty Murray (WA-Sen) and Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01),  Rick Larsen (WA-02), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Kim Schrier (WA-08) who went home victorious. 

OUR TAKE: On Arizona, LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “LCV Action Fund is all in to defend and expand the pro-environment majority in the House, and we are thrilled to congratulate this diverse group of climate champions from Arizona for their primary victories last night. Each of these environmental champions played a pivotal role in ensuring that transformational climate, clean energy, and jobs legislation passed the U.S. House this year and we know they as well as inspiring candidates Jevin Hodge and Kirsten Engel will continue to fight for all communities until these investments are delivered.”

On Washington, Sittenfeld said, “Congratulations to these climate and environmental justice leaders on their victories in Washington State. We are excited to continue to support these environmental champions because we know they will fight to hold big polluters accountable, grow our clean energy economy, and create high-paying jobs.  We look forward to more victories in November and will do everything we can to help make that happen.”

ADAM LAXALT IS BAD FOR NEVADA: After recently naming Adam Laxalt to its Dirty Dozen list of the worst anti-environment candidates, LCV Victory Fund announced it would further target the Nevada senate candidate with $1.5 million in TV opposition ads. Laxalt is a climate denier, has significant financial ties to Big Oil and worked with Trump to perpetuate the Big Lie that continues to threaten our democracy. Watch the ad here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Campaigns Director Joann Saridakis said, “Adam Laxalt’s cozy relationship with oil companies that are jacking up gas prices for hardworking Nevadans should be disqualifying. Nevadans suffering from extreme heat and struggling to make ends meet deserve better than a climate denier who is in bed with corporate polluters and Donald Trump.”

NCL TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg said, “While oil and gas corporations are raking in record-breaking profits, hardworking Nevadans are shouldering the consequences of dirty fossil fuel pollution.Rather than having Nevadans’ backs, Adam Laxalt is in the pocket of big oil. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is fighting for clean energy jobs, conservation of our public lands, and continuing the fight against the climate crisis. She’s delivering real results because she works for our state, not Adam Laxalt’s big oil donors.”

BLAKE MASTERS WON’T STAND UP TO BIG OIL: In response to Republican Blake Masters’ Arizona primary victory, LCV Victory Fund condemned the senate candidate for his radical MAGA beliefs. Masters has consistently questioned the science of climate change and repeated the Big Lie threatening our planet and our democracy. 

OUR TAKE: LCVVF Regional Campaigns Director Eva Estrada said, “Blake Masters has tied himself to Big Oil and MAGA radicals who want to upend our democracy. He continues to question climate science and has repeatedly pushed the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. Thankfully Arizonans have a proven climate leader who has taken on big oil and fought time and again to protect our democracy. LCV Victory Fund has made this race a top priority and will fight like hell to keep Captain Mark Kelly in the Senate.”

CHISPA AZ TAKE: Chispa Arizona State Co-Director Vianey Olivarria said, “We feel the impacts of climate change everyday. Record breaking heat and worsening droughts are affecting millions across our state, especially those who can least afford it. It is frightening to see Blake Masters, a known climate denier and white supremacists, as the GOP nominee.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

AVI KWA AME MUST BECOME A NATIONAL MONUMENT: Members of the coalition to designate Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain) as a national monument in Southern Nevada met with officials from the Biden-Harris administration and members of the Nevada congressional delegation last week to advocate for the protection of the culturally and economically important mountain. Representing Indigenous advocacy groups, local artists, outdoor recreation hobbyists and recreation businesses, the meetings demonstrated the breadth of community support for designating Avi Kwa Ame as a National Monument. 

COALITION TAKE: Executive Director of the Native Voters Alliance Nevada and member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe Taylor Patterson said, “This trip provided a meaningful opportunity to discuss with leaders in Washington what values Avi Kwa Ame holds for the Indigenous people of the area and how we are working hard to protect the land. Indigenous communities have advocated for this land for decades and being able to share that with leaders in DC helped provide a perspective towards the work we’re doing and protection we wish to achieve for Avi Kwa Ame. I look forward to continuing the advocacy for a National Monument and encouraging decision makers at all levels of government to do the right thing and protect Avi Kwa Ame as Nevada’s next National Monument.”

CHISPA FLORIDA AND LULAC NATIONAL: Last week Chispa Florida had the opportunity to join the Nation’s largest and oldest Latino civil rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens, at its first national convention since the pandemic. They showed the resiliency to endure the convention! Chispa Florida was part of the panels “Policy Spotlight: Protecting our Environment & Climate Change Migration” and the “Voting Rights Track: Fighting Deliberate Barriers to Latino Voting Rights”. Check out their post here

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH THE CHISPA FLORIDA TEAM: During the month of July, the Chispa Florida team participated in several Back to School events in the city of Kissimmee and Orlando where they gave away school supplies for this return to school. Chispa Florida took the opportunity to educate the community about our Clean Buses for Healthy Children campaign and the importance of our school counties applying to EPA for funds so that our children have access to electric buses and have clean trips on the way to the school. Check out their post here.

CHISPA ARIZONA NIGHT OUT FOR SAFETY AND LIBERATION FAIR: This past week, Chispa Arizona attended an event hosted by Trans Queer Pueblo, a racial and gender justice organization in Phoenix, Arizona. In community, attendees learned how to plant and create community with one another. Check out their post here.

COMING UP:

AUGUST 9: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin Primary Elections

AUGUST 13: Hawaii Primary Elections

AUGUST 16: Alaska and Wyoming Primary Elections

AUGUST 23: Florida Primary Election

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

SEPTEMBER 20: Massachusetts Primary Election

NOVEMBER 8: Election Day

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