QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“Places like Germany have banned fracking. So they don’t allow it on their own land, but they don’t mind exploiting low-income communities in the United States.”
— Elida Castillo, the program director of Chispa Texas and one of the activists who traveled to Germany to join activists opposed to fracked gas exported from the United States to Germany in an article in The Nation, “The Export Boom.”
“Environmental justice – particularly as it relates to climate justice – is inherently tied to the fight for human and civil rights. And, as we see more and more wildfires, hurricanes, once-in-a-century storms, floods, and other climate disasters, there is a clear connection between the environmental justice we seek and the immigration justice our allies seek for our communities.”
— Alejandra Ramírez-Zárate, Chispa National Campaigns Manager, describing the links between the climate crisis leading global displacement and the need for immigration reform to be included in the Senate’s version of the Build Back Better Act in a new blog post, “Let’s Build Back Better For All” (more below!).
“There’s pretty significant evidence that this is the direction that voters want utilities to go. There are not very many industries that want to invest billions of dollars in rural Nebraska, and clean energy is one of those industries. I think these elected officials are thinking about that.”
— Chelsea Johnson, Nebraska Conservation Voters deputy director in a Grist article, “In a red-state first, Nebraska plans to decarbonize power sector by mid-century.”
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Grist: This Nevada community is ‘United In Action’ in pursuit of cleaner air
The Wall Street Journal: Biden Commits U.S. Government to Net-Zero Emissions by 2050
E&E News: ‘Potemkin jobs’: GOP has no love for Civilian Climate Corps
Politico: GOP escalates air wars over Biden’s megabill
Telemundo Las Vegas: Dale Play: estas son las actividades navideñas en Las Vegas
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:
Grist (NE): In a red-state first, Nebraska plans to decarbonize power sector by mid-century
WFDD (NC): NC’s top court halts March primary due to remapping suits
The Nation (TX): The Export Boom
Trib Live (PA): Molly Parzen: We must tackle climate change to truly Build Back Better
CalMatters (CA): Redistricting will help determine how California deals with climate crisis
Post Independent (CO): Glenwood Springs Historical Society wins seed grant for Latino Stories project
Politico (NJ): ‘A stab in the back’: Murphy looks to Chemistry Council to regulate Pinelands
The Press of Atlantic City (NJ): Murphy drops Pinelands pick after criticism, may hint at compromise
Detroit Free Press (MI): Opinion: Communities can come together to take action on PFAS
Delaware Currents (NY): $1M quest(ion): Upper Delaware River supporters seek NYS funding
⚡COMMUNITY POWER⚡ IN NEVADA: This week, LCV and Chispa, in collaboration with The Redford Center, announced the launch of the second part of their Community Power short film series entitled, “Community Power Nevada: Unidxs En Acción (United in Action).” The new film highlights how Southern Nevada’s Latinx community is advocating for clean transportation as a key solution in their state for improving air quality and public health outcomes. By using personal air quality tracking technologies and grassroots organizing, Nevada Latinx are building their community’s power to demand their families’ right to breathe clean air. The film highlights a tapestry of intergenerational community members who share how environmental pollution has harmed their health and led them to advocate for environmental and climate justice with Chispa Nevada. The film also chronicles the passage of state legislation, Assembly Bill 349, which will take high-polluting vehicles off the road and, eventually, replace them with cleaner alternatives. Now, local activists are working to ensure the legislation is implemented equitably throughout the community. Watch the film HERE.
CHISPA NEVADA TAKE: Chispa Nevada Program Director Rudy Zamora stated, “Latinx families in Nevada know all too well the harm of living in neighborhoods with the worst air quality, and we’re not waiting for our families to get sicker before demanding action to improve our air quality. We’re grateful to be able to share our stories as we organize our community and push for justice and long-lasting change. Our communities have been left out of environmental narratives for too long.”
CHISPA DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS MANAGER TAKE: Chispa Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro stated in the film, “We did a project with the air quality monitors where we went through different areas in the city — the air quality is usually worse in Latino communities or just communities that don’t have a lot of funding.”
THE REDFORD CENTER TAKE: The Redford Center Executive Director Jill Tidman stated, “In this film, unity and self-determination are on brilliant display at a level rarely seen, or even known, by those in seats of power. It makes essential links between how coordinated individual actions can collectively lead to state-level victories. It shows the massive potential we have to create systems change when groups like Chispa Nevada help communities organize to claim their right to breathe clean air, and win. I find this story deeply, and personally, inspiring.”
EXECUTIVE ORDER ON SUSTAINABILITY: This week, the White House released an executive order and sustainability plan that outlines commitments to tackle the climate crisis and vitalize America’s clean energy industry and manufacturing, create good paying jobs, and advance environmental justice and equity through federal sustainability actions. This announcement, which is a significant step toward confronting the climate crisis and passing the Climate Test, includes important provisions like: a new Buy Clean program, emissions and climate-risk disclosure requirements, the acquisition of only clean light duty vehicles for the federal fleet by 2027 and entirely clean fleet purchases by 2035, a 50% reduction in building emissions by 2032 and 100% by 2045, a preference for sustainable products without toxic PFAS chemicals, and the purchase of 100% clean electricity by 2030. In addition, these ambitious goals will aim to incorporate Justice40 initiatives and environmental justice in decision-making, agency sustainability planning, and climate adaptation and resilience planning. Now, it’s time that the Senate builds on this progress and passes the transformative investments towards clean energy, justice, and jobs in the Build Back Better Act. Read LCV’s full statement HERE and read the White House fact sheet on the executive order HERE.
PRESIDENTIAL TAKE: President Biden’s executive order reads, “In responding to [the climate] crisis, we have a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity to create and sustain jobs, including well-paying union jobs; support a just transition to a more sustainable economy for American workers; strengthen America’s communities; protect public health; and advance environmental justice. As the single largest land owner, energy consumer, and employer in the Nation, the Federal Government can catalyze private sector investment and expand the economy and American industry by transforming how we build, buy, and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings, and other operations to be clean and sustainable… Through a whole-of-government approach, we will demonstrate how innovation and environmental stewardship can protect our planet, safeguard Federal investments against the effects of climate change, respond to the needs of all of America’s communities, and expand American technologies, industries, and jobs.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate Sara Fontes stated, “We commend the Biden administration for leveraging the power of the federal government to spur the clean energy economy, grow clean manufacturing jobs here in the United States, protect public health by transitioning away from toxic PFAS chemicals, and advance environmental justice and equity. Today’s executive order and plan begin to deliver on the administration’s commitment to revitalize the federal government’s sustainability efforts. It is imperative that Congress passes the Build Back Better Act this year and federal appropriations bills before the continuing resolution expires in February, to ensure that the federal government has the additional funding necessary to deliver on this ambitious plan.”
LET’S BUILD BACK BETTER FOR ALL: This week, Chispa released a new blog post from Chispa National Campaigns Manager Alejandra Ramírez-Zárate, “Let’s Build Back Better For All,” highlighting how the climate crisis is the leading catalyst forcing families and communities from their homes across the globe — nearly three times more than conflict and nine times more than persecution. We cannot only build back better for some in this country — the provisions in the Build Back Better Act will provide much-needed relief to immigrant communities, including work permits, and must remain in the final passage of the bill.
CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Campaigns Manager Alejandra Ramírez-Zárate wrote, “Getting our respective priorities into the final Build Back Better Act package, legislation, or other legislative vehicles should not be a competition for who gets the best or biggest piece of the pie. Justice for our communities is an and instead of an or; we need both a pathway to citizenship and bold investment in immediate climate action to ensure our future generations can benefit from a safer, more equitable country – particularly for the Latinx community as we face xenophobic narrative and policies, underrepresentation in government and in the media (and overrepresentation of harmful stereotypes), and targeted disinformation in both English and Spanish. This is a historic opportunity to stand together and ensure that pandemic rebuilding efforts and revisioning of a more just future include relief for our communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 due to decades of disinvestment, discriminatory practices, higher pollution burdens, inequitable access to healthcare, and so much more.”
CONSUMER PRICE INDEX UPDATE: As our country is still reeling from supply chain disruptions and rising prices from the last year, people across the country are feeling the economic impacts of inflation everyday. The Build Back Better Act will not add to inflation and actually benefit communities and lower inflation by cutting costs for the middle class and lowering the cost of health care, child care education, housing, and more, while investing in a more resilient, clean energy infrastructure and tackling the climate crisis. In addition, by investing in infrastructure, ports, and domestic manufacturing, the Build Back Better Act and the bipartisan infrastructure package will help ease the pressure on the supply chains, which is increasing inflation and prices. Furthermore, the Build Back Better Act will save people money — investments in clean energy and energy efficiency will save households an estimated $500 per year in energy costs. See more from our factsheet HERE on the provisions that the Senate must keep in their passage of the Build Back Better Act.
PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY PASSES THE HOUSE: This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5314, The Protecting Our Democracy Act, which aims to prevent corruption, abuse of power, and executive overreach. Many actions taken by Trump during his administration unveiled major gaps in measures meant to protect our democracy by ensuring government officials work for the interests of the people they serve. As Republicans continue to play by party lines, the Senate must now use every resource at their disposal to eliminate the filibuster and pass legislation that protects our democracy from suppression at the ballot box and overreach in the White House.
SPEAKER TAKE: Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Disturbingly, the last administration saw our democracy in crisis with a rogue president who trampled over the guardrails protecting our Republic. Now, Congress has the solemn responsibility and opportunity to safeguard our democracy, ensuring that past abuses can never be perpetrated by any president of any party.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner stated, “In an era of unprecedented threats to our constitutional system, House Democrats have once again risen to the occasion by passing vital democracy legislation in the face of overwhelming Republican obstruction. By shoring up the rule of law and the integrity of our institutions, fighting corruption and abuse of power, and strengthening oversight of the executive branch, the Protecting Our Democracy Act will go a long way toward ensuring our democracy works for the people, including low-income communities and communities of color that have been systematically excluded from the political process, not wealthy polluters or other corrupting influences.
“As we approach the first anniversary of the violent January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, the need to protect our democracy, and to ensure officials, including the president, are held accountable to the people and the rule of law, has never been more important. Now that the House has done its job, it is time for the Senate to immediately eliminate the filibuster and send the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act to President Biden’s desk.”
WHITE HOUSE DEMOCRACY SUMMIT: While our democracy is at stake with 19 states enacting 33 laws that make it harder for people to vote just this year, and critical voting rights legislation stalled in the Senate, the White House hosted a summit of democracies this week. As noted above, the Senate must now use every resource at their disposal to eliminate the filibuster and pass legislation that protects our democracy, including the Protecting Our Democracy Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
CLIMATE EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON EXTREME WEATHER: On Thursday, climate action organizers from New Hampshire, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania hosted a virtual event with Representative Chris Pappas, NOAA’s Communication Division Chief for the Climate Program Office David Herring, and Dr. Abigail Abrash Walton to review climate-fueled extreme weather disasters of 2021. Speakers discussed how the climate crisis is exacerbating devastating extreme weather events across the country like the ones we’ve seen just this year with the Texas freeze, the Pacific Northwest heatwave, the Western wildfires, the Southwestern drought, the Southern hurricanes, and flooding in the Northeast. The science is clear — we don’t have time to wait to take action on the climate crisis, especially in the communities of color and communities with low wealth who face the consequences of climate inaction every day. Watch a recording of the event HERE.
REP. PAPPAS TAKE: Representative Pappas stated, “The challenges before us are unprecedented — it’s going to require an all hands on deck effort, as well as the political courage to stand up to the entrenched interests that have for too long put their own profits over the health and well-being of our communities and our planet. This is really our time — this is the last, best opportunity we have to really make the kind of meaningful impact we need to be making.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
400K DOORS KNOCKED FOR CLIMATE ACTION: This week, LCV’s visibility and mobilization field program continues to show that communities across the country want climate action now, and hit a major milestone, knocking on over 409,000 doors across 12 states and D.C. talking with people about the Build Back Better Act and its critical climate provisions! Through our canvassing, we’ve recruited over 24,000 people to take action, over 16,000 households have a sign in their yard, and over 17,000 businesses are displaying support. Every day we hear from community members who would like to see tangible steps taken toward mitigating climate change — over 4,900 people we’ve talked to have called their member of Congress in favor of the Build Back Better Act.
🎉HUGE VICTORY🎉: NEBRASKA IS FIRST RED STATE TO COMMIT TO DECARBONIZATION, SETS ON PATH TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY!!: This week, the largest utility in Nebraska, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 in a 9-2 vote by the Board of Directors. Nebraska is the only state in the country with entirely publicly-owned power and it’s clear that people everywhere want clean energy, from red communities to blue communities, rural and urban, across the nation. This victory is due to years of strategic power building by Nebraska Conservation Voters (NECV) to grow support for carbon-free energy in the state. NECV’s efforts to elect and cultivate clean energy champions on Nebraska’s utility boards were critical to securing decarbonization commitments from Nebraska’s three major utilities which together serve over 95% of the state. NECV passed decarbonization commitments through the other two major utilities, Omaha Public Power District and Lincoln Electric System, in 2019 and 2020.
STATE SENATOR BOSTAR TAKE: Nebraska State Senator and Nebraska Conservation Voters Executive Director Eliot Bostar stated, “This is a historic day for every single Nebraskan. Today’s vote highlights what we have known for years – that Nebraskans from every corner of our state support investing in clean energy and reducing pollution because it makes good environmental and economic sense.”
NECV TAKE: Nebraska Conservation Voters Deputy Director Chelsea Johnson said, “NPPD’s vote is pro-growth, pro-economic development, pro-jobs, pro-opportunity, and pro-clean air and water. Setting a decarbonization goal signals commitment to all of these principles, so it makes sense that the NPPD Board adopted this policy and that Nebraskans are behind them. In recent election cycles, voters have elected new NPPD Board members who more closely reflect their values. These directors campaigned on clean energy development, the importance of staying abreast of the technological shifts happening in the electricity sector, and making sure that we can continue to provide affordable and reliable energy.”
VIRGINIA JOINS CLEAN TRUCKS AGREEMENT: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed onto the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, joining 15 other states to set voluntary targets to electrify all new vehicles in those categories by 2050. Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for 29% of the state’s emissions.
PROTECTING VIRGINIA’S COASTS: Virginia released its first Coastal Resilience Master Plan to respond to the climate change impacts that increasingly threaten the state’s coastal communities. Virginia’s Hampton Roads region is among the most vulnerable communities for sea level rise in the nation. The plan examines future scenarios and prioritizes resiliency projects, lays out funding strategies and details plans for coordination between federal, state and local governments.
GERRYMANDERED REDISTRICTING IN NORTH CAROLINA POSTPONED: Yesterday, North Carolina’s state Supreme Court postponed the March primary amidst multiple lawsuits regarding North Carolina’s remapping of districts. The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters filed a lawsuit last week claiming that “unconstitutional partisan and racial gerrymandering” across North Carolina violates the state constitution, including its free elections clause, equal protection clause, and free speech and free assembly clauses. In addition, the lawsuit argues that the House and Senate maps in North Carolina make deliberate grouping choices and excessively cross counties in order to leverage outcomes.
NCLCV TAKE: Last week, NCLCV Executive Director Carrie Clark stated, “There is more work ahead to get these maps overturned and fair maps adopted, and we will continue to fight to protect our democracy…The people of North Carolina deserve fair maps, and we will continue our fight to protect the voting rights of millions of North Carolina citizens.”
WE MUST TACKLE THE CLIMATE CRISIS TO BUILD BACK BETTER: This week, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Interim Executive Director Molly Parzen wrote an opinion piece in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review on the importance of passing the Build Back Better Act to combat the climate crisis. The science is clear — we can’t wait to take action, and the overwhelmingly popular Build Back Better Act will help put our country on track to save customers $500 a year on energy bills, cut climate pollution in half by 2030, invest directly in historically under-resourced communities and create good-paying union jobs.
PUBLIC INPUT CRITICAL FOR REDISTRICTING IN CALIFORNIA: This week, California Environmental Voters (CEV) CEO Mary Creasman wrote an opinion piece about the importance of public participation in California’s current redistricting process. Creasman argues that the decisions made now about legislative representation will have long-term impacts on how the state responds to the climate crisis and other urgent issues. California is one of only a handful of states that draw district lines through a non-partisan citizens commission rather than through the legislature, which means Californians have a critical opportunity to give input in the process.
CEV TAKE: California Environmental Voters CEO Mary Creasman said, “This is not about who wins or loses elections. This is about drawing district lines that reflect the unique needs, struggles and values of each California community to ensure their representation also reflects them. And the climate crisis and compounding threats like environmental racism will impact the lives of Californians more than any other issue in the next decade.”
DECEMBER 31 — End of 2021
FEBRUARY 18 — Government Funding Expires