THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – December 2, 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:

“It’s time for the Biden administration to wake up and see the Willow Project for what it is: a choice between a transition to a greener future while protecting all communities or extending our unsurvivable addiction to fossil fuels while perpetrating yet another grave injustice to Indigenous communities.”

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, mayor of Nuiqsut, Alaska, in a recent op-ed published by The Hill, “Don’t Make Indigenous People Pay Willow’s Price.”

“In terms of environmental justice, I think he’s the foremost champion that Virginia has had. He’s led the way and he never slackened in that commitment. He understood the connection between the health of our communities, the quality of people’s lives, and the health of our natural resources.”

Peggy Sanner, Virginia executive director with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, speaking on the impact that the late Representative McEachin had on environmental justice in Virginia.

“Avi Kwa Ame holds deep spiritual and historic significance to the Native people who have stewarded these lands since time immemorial. I am thrilled that President Biden is committed to protecting this sacred place, and honor the many years of work of the Tribes and local community to safeguard the integrity of the historic and cultural landscape and the many objects of significance within it.”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, after President Biden announced plans to protect Avi Kwa Ame, also known as Spirit Mountain. 

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2022 YEAR IN REVIEW – STATE PROGRESS PREPARES NATION FOR MAJOR CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION: In our latest annual Clean Energy For All report, we detail how 30 states made clean energy progress in 2022 led by our state affiliates in the Conservation Voters Movement (CVM). States continued to enact ambitious policies that are driving the U.S. transition to clean energy, and the exciting policies, goals, and protections laid out in this year’s report show that states are seizing this critical moment. In fact, 40% of people in the U.S. now live in a place that is committed to 100% clean energy. Coupled with historic progress that federal leaders secured by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, states are poised to propel climate action further in the years ahead. From promoting offshore wind and increasing solar access, to cutting air pollution and advancing a just transition from coal, to holding utilities accountable and securing unprecedented investments in climate action, this report highlights the bold and necessary steps states took in 2022 to build a clean energy future for everyone.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of State Policy and Advocacy Bill Holland said, “2022 was, without a doubt, the most important year for climate action in U.S. history. Next year, our elected leaders across the country will face the crucial test to not only successfully implement clean energy and transportation funding but continue to pass the necessary laws and protections that will build on this success and ensure communities most impacted by climate pollution share in a cleaner, healthier future.”

ICYMI: LCVEF INVESTED IN INNOVATIVE VISIBILITY CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT IN HISTORICALLY EXCLUDED COMMUNITIES: This past election cycle, LCV Education Fund’s Democracy for All program continued to change the culture of democracy by energizing communities to get involved in the civic engagement process. By investing nearly a million dollars in an innovative, artist- and community-driven nonpartisan Get Out to Vote visibility campaign in key states across the country, LCVEF increased voter turnout in communities historically facing barriers to the ballot box. The effort particularly reached historically excluded voters, especially young voters in communities of color, through vibrant art created by local artists at bus stops, on billboards, lawn signs, and posters distributed throughout neighborhoods. Check out campaign highlights here.

NEW HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP WILL BRING MORE JUST, EQUITABLE, CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: House Democrats this week elected Representative Hakeem Jeffries as leader, Representative Katherine Clark as Democratic whip, and Representative Pete Aguilar as Democratic caucus chair for the next Congress. LCV looks forward to working with the incoming House Democratic leadership team to continue building a more just, equitable clean energy future.

OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Congratulations Leader-designate Jeffries, Whip-designate Clark, Chair-designate Aguilar, and the entire incoming House Democratic leadership team – we can’t wait to get to work with you to continue building a more just, equitable clean energy future. We are forever grateful for Speaker Pelosi’s tireless leadership, including ushering in the biggest investment in climate and environmental justice in history with the Inflation Reduction Act.

As we look forward to the next Congress, we know there is still much work to be done and we are excited to partner with this House Democratic leadership that is more reflective of the racial, gender, and age diversity of our nation as a whole. The contrast between the diverse, pro-environment incoming House Democratic leadership and the likely House Republican leadership could not be more stark.

With Leader Jeffries at the helm and Whip Clark and Chair Aguilar at his side, we are extraordinarily optimistic that House Democrats will continue to fight for popular action on climate and environmental justice and block the extremely slim Republican majority’s efforts to cater to their donors’ dirty pro-polluter agenda.”

LCV & VA LCV STATEMENTS ON THE PASSING OF DONALD MCEACHIN: LCV and Virginia LCV will miss Representative McEachin dearly – we’re deeply saddened by the loss of a champion and friend, and our thoughts are with his family in this challenging time.

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “We are forever grateful for Representative McEachin’s decades of service to his state and country. From his years in the Virginia House of Delegates and state senate to his three terms in Congress, Representative McEachin always prioritized his ‘true passion’ – addressing the climate crisis and protecting our environment. Our nation just lost an unmatched advocate for justice, equity and climate action. Representative McEachin’s list of accomplishments for people and the planet was long. From co-founding Virginia’s bipartisan Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus, to holding leadership positions on numerous House environmental caucuses and committees, to his work with frontline communities on the Environmental Justice for All Act and transformative climate legislation, which ultimately took the shape of the historic Inflation Reduction Act, Representative McEachin was the definition of a climate and environmental justice champion. Above all else, Representative McEachin was a true public servant and a friend to LCV and Virginia LCV. We will miss him dearly.”

VA LCV TAKE: Virginia LCV Executive Director Michael Town said, “Don McEachin was a true environmental champion but, most importantly, he was a friend. He will leave behind a legacy of fighting fiercely for justice and the communities he represented. Don was a true leader, a selfless public servant and will be sorely missed. We are incredibly saddened by this loss and our thoughts are with his wife, Colette, and the McEachin family at this incredibly difficult time.”

JOE GOFFMAN’S EPA NOMINATION ADVANCES: Joe Goffman’s nomination to run EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation advanced on Tuesday, a positive step for environmental protections and public health. 

OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “We are thrilled to see Joe Goffman’s nomination advance. With his extensive expertise and experience with EPA, the Clean Air Act, and the effects of air and climate pollution, he is well-suited to run EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. The office is critical to swiftly and boldly finalize necessary regulatory actions to protect the environment and public health and deliver environmental justice and climate action and implement the historic investments of the Inflation Reduction Act. We encourage Leader Schumer to move his nomination to a full Senate vote as soon as possible.”

PRAISE FOR BIDEN’S PLANS TO DESIGNATE AVI KWA AME NATIONAL MONUMENT: President Biden announced his commitment to protect Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada, and groups are calling for swift action to preserve the entire proposed monument. The area hosts biological, cultural, and recreational resources and is considered sacred by ten Yuman speaking tribes as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute, as it is tied to their creation, history, and well-being. As momentum for more national monument designations grows, our partners in Texas are also advocating for protection of the Castner Range in El Paso, Texas through national monument designation; read a recent op-ed from local leader Pastor Moses Borjas here

HONOR AVI KWA AME COALITION TAKE: Honor Avi Kwa Ame coalition partners said, “We are thrilled and overjoyed by the news of an upcoming announcement by the White House in the near future that the nearly 450,000 acre landscape known as Avi Kwa Ame will be designated as a new national monument. Earlier in November, Tribal leaders and members, monument supporters, and the general public made their voices heard about this culturally and ecologically significant proposal and the need to safeguard these resources for future generations. Over 200 supporters packed a meeting room in Laughlin and were near-unanimous in their support for protecting this special place, based on its spiritual and cultural significance to Tribal nations, its ecological importance for the southwest, and how its breathtaking beauty inspires artists, outdoor recreationalists, & local residents alike. This effort to expand federal protection for Avi Kwa Ame has been years in the making, and finally it is nearing success thanks to the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting locally led efforts across the country to conserve important places.”

NCL TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Avi Kwa Ame Campaign Manager Craig Bakerjian said, “The lands and waters we protect help tell and teach the story of our country. The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument will contribute to a narrative of an America that protects culturally, biologically, historically, and economically important landscapes for our communities, and especially honors the stories of Indigenous communities which have often been denied historical recognition. We thank the Biden administration for building on the promise to conserve and restore our country’s lands and waters to address the climate crisis and Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen and Representatives Titus and Lee for their efforts to help protect Avi Kwa Ame in southern Nevada.”

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “LCV thanks President Biden, Secretary Haaland and advocates from Indigenous, conservation, outdoor recreation, and local communities for their work to protect Avi Kwa Ame and urges the Biden-Harris administration to make this national monument a reality as soon as possible. Avi Kwa Ame is a sacred landscape to tribes in the region as well as habitat for rare and threatened wildlife and plants. A new national monument will strengthen opportunities for the state’s outdoor recreation economy and local gateway communities. LCV appreciates the leadership of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe as well as the efforts of Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and Reps. Dina Titus and Susie Lee, and we hope to celebrate the designation of the entire proposed monument very soon.”

SCOTUS RALLY PREVIEW: On Wednesday, December 7th at 9 am ET, Common Cause is partnering with pro-democracy organizations and LCV to host a “Hands Off Our Vote Rally” as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments for Moore v. Harper, where North Carolina League of Conservation Voters is party to this case. The decision in this case threatens the fundamental checks and balances in this country if politicians are allowed to undermine elections. RSVP here

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

GREENWAVE IN THE STATES: MA, MD, MN, MI: Across the country, we saw a Green Wave in the States, leading to major elections victories around the country. Four states, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan have new trifecta Democratic control led by environmental champions. Champions like Maryland Governor-elect Wes Moore ran on 100% clean electricity and environmental justice and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ran on bold climate and clean water proposals. This is a historic power shift, the new makeup of these states could have important impacts on environmental policy at the very start of 2023 with new legislative sessions.

MILCV TAKE: Michigan LCV Communications Director Nick Dodge said,“Environmental policy has not been really viewed in the lens that it should be. It’s about human health, and so I think that this newly elected legislature – and we’re going to be working with them on this – will address these issues with that frame.These are issues that are everyday issues for people and issues that go across partisan lines. Enacting policies that are protective of our environment and our health [is] good for everyone in Michigan, not just Democrats or Republicans.”

CO TAKES STEPS TOWARDS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Last week, a coalition of environmental organizations welcomed the final recommendations of Colorado’s Environmental Justice Action Task Force, which provide detailed guidance for lawmakers and state agencies to meet Colorado’s environmental justice goals.

OUR TAKE: LCV Director of Civic Engagement Hilda Nucete, who is also co-chair of the Colorado Health Equity Commission and a member of the Task Force, said,“These recommendations are a clear pathway to equitable community participation in the decisions that impact our daily lives. “Community has made it clear that the current participatory processes do not allow for the voices of the most affected to be heard. Even when they speak out, it doesn’t seem to result in any change from the status quo. It’s time for that to stop! It’s essential that these recommendations are adopted by the agencies. The community will be looking to the governor and the General Assembly to build a legacy and implement these recommendations through legislation this session.”

SCOTUS RALLY IN NC: North Carolina’s crucial fight over gerrymandering and voting rights will be in the national spotlight next week as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Moore v. Harper. Next Tuesday, December 6th, in advance of a rally in DC in front of the Supreme Court the following day, the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters is hosting a “People Over Politics” press conference and rally, which will feature respondents in Moore v. Harper along with pro-democracy partners speaking about the case. Contact  Bryan Warner, Common Cause North Carolina, bwarner@commoncause.org to RSVP! 

COMING UP:

DECEMBER 6: First CA Offshore wind lease sale

DECEMBER 6: “People Over Politics” Press Conference and Rally at 11:15 am at Bicentennial Plaza, 1 E. Edenton St., in downtown Raleigh

DECEMBER 7: “Hands Off My Vote” Rally starting at 9 am EST in front of the Supreme Court as Moore v Harper SCOTUS oral arguments begin 

 

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