THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – January 13, 2023

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:

“That rain was really, really cold, bone-chilling rain. I couldn’t find nowhere to hide. I stayed under a tree, but it just kept pounding me.”

Cy Brown, a houseless community member in San Francisco, who suffered from pneumonia and frostbite on his toes during the climate change-fueled winter storms that hit Northern California. Communities of color and unhoused people disproportionately suffer from extreme weather and climate change.

“PERC is running the largest national anti-electrification campaign I’ve encountered anywhere in the United States. Propane customers, whether they’re buying fuel for their home heating or for their grill, they’re unwittingly funding PERC’s anti-climate agenda.”

Charlie Spatz, a researcher at the Energy and Policy Institute, on the Propane Education and Research Council’s (PERC) million dollar influencer campaign that aims to thwart efforts to move heating away from dirty oil and gas and toward electricity made from wind, solar and other cleaner sources. PERC plans to spend $13 million on its anti-electrification campaign, including $600,000 on “influencers,” to mislead the public into believing that electric heat pumps are not affordable and effective.

“To be very clear, this announcement would not have been possible if it were not for the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which delivered tax incentives for American solar manufacturers at every stage of the production supply chain.”

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock on the recently announced $2.5 billion investment to expand solar manufacturing in Dalton, Georgia and to build an additional plant in northwest Atlanta. The investment not only plans to bring 2,500 jobs to Georgia, but represents the largest single investment in solar manufacturing in the U.S. 

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RALLY TO STOP WILLOW: On Tuesday, environmental groups, advocates, and activists rallied at Lafayette Square and delivered over 100,000 comments of concern to the White House in opposition to ConocoPhillips’ dirty and dangerous Willow project. Currently under review by President Biden, the massive oil and gas project in America’s Western Arctic would emit 287 million metric tons of carbon pollution, equivalent to emissions produced by 76 coal plants running for a year. A recent updated estimate of the social cost of carbon from the EPA found that the social cost of Willow’s carbon emissions would be an astonishing $79 billion or more. See pictures from the rally here.

LETTER: LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS OPPOSE HOUSE RULES PACKAGE: Ahead of the vote on the House Rules Package for the 118th Congress put forward by the narrow Republican majority, LCV and other leading environmental groups sent a letter opposing the package to the full House of Representatives. LCV will strongly consider including votes on the Rules Package in the 2023 National Environmental Scorecard. Read an excerpt from the letter below and the full letter here.

ENVIRO GROUPS TAKE: In the letter, environmental groups stated: “This Rules Package goes far beyond just organizing the first session of the 118th House of Representatives: it lays the groundwork for draconian cuts to spending on critical environmental and public health programs, it makes it easier to give away the nation’s public lands at significant cost to the American public, and it guts the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics at a time when it is sorely needed.”

KEVIN MCCARTHY’S CHAOTIC ELECTION TO HOUSE SPEAKER: Late last Friday, the extremely slim House Republican majority finally elected Kevin McCarthy to serve as speaker of the House during the 118th Congress. Speaker McCarthy has an abysmal 4% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard – a stark contrast to Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ 96% score. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The absurdly chaotic speakership election process and the concessions made to the most extreme members of the MAGA Republican caucus are a clear indication that the new House majority is ill-equipped to lead. In addition, Kevin McCarthy is one of the most anti-environment, pro-polluter members of Congress, and House Republicans’ election of him as speaker further demonstrates how out of step the GOP is with the majority of voters who support climate action and affordable clean energy. In stark contrast, House Democrats are united and eager to fight for popular action on climate, environmental justice, democracy and more and to block the House Republicans’ dirty pro-polluter agenda.”

LIZ KLEIN IS A GREAT CHOICE TO LEAD BOEM: This week, LCV is glad to see the Biden administration’s announcement that Liz Klein, a senior adviser to Secretary Deb Haaland and strong supporter of renewable energy, will fill the big shoes left by outgoing Amanda Lefton as director of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Liz Klein, who oversaw the creation of the offshore wind program during the Obama administration and understands oil and gas drilling’s impacts, is an excellent choice to lead BOEM as we transition to clean energy.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

BOLD CLIMATE COMMITMENTS FOR NY: During her State of the State Address Monday, New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul announced a number of crucial climate commitments for the state. Among other important actions, New York will take major steps toward building electrification and energy affordability, including plans to ban gas heating in new construction buildings over the next several years.

OUR TAKE: New York LCV President Julie Tighe said, “In a historic State of the State address – during this unseasonably warm winter – Governor Hochul met the environmental moment. From proposing a transition to zero-emissions buildings to mandating our State Parks run on 100% clean-energy, from reducing waste in our landfills to removing lead and “forever chemicals” from our drinking water…and from proposing transit-oriented development for new housing units to increasing funding for mass transit, the governor made clear that protecting our environment and achieving the state’s climate goals is a top priority for her administration. And with a focus on environmental justice, she’s setting the state on a course for a clean energy economy that works for everyone no matter their zip code. We applaud Governor Hochul for her continued leadership on the environment and we are excited to get to work to help achieve these policies and more during the 2023 legislative session.”

IL TAKES BIG STEP TO DEFEND CLEAN ENERGY PROGRESS: Illinois set an ambitious clean energy agenda in 2021 when Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill requiring the state to replace coal- and gas-fired electric generation with wind and solar over the next two decades. On Tuesday night, Democratic lawmakers took a necessary step to ensure the state can meet that goal and passed legislation to prevent counties from enacting local zoning regulations that block wind and solar development. 

IEC TAKE: Illinois Environmental Council Executive Director Jen Walling said, “We’ve seen an uptick in radical misinformation campaigns taking root here in Illinois that aim to obstruct the progress we have made … by banning local wind and solar clean energy projects. Unaddressed, these out-of-state fearmongers will compromise the state’s ability to meet our climate goals and realize the financial savings, job creation, economic development and grid reliability.”

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR CHARGES AHEAD ON CLIMATE: Newly-elected Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey is already establishing climate as a top priority. In an interview before taking office, Healey said that she plans to build out Massachusetts’ clean energy sector to create a “climate corridor,” and immediately upon taking office she signed her first executive order to establish a new state Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and a climate chief position in her cabinet.

GOV. HEALEY TAKE: Massachusetts governor Maura Healey said, “The climate crisis is Massachusetts’ greatest challenge, but there is enormous opportunity in our response. I’m filing this Executive Order today, on the first full day of the Healey-Driscoll Administration, because we have no time to delay. It’s essential that we begin coordinating our climate policy across all state agencies and all communities in Massachusetts so that we can make the progress we so urgently need and drive our clean energy economy.”

CHISPA FLORIDA WANTS DEMOCRACY FOR ALL: This week, Chispa Florida joined the Florida Rights Restoration Osceola Chapter meeting with Latino Justice, Florida Rising, and For Our Future Florida. The organizations collaborated on the strategy for their upcoming meeting with the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners on January 23, where they plan to request to be included in the tenant project of Osceola County. Learn more here.

CHISPA ARIZONA IS READY FOR EQUITABLE POLICIES THIS YEAR: Staff and members of the Chispa Arizona team joined a visit to the Arizona House of Representatives to talk to Representative Oscar De Los Santos, Representative Mariana Sandoval, Representative-Elect Analise Ortiz, and Senator Elect Anna Hernandez. Representatives had until yesterday to submit as many bills to be heard on the House floor in 2023. Check out more here.

COMING UP:

JANUARY 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

JANUARY 21: Citizens United v FEC Anniversary 

MONTH OF FEBRUARY: Black History Month

 

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