THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – January 20, 2023

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“Their boats pass by our communities every day. The erosion that we see from these boats is devastating to the property owners and to our community. We have members of our association that live just a few miles from the flare… as disturbing as it is, it’s not communicated to the people in this building.”

Jennifer Hilliard from the Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association on what methane gas expansion is like for people in frontline communities. She is one of many frontline leaders who is telling FERC to stop approving liquid natural gas exports. 

“It was hard to watch her struggle to breathe.” 

Eunice Brower, the treasurer of Nuiqsut, the village closest to ConocoPhillips’ dirty and dangerous proposed Willow project. Eunice is fighting the Willow Project because she remembers when her daughter, Charity, was hospitalized as a toddler when an oil rig exploded near her hometown in 2012.

“This tells us that the ecosystem matters in New York City, and if it matters here, it probably matters everywhere else.”

Dandan Wei, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia and lead author of a recent study which found that on many summer days, trees, shrubs, and grasses across the New York metro area soak up as much carbon dioxide as is generated by all cars, buses, and trucks, highlighting the crucial links between public health, climate change, and urban greenspace.

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LCV AND CHISPA ARIZONA STATEMENTS ON TEN WEST LINK TRANSMISSION LINE GROUNDBREAKING: On Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Secretary Deb Haaland, and White House Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi broke ground at the Ten West Link transmission line in Arizona. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “This is what clean energy independence looks like. Arizonans and Californians can now look forward to an improved energy grid fueled by more U.S.-made clean, affordable solar and wind energy in the near future. Thanks to the Biden-Harris administration and champions in Congress, the Ten West groundbreaking is only the beginning of many job-creating affordable clean energy projects soon to pop up around the country as the new climate plan rolls out. These projects will save families money and build a healthier future for our children. We can’t wait to see benefits for communities across the country as more of the administration’s climate investments translate into real-world projects.”

CHISPA AZ TAKE: Chispa Arizona State Director Vianey Olivarria said, “Arizonans from every corner of our state deserve clean energy powering their communities. Projects like Ten West can ensure our state is on the road to deliver 100% clean energy, which we have been advocating for years. Our federal leaders showed their commitment to climate action but we need Arizona’s leaders to follow their lead and commit our state to 100% clean electricity so every Arizonan can breathe cleaner air and live a healthier life.”

CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE IS CRUCIAL FOR FARM BILL: Coming in at over 11% of our greenhouse gas emissions, the agriculture sector is a significant contributor to climate change, but our farmers and ranchers can also be a critical piece of solving the climate crisis. As Farm Bill talks get underway, recent polling has found that nearly 90% of Americans believe that it’s “important to update the agricultural system to encourage sustainable farming practices that support clean water and healthy, productive soil.” 

BITTMAN AND STERN TAKE:  In a recent op-ed, Mark Bittman and Caryl M. Stern talk about the food industry’s unique position to make progress at the intersections of food, equity, climate, and sustainability, and how the general public has a growing appetite for progress: “It is a sign of hope that in these profoundly divided times, something as essential as food can unite Americans across all divides. Policymakers, farmers, and food industry leaders should listen to—and learn from—consumers who want to see change. We should seize this opportunity for people and political parties to unite and break more sustainable bread together, for the common good of our communities and the planet.”

LCV JOINS CALL FOR A CODIFIED AND STRONGER OCE: This week, LCV joined 25 plus groups in a letter to members of Congress voicing strong opposition to the recently passed provisions in the House rules package that attempt to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics. The groups instead urge Congress to codify the OCE into law, as well as give it subpoena authority. Read the full letter here. 

LETTER TAKE: In the letter, groups said: “the OCE increases public confidence in the House of Representatives and its members. To ensure it can fully continue to root out misconduct, the OCE should be codified into law and given full subpoena authority. The existence of the OCE is one of the key safeguards against corruption in the House of Representatives. Instead of weakening the OCE, we urge you to strengthen this important independent watchdog to ensure that the public has faith and confidence that Congress is working in the public interest.”


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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

BIG CLEAN ENERGY COMMITMENTS IN MN: This week, Democrats in Minnesota pledged to use their majorities in the state legislature to combat the climate crisis, including by committing the state to 100% clean electricity by 2040. States like Minnesota that embrace clean energy can ultimately benefit the most from the jobs and investments spurred by the Inflation Reduction Act. The 100% clean energy bill  passed out of its first committee and could get a floor vote in the House as early as next week. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of State Policy and Advocacy Bill Holland said, “Fast legislative action on 100% clean energy could position Minnesota to quickly reap the lower costs and good jobs from the Biden Administration’s climate plan. That contrasts with states like Ohio, where legislators once again did the bidding of fossil fuel companies to gut Ohio’s ability to invest in clean energy jobs.”

MARYLAND GOVERNOR CHARGES AHEAD ON CLIMATE: Newly-elected Maryland Governor Wes Moore has already established climate as a top priority. In his inaugural speech yesterday, Moore made numerous climate commitments, including announcing his goal to achieve 100 percent clean energy in Maryland by 2035.

GOV. MOORE TAKE: Maryland Governor Wes Moore said, “We will protect our jewel, the Chesapeake Bay, and address the toxic air pollution that chokes our cities. And we will put Maryland on track to generate 100 percent clean energy by 2035 — creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

FIRST STEP TOWARD FLOATING OFFSHORE WIND IN THE US: Plans to build a floating offshore wind array – one of the first of its kind – in the Gulf of Maine are moving forward after clearing the first step of approval by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Thursday. The proposed project would have 10-12 turbines and would be used for research by the University of Maine.

NEW ENGLAND FOR OFFSHORE WIND TAKE: New England for Offshore Wind, a coalition of organizations in the region including LCV state affiliates, tweeted, “NE4OSW is excited to see the proposed #Maine #OffshoreWind Research Array move to the next step in @BOEM’s application process. This project is slated to provide critical insights for the advancement of floating wind technologies.”

GOVERNORS MAKE CLIMATE A PRIORITY: Governors around the country continue to announce plans to go big on climate. This week, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced a goal to codify the state’s zero emissions commitment into law during her state of the state address. Earlier this month, Vermont governor Phil Scott spoke in depth about the state’s climate progress and the work still to do during his inaugural speech.

CVNM TAKE: Conservation Voters New Mexico executive director Demis Foster said, “Climate change is front and center for New Mexico families, and it is essential that our state leaders do all they can to achieve a just economic transition to a diversified renewable energy economy. New Mexico’s communities are already up for the challenge: we just need our state legislature to follow suit. CVNM applauds the Governor’s unwavering commitment to addressing climate change while honoring New Mexico’s unique quality of life and cultural traditions.”

GOV. SCOTT TAKE: Vermont governor Phil Scott said, “Addressing climate change is part of this work…This is an area where we share goals but may disagree on how to get there. Still, we’ve proven we can work together, devoting nearly a quarter-billion-dollars over the last two years. This is funding good work to reduce emissions, revitalize old homes, lower energy bills, improve health, and protect communities from flooding.”

DEFENDING CLEAN CARS IN VIRGINIA: Despite numerous attacks on climate progress in Virginia, climate champions in the state legislature continue to defend important policies like the Clean Cars Standard. On Tuesday, the Virginia Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources defeated multiple attempts to undermine the Clean Cars legislation passed in 2021 which requires increasing sales of low-emission and electric vehicles in the state.

VALCV TAKE: Virginia League of Conservation Voters executive director Michael Town said, “Today, lawmakers rightly rejected attacks on our state’s climate progress by defeating multiple Governor Youngkin-led efforts to repeal Virginia’s Clean Cars Standard, which over time will lead to cleaner air and improved health outcomes for all Virginians while bringing in-demand clean electric vehicles and investment to our state. Virginians shouldn’t have to choose between breathing clean air and getting from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ – Virginia’s Clean Cars Standard ensures that they don’t have to and reflects exactly where the automotive industry is already headed. We urge our champions in the Senate to continue rejecting Governor Youngkin’s regressive attacks on climate progress and doing the right thing for clean air and a sustainable future.”

CHISPA MARYLAND GETS TO KNOW THE COMMUNITY: Chispa Maryland had a successful day out in Baltimore City meeting and getting to know the community. Chispa Maryland shared information about their Electric School Bus campaign and ways for community members to get involved. Check out photos from their day here.

COMING UP:

JANUARY 21: Citizens United v FEC Anniversary 

MONTH OF FEBRUARY: Black History Month

 

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