THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JULY 1, 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:

“The subject matter of the regulation here makes the Court’s intervention all the more troubling. Whatever else this Court may know about, it does not have a clue about how to address climate change. And let’s say the obvious: The stakes here are high. Yet the Court today prevents congressionally authorized agency action to curb power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The Court appoints itself—instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decision maker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening. Respectfully, I dissent.”

— Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan stated in her powerful dissent fromThursday’s West Virginia v. EPA decision.

“Clearly, this court is not living in today’s world…One of the reasons you have an EPA is that they can do the tough job of looking at the law, looking at the science and understanding how to get rid of pollution. If they don’t do that, we’re going to be left to go back to Congress. And to be honest, particularly the Senate, has not shown an interest in addressing the realities of climate change. This is a pressing, immediate problem that we need to address.”

— LCV Board Chair and former EPA administrator Carol M. Browner said in an interview with CNN regarding SCOTUS’ devastating West Virginia v. EPA decision.

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States—but we’ve made it.”

— Supreme Court Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson said of her appointment to the Supreme Court during a White House ceremony in April. She made history on Thursday as the first Black woman to be sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice.

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WEST VIRGINIA V EPA: The extremist majority on the Supreme Court of the United States delivered another egregious decision today, this one narrowing the EPA’s options to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants while simultaneously affirming EPA’s authority to do so – yet another example of the captured Court putting the priorities of coal companies and its right-wing allies over the needs of the people and planet. This decision makes the need to expand and rebalance the Court, pass the reconciliation climate bill to protect public health, take executive actions to reduce climate and other pollution, and fill the 100+ vacancies on lower courts with pro-environment judges even more pressing. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, “Today’s decision is another loss for the health of our children and communities. 

It will exacerbate the plight of communities of color historically overburdened by pollution and will destabilize the future of clean energy and the economic promise it holds. It also sets a dangerous precedent by undermining the authority of all federal agencies to establish the strongest, most cost effective, pollution standards to protect people and the environment from dangerous pollution and other threats. The majority ignores that today’s electricity generation is significantly different from the days of Thomas Edison.  We are using more renewables and polluting less. The majority ignores the science of climate change. It significantly limits EPA’s responsibility to ensure clean air.

Reforms are needed now more than ever, from rebalancing and expanding the Supreme Court to end special interest control over the courts to Congress finally taking action to tackle the climate crisis and energy security by passing the $555 billion for investments in climate, jobs, and justice that will lower costs for families and protect our health and environment. We cannot afford to wait. It’s time to act on the climate crisis.”  

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Director of Policy and Advocacy Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate said, “This decision sacrifices the health and livelihood of low-income people of color who are bearing the brunt of climate change and are often exposed to higher levels of air pollution, toxic hazards, and other contaminants. Environmental justice is a civil rights issue. With every breath we take, children and families of color are dying in polluted neighborhoods. Our communities will continue to fight back on this and other egregious attacks on our civil and human rights, including our right to clean air.”

NO NEW LEASING IN THE FIVE-YEAR OFFSHORE DRILLING PLAN: Ahead of the Interior Department’s release of its draft five year offshore drilling plan, a coalition of senators–led by Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Feinstein (D-CA), and Merkley (D-OR)–sent a letter to Secretary Deb Haaland urging the Department to end new oil and gas leasing up and down our coasts to protect frontline communities. These leases would do nothing to drive down the cost of gas at the pump today, but would instead jeopardize the economies and public health of coastal communities by polluting our land, air and waters. 

COALITION TAKE: Senators in the letter wrote, “We urge you to protect our coastal communities, economies, ecosystems, and climate by including no new leasing across all planning areas in any proposed or final five-year OCS oil and gas leasing program. As Senators representing coastal states, we know that offshore drilling is inherently a risk-reward proposition, with our coastal communities shouldering the risk and oil companies reaping the rewards. History shows us that it is not a question of if an oil spill occurs, but when.”

SWEARING IN KBJ: Justice Kentanji Brown Jackson’s swearing into the Supreme Court on Thursday marked a historic moment in our nation’s history. As the first Black woman and first former public defender to serve on the nation’s highest court, she brings a commitment to standing with the interests of the people, not polluters.

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic appointment to the Supreme Court is especially critical as we’ve witnessed the lengths extremist Justices on this captured Court are willing to go to turn back the clock on fundamental protections for people across the nation, and to curtail the EPA’s authority to fight climate change. Justice Jackson being the first Black woman and first former public defender to serve on the Supreme Court is a crucial step towards a judiciary that looks like America and works for the people, not just the polluters and other special interests. Environmental laws are only as strong as the judges who enforce them, and we are confident that Justice Jackson will stand up for what’s right.”

STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Following the extremist Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the legal right to abortion, LCV joined other environmental groups in standing in solidarity with the movement for reproductive rights, health and justice. LCV is joined by 10 other organizations including Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. The joint statement follows a response delivered by LCV President Gene Karpinski and Board Chair Carol M. Browner on Friday condemning the decision and calling for the expansion of the Supreme Court.

OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: The joint statement reads, “As advocates dedicated to a safe and just future for all, we share the outrage at Friday’s devastating Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Court’s ruling overturns decades of precedent, goes against the values held by the vast majority of Americans, and jeopardizes the health and safety of women and people who may become pregnant by cutting off access to reproductive care. 

Moreover, we know that the historically excluded communities who have struggled to access safe abortions and reproductive healthcare even with Roe v. Wade on the books are the same communities who have faced decades of environmental injustices. These communities will face the most adverse impacts from this ruling, heightening the injustice of the decision the Court just passed down. 

All people deserve access to safe abortions. We refuse to go backwards and will not stop fighting for what is right.”

CO AND IL PRIMARIES: LCV Action Fund congratulated U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL-Sen), Representatives Sean Casten (IL-06), Bill Foster (IL-11), Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and U.S. House candidates Delia Ramirez (IL-03) and Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) on their victories in their respective Democratic primary elections in Illinois. Additionally, LCV Action Fund congratulated U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (CO-Sen), Representatives Diana DeGette (CO-01), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Jason Crow (CO-06), Brittany Pettersen (CO-07), and Dr.Yadira Caraveo (CO-08) on their victories in their respective Democratic primary elections in Colorado.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Congratulations to these climate and environmental justice leaders on their victories tonight. Each of these candidates for Congress have and will continue to fight for the health and well-being of communities in Illinois and Colorado, prioritize people over profits, and build our clean energy economy with millions of good-paying jobs. We are thrilled to see these true advocates for a just and equitable future come out victorious in the primary, and we look forward to doing everything we can to help make sure they win again in November.”

CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH: To commemorate Pride Month, LCV published a blog post on Wednesday highlighting 11 national monuments and national register of historic places honoring LGBTQ+ history and culture. LGBTQ+ individuals have played a pivotal role in advancing a variety of social and environmental justice movements in our nation’s history, while at the same time have confronted deep institutional and cultural discrimination. LCV aims to honor these contributions, as well as highlight the work that remains to be done to fully represent LGBTQ+ culture and stories. Read the full blog post here.

SUPPORTING DONNA EDWARDS: LCV Victory Fund announced on Monday its $550,000 investment supporting Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary to represent Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. The spending will go to a direct mail program and ads that highlight former Rep. Edwards’ record standing up to big polluters and the NRA. As an outspoken climate champion, Edwards earned a stellar 97% lifetime LCV score during her four previous terms in Congress where she consistently voted for pro-environment initiatives, such as increased public transportation, tax incentives for scientific research, building green infrastructure and more. She first earned LCV Action Fund’s endorsement for her campaign in January. Watch the ads here.

OUR TAKE:  LCV Victory Fund SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Donna Edwards will stand up to the oil companies that are jacking up gas prices and polluting our air, fight for stronger gun laws, and deliver progress for Prince George’s County – she has the record to prove it. The last year has made it clearer than ever that we need strong pro-environment leaders like Edwards in Congress who know how to make deals and get things done.”

ENDORSING WILEY NICKEL: This week, LCV Action Fund endorsed Wiley Nickel for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District for his record and commitment to action on climate, justice and jobs. Having served in the North Carolina State Senate since 2019, Nickel has led on a number of environmental bills and on efforts to expand voting access in the state, earning him a 90% lifetime score on NC LCV’s legislative scorecard. You can find this and all of LCV Action Fund’s endorsements HERE.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, Senator Wiley Nickel has been a champion for climate and democracy in the North Carolina State Legislature and we know he will continue to lead on this work in Congress. We are excited to endorse his campaign for the U.S. House because we know he will fight to hold big polluters accountable and prioritize people over profits. The stakes could not be higher for climate and environmental justice.”

NC LCV TAKE: North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Director of Governmental Relations Dan Crawford said, “Communities in North Carolina need leaders who will fight for people, not polluters and special interests and Senator Wiley Nickel is that leader. In the state legislature, Sen. Nickel has always prioritized the health of our communities, growing our clean energy economy, and fighting for democracy and we know he will continue this great work in Congress.” 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

MI VOTO MI COMUNIDAD: On Wednesday, Chispa national and Chispa AZ premiered their film “Mi Voto Mi Comunidad” (“My Vote My Community”) following longtime community activist Masavi Perea’s journey to becoming a U.S. citizen and registering to vote for the first time. The film is a story of resilience, commitment to community and triumph.

CHISPA FLORIDA X OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE:  Yesterday, Representative Darren Soto invited the Chispa Florida team to meet the Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Rachel Levine. They discussed the issues Hispanic communities in Florida face due to climate change, our immigration system and more. Check out Chispa Florida’s post here

COMING UP:

JULY 7: Mississippi and Montana Primary Elections

July 16-24: Latino Conservation Week

JULY 19: Maryland Primary Election

AUGUST 2: Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington Primary Elections

AUGUST 4: Tennessee Primary Election

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, Rhode Island Primary Elections

SEPTEMBER 20: Massachusetts Primary Election

NOVEMBER 8: Election Day 

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