THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JULY 22, 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:

“What we need is the political will. It’s all the more important that President Biden really double down with the authority that he has, and make progress through executive action. If I were the administration, I would certainly go bigger, bolder, faster, right away. Our future literally depends on it. 

– SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said in a conversation with NowThis.

In [my district], Latinos live next to ports, idling trucks, and active oil wells, causing health problems for thousands of families. We are also hit first and worst by climate change. By creating Climate Change green spaces & parks, we can reduce extreme heat, air pollution, & improve public health.

– Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44) said in a tweet as part of LCV’s Thursday Latino Conservation Week Twitter Q&A. Barragán also recently introduced legislation to officially designate the third week in July as Latino Conservation Week.

“I come from a community that literally is surrounded by corporate polluters. We’re already on the frontlines of what not to do when it comes to allowing a free for all for corporate polluters to profit off of people’s public health and our environment. We lost more of my Black neighbors than any other community in Michigan even though the total population of my Black neighbors in Michigan is less than 15% because of environmental racism, because of preexisting conditions, because pollution is all around them. And all they want is a fair chance to fight for the right to breathe clean air.”

— Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) said during a press conference calling on Congress to expand the Supreme Court.

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BIDEN CLIMATE STATEMENT: Following President Biden’s Wednesday climate speech in Massachusetts, LCV called on the administration to take bold and swift actions to protect the environment and our communities. LCV urges the Biden administration to declare a Climate National Emergency, use economic power to curb climate risk, cut toxic and climate pollution, commit to no new fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, rapidly expand responsible clean energy deployment on appropriate lands and waters, and accelerate efforts to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. Read the full list of steps here.

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “With our children’s future hanging in the balance, we are counting on President Biden and his administration to use every ounce of their authority to act on climate, advance environmental justice, create good jobs, and lower costs as quickly as possible. We couldn’t agree more that the climate crisis is an emergency – and the President’s appearance at a former coal plant that will soon be a manufacturing facility for offshore wind components is proof that a clean energy future is within reach – we must seize this opportunity. As dangerous, record breaking heat blankets the U.S. and the world, we need our leaders to do everything in their power to protect people and the planet. Action on climate can’t wait.” 

ELM’S TAKE: Executive Director of the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund, an LCV state affiliate, Casey Bowers said, “President Biden’s visit to the Commonwealth today emphasizes the crucial role that Massachusetts and communities like Somerset must play in stepping up to solve the climate crisis. We must act at every level of government to meet the scale and urgency of climate change. The extreme heat punishing residents across the United States, in Europe, and in the UK underscores the need to transition away from fossil fuels to a reliable, affordable, renewable energy future.”

GIVEGREEN: Today, LCV Victory Fund and NRDC Action Vote announced that more than $100 million has been raised and contributed to federal and state candidates through the GiveGreen program since 2009. This is a testament to the power and enthusiasm of climate activists across the country who are committed and eager to elect climate champions. Since launching 13 years ago, GiveGreen has elected 944 climate champions and become the biggest single-issue progressive candidate fundraising platform. Read more about GiveGreen’s impact here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund President Gene Karpinski said, “If we’ve learned anything in the past year, let alone the past couple of weeks, it’s that the need for more true climate and environmental justice leaders in Congress could not be more important. It could not be more crucial that we build a larger environmental majority in the Senate, hold the House, and invest in critical state and local races to achieve real change and protect our democracy. The GiveGreen community understands this and is showing up to ensure that we elect leaders up and down the ballot who will stand up to polluters instead of standing with them, prioritize people over profits and fight for the investments in clean energy, justice, and jobs that we desperately need.”

GIANT SEQUOIAS: LCV issued a statement following today’s announcement that the Biden administration would use the authorities and flexibility it has under current law to  thin forests around giant sequoia groves.:  

OUR TAKE: Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Giant Sequoias are some of the most majestic living things on Earth and it’s critical that we take action to save them from climate change and decades of overzealous fire suppression. The Biden administration’s actions highlight how much authority and flexibility federal land managers already have to mitigate wildfire threats and underscore that there is no need for Congress to erode our bedrock environmental laws in order to protect these ancient giants. What we need instead is a focus on bold climate action from policymakers at all levels of government to further reduce the threats the climate crisis poses to Giant Sequoias and everything else on our planet.”

EXPAND THE COURT PRESS CONFERENCE: On Monday, LCV stood with members of Congress and organizations including Take Back the Court and the Sunrise Movement to urge Congress to pass legislation adding four seats to the U.S. Supreme Court. For the first time in its history, LCV announced its support for expanding and rebalancing the Court last month in order to protect our democracy, our equality, and our right to clean water and air from a court that puts its extreme ideologies over the rights of the people.

OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said “[West Virginia v. EPA] was a raw exercise of judicial power by a nakedly political Supreme Court, one that chooses its polluter allies over the people of this and every generation going forward. And even as we at the League of Conservation Voters urge the EPA to use what’s left of its climate regulatory authority to protect us from the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, we know these justices are not done attacking our environment. When the Court comes back in the fall, on October 3rd, they will hear a case that threatens to undermine the Clean Water Act, just like this West Virginia case undermined the Clean Air Act. This Court has been thoroughly captured. And in order to ensure that it does not continue to attack our environment and our democracy for the rest of our lives, we need to expand and rebalance this stolen Court so that it serves the people and not the polluters.”

HOUSE PASSAGE OF ENVIRO APPROPRIATION BILLS: LCV joined Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and 20 other organizations in commending the United States House of Representatives for the passage of the first half of appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2023. This appropriations package is a critical step towards delivering a budget that prioritizes investment into environmental justice communities, safeguarding climate, clean air and waters, oceans, wildlife, biodiversity, public lands and public health.

OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: The joint letter reads, “We urge our Senate leaders to continue pushing for investments in our health, environment, and communities that meet or exceed these House bills and the President’s budget. Our families and communities need these investments more than ever because of unprecedented extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts fueled by the climate crisis, price gouging by oil and gas executives, long-standing environmental injustices, and other pressing emergencies like the extinction crisis. With the continued work of these champions, we can pass an FY23 budget that invests in the bedrock agencies and people we rely on to protect access to clean air, clean water, biodiverse ecosystems, public health, and a livable climate.”

RESOLUTION ON LATINO CONSERVATION WEEK: On Wednesday, LCV and its Chispa programs voiced their support for officially designating the third week in July as “Latino Conservation Week,” as proposed by Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán’s  resolution. This designation would work to recognize the inequitable access to the outdoors that Latino communities have historically and continue to experience. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate Ben Alexandro said, “The activity and engagement from people all over our nation to enjoy, advocate for, and conserve our great outdoors, wonderful public lands and waters, and precious natural spaces led by the Latino community is nothing short of inspirational.  This designation by Congress will send a crucial message affirming the federal government’s commitment to continue to break down barriers in equitable access to the outdoors and to recognizing the importance of the Latinos community’s engagement and leadership in conservation.  We thank Congresswoman Barragán for her leadership in putting forward this resolution.”

CHISPA’S TAKE: Chispa National Director of Policy and Advocacy Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate said, “A legacy of systemic oppression and white supremacy has tried to sever the connection between people of color and the land. As historical stewards of our ancestors’ lands, we have never been more intentionally excluded from the outdoors, and people of color continue to be excluded from the U.S. conservation movement.  We thank Congresswoman Barragán for putting forward this resolution, and we look forward to realizing our vision of a safe and healthy environment where our communities can thrive.  We will continue to organize our Latinx communities to connect them with the outdoors, provide resources, remove barriers, and create systems change to dismantle the status quo.”

LATINO CONSERVATION WEEK CHAMPS Q&A: To celebrate Latino Conservation Week, LCV hosted a Twitter Q&A with climate champions from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to elevate their work advancing equitable access to the outdoors. The champions discussed why LCW is important, highlighted their work promoting conservation, and explained how expanding outdoor recreation impacts their communities. Read the full Q&A here

CONFIRMATION OF MICHELLE CHILDS: Judge J. Michelle Childs was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Wednesday, an important milestone in creating a judiciary that looks like America and protects the people’s interests. Childs’ appointment to the second most powerful court in the country is well deserved and carries huge responsibility for protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the authority of the EPA and other federal regulatory agencies to serve the people as Congress intended. Additionally, Judge Childs’ confirmation to the DC Circuit adds much-needed diversity to a court on which only three Black women had ever served–even though nearly half the people who live in the District of Columbia are Black.

OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “Even as we celebrate this confirmation, we know there is much more work to be done to rebalance a judiciary stacked with far-right Trump appointees. We call on President Biden and Senate leadership to ensure all current and announced vacancies on the federal bench are filled with pro-environment, pro-democracy, pro-choice judges by the end of 2022. President Biden and Senate Democrats have already established an extraordinary record of appointing the most personally and professionally diverse slate of judges in American history. Beyond any president before him, Biden has prioritized women, lawyers of color, and lawyers who have spent their legal careers fighting for the people, not just polluters and other deep-pocketed interests. But as so many nominees await Senate action, as so many vacancies remain unfilled, and as the end of the 117th Congress looms, efforts by the Senate and the White House to fill these lifetime judgeships must accelerate.”

JAN 6 COMMITTEE HEARINGS: Following the continued House Select Committee hearings to investigate the Capitol attack on January 6, LCV issued a statement condemning former President Trump, his allies, the insurrectionists and every Republican who played a role in perpetuating the Big Lie and continue to wage an assault on our democracy. We must continue to elect pro-democracy federal, state, and local officials who will protect the freedom to vote, especially for voters of color, low-income voters, voters with disabilities and other marginalized groups whose right to choose their own leaders has been under assault for centuries.

OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “The January 6th Committee presented evidence beyond reasonable doubt that former President Donald Trump and his allies intentionally led a seditious conspiracy based on a Big Lie to overturn a fair and free election. Trump knowingly deceived the nation, attempted to overthrow our democracy, and undermined the fundamental right of the people to elect our own leaders. In each hearing, we heard extensive evidence of how Trump, his advisors, his political allies, and white supremacist extremists led systematic efforts to maintain power using violence and intimidation on January 6th and in the months leading to it, laying the groundwork for this attack even before Election Day. They were willing to break any law necessary — including ongoing witness tampering during these proceedings. As the hearings come to a close, the former president, his allies, Trump insurrectionists, and all who played a role in this attack on our country must be held accountable. Every MAGA Republican in Congress, in the executive branch, and in state and local governments who supported the Big Lie had a hand in the violent and deadly insurrection. Many insurrectionists and election deniers are on the ballot this fall, and we will not let them forget their role in this attack.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

LATINO CONSERVATION WEEK: Chispa also celebrated Latino Conservation Week through hosting multiple events encouraging community members to get outside and learn about Latino perspectives, connections and barriers to the outdoors. 

CHISPA AZ: This week, Chispa Arizona hosted a trip to the Grand Canyon where community leaders and staff learned about how the canyon is tied to the place of origin for the Navajo, Hopi, Paiute, and Zuni peoples and holds sacred significance for 11 tribes.

CHISPA NEVADA: Chispa Nevada hosted multiple events, including a hike of Mt.Charleston to explore and celebrate the Nevada mountains. On Thursday, Chispa Nevada staff also lead a community event teaching about gardening and water conservation.

CHISPA MARYLAND: On the last day of LCW, Chispa Maryland is hosting a community event in Wheaton Regional Park to hike, fish and enjoy the outdoors!

CLEAN BUSES WEBINAR: On July 26th, Chispa Florida will be hosting a Clean Buses Webinar, inviting school districts to learn more about the EPA’s Clean School Bus program funds. Check out their post for more information here.

MA CLIMATE BILL: Today in Massachusetts, the 2022 climate and clean energy bill (“An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind”) was passed, next making its way to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk to be signed. The bill commits to decarbonizing transportation, expanding offshore wind and adjusting renewable incentives and protecting rate-payers. Read the full text of the bill here.

ELM TAKE: The Environmental League of Massachusetts said in a statement, “The climate legislation released by the legislature last night and passed by the legislature today is a significant step forward on the road to a net-zero future. This bill’s key components build on last year’s landmark Next Generation Roadmap law and move us closer to achieving the Commonwealth’s net-zero by 2050 mandate and protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change.

President Biden’s visit to the Commonwealth yesterday to announce executive action to fight climate change highlights the importance of acting urgently and at every level of government. It emphasizes the role that Massachusetts and our communities must play in solving the climate crisis. We are proud that Massachusetts lawmakers are continuing to model solutions.”

COMING UP:

JULY 16-24: Latino Conservation Week
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, and Rhode Island Primary Elections
SEPTEMBER 20: Massachusetts Primary Election
NOVEMBER 8: Election Day

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