THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JULY 29, 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:

“Let me be clear. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would be the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis and to improve our energy security.”

– President Joe Biden said regarding the proposed “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.” 

“Young people, with their lives on the line, have pushed their leaders for climate action without ever giving up. This movement is powerful. A better world is possible—together—we are moving towards it.”

– Senator Ed Markey stated about addressing the climate crisis.

“This legislation is preventing and protecting. The bill moves the center of power. It will change the available leverage and it will repurpose the megaphone when it comes to protecting marginalized communities from continuing to be the dumping ground for dangerous pollution. We can’t go back and change everything that has occurred over 50 years or more. But we can say, from this point forward, it’s going to be different.”

– House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva said about the Environmental Justice for All Act during the committee’s first markup.

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WE HAVE A DEAL!?!!!: On Wednesday, people and the planet received great news – Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin announced that they had reached an agreement on a historic reconciliation bill with $369 billion in climate, clean energy jobs and environmental justice provisions. Named the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” it is expected to put us on a path to reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030. LCV urges the Senate, then the House, to quickly pass this bill.

OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Wow! We are so excited that Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin have reached a deal that includes climate investments to reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030, and we are eager to see the details. As families struggle with high gas prices, inflation, and devastating climate-fueled extreme weather, this is such welcome news. This is it: the time for the Senate to pass cost-saving legislation that makes overdue investments in climate and clean energy, improves our energy security, creates good jobs, and builds a more affordable, healthy, just, and equitable future is right now.”

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS BILL: Continuing to make climate strides, the Senate Appropriations Committee Democratic leadership released their appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2023 on Thursday, investing historic levels of funding into federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior. These agencies are critical for protecting our air, water, oceans, public lands, biodiversity and health.

OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: LCV and 18 environmental groups said in a joint statement, “Today, we celebrate the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership for taking this critical step toward delivering a budget that prioritizes advancing environmental justice, expanding renewable energy, tackling the biodiversity crisis, and creating jobs. These much-needed investments will robustly fund the agencies that protect our air, waters, oceans, wildlife, public lands, and health…As our communities suffer from increasing climate-fueled extreme weather events, wildfires, and droughts, it is critical for Congressional leaders to work together and expeditiously pass an FY23 budget that equips the Biden-Harris administration with the tools it needs to meet its climate, jobs, and justice commitments.”

TAKING ON THE DIRTY DOZEN: LCV Victory Fund is working to build a true pro-climate majority in the Senate, hold the House and elect champions at the state level by electing pro-environment candidates and taking down the very worst pro-polluter candidates. On Thursday, LCVVF named the first 6 candidates to its signature 2022 House and Senate Dirty Dozen list of the worst anti-environmental candidates: 

    1. Nevada Senate candidate Adam Laxalt
    2. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
    3. Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker
    4. Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz
    5. North Carolina Senate candidate Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13)
    6. New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell (NM-02)

The Dirty Dozen announcement comes the same week that oil and gas companies are beginning to report outrageously high Q2 profits. Many of the Dirty Dozen candidates have taken exorbitant contributions from the fossil fuel industry. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “As voters pay high gas prices and suffer from climate-fueled extreme heat, fire, droughts, and flooding, no candidate in 2022 can get away with taking massive contributions from the corrupt oil and gas industry that is making the climate crisis worse. That’s why LCV Victory Fund is naming the worst of the worst midterm candidates to our Dirty Dozen and organizers across the country are hitting the streets to talk to voters about the importance of electing a true pro-environment majority in the Senate, and protecting and electing pro-climate Governors and other state-level officials.”

LCVVF IS BACK ON THE DOORS: After a hiatus from in-person campaigning during the 2020 election cycle, LCV Victory Fund launched a $12.8 million field organizing effort with state affiliates and partners this week. Organizers will knock at least 1.17 million doors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Our field program will persuade, educate and mobilize a precisely targeted set of climate voters to vote by mail, vote early or vote on Election Day. This effort is part of the previously announced $100 million Climate Votes Project between six key environmental super PACs.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “There is nothing more effective than having face-to-face conversations with voters about the stakes in this election, and LCV Victory Fund is thrilled to get back out on the doors this cycle.”

NYT TAKE: The news was covered first in the New York Times, which called LCV, “one of the most powerful and politically sophisticated environmental groups in the country.”

EJ FOR ALL MARKUP: The House Committee on Natural Resources held its first committee markup of the Environmental Justice for All Act on Wednesday, making history as the most comprehensive environmental justice legislation in U.S. history. Environmental justice communities were at the center of drafting this bill, with many local leaders across the country participating in conversations advocating for the needs of their communities. 

OUR TAKE: Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Justice is long overdue for communities of color and low wealth communities who have been historically overburdened by the impacts of pollution and are now more greatly impacted by the climate crisis. For one of the first times in history, environmental justice communities that have long been excluded are now at the table, collaborating and leading the conversations to craft this critical legislation. It is imperative that Congress continue to listen to their voices by quickly voting on and passing the Environmental Justice for All Act and prioritizing equitable solutions that reduce pollution in overburdened communities and strengthen their right to protect themselves against environmental racism.”

ENDORSING CHRIS VAN HOLLEN AND DAVID TRONE: LCV Action Fund announced its support for the reelection of Congressional climate champions Chris Van Hollen and David Trone on Wednesday. Van Hollen, running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in Maryland, has been a strong supporter of transformational investments into climate, justice and jobs and recently introduced legislation requiring the nation’s largest polluters to finance efforts to combat climate change. Also from Maryland, Trone is running for reelection to represent the state’s 6th Congressional District. Since first being elected in 2018, he fought for funding for wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation and has been a leader in the fight for funding electric vehicles.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representative David Trone have been strong allies for climate and democracy in Congress. LCV Action Fund is proud to support these climate leaders for reelection because we know they will continue to prioritize climate, justice, and jobs and protect our public lands and the health of all communities in Maryland and across the country.”

MD LCV TAKE: Maryland LCV Executive Director Kim Coble said, “Communities in Maryland deserve to have leaders in Congress like Senator Van Hollen and Representative Trone who will prioritize building a clean energy economy, fighting for environmental justice, and protecting our public lands and waters. We are proud to have them fighting for clean water, healthy air, and a resilient climate for everyone in Maryland.”

LATINX CONSERVATION WEEK: Last week, LCV and its Chispa Program celebrated Latinx Conservation Week by hosting hiking trips in multiple states around the country! To reflect on the week of celebration, LCV hosted a Twitter Q&A with champions from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Chispa also published a blog post highlighting the significance of LCW and explaining the ways in which, despite their history of protecting the outdoors, Latinx communities have disproportionately less access to the outdoors. Recent legislation such as the Outdoors for All Act would work to address this gap by investing into projects that expand outdoor recreation in urban and low-income communities. Representative Nanette Barragán also introduced legislation to officially designate the third week in July Latino Conservation Week.

OUR TAKE: Chispa Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro wrote, “Chispa lideres across the country celebrate Latinx Conservation Week. We will also echo the calls from communities of color, Indigenous leaders, conservation groups, local elected officials and other advocates working to protect more of our public lands and ensure equitable access to Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. It is time to address environmental racism and ensure access to open spaces where we all can breathe healthy air. In open spaces, we can continuously practice our cultura, connect with the Earth and one another.

STRENGTHENING THE CLEAN WATER ACT: LCV Government Affairs Fellows Erin Keleske and Ryan Lou testified before the Environmental Protection Agency on July 18 to advocate for the restoration of State and Tribal authorities under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Both drew upon their experiences witnessing instances of environmental injustice in their home states of Wisconsin and California to advocate for increased state and tribal decision-making power to protect our water resources.

OUR TAKE: Government Affairs Fellow Erin Keleske said in her statement, “Cooperative federalism is deeply embedded in the Clean Water Act. This state and tribal autonomy has been a critical tool for restoring and protecting our waters over the last 50 years because they are the ones most acutely aware of the unique threats facing their waters. They know the pollutants of concern, how climate change is already impacting their region, and what needs to be done to protect the health and safety of their most vulnerable residents.”

OUR TAKE 2: Government Affairs Fellow Ryan Lou said in his statement, “Returning power to the hands of local indigenous tribes is crucial as well. For example, California’s water rights system was originally created without taking into account the historical importance and significance of these waters to tribal communities, and they were prohibited from even owning land or water rights. This is, at heart, a system of racism and inequality. By reinstating the ability of Tribes to weigh in and protect their waters, the EPA’s proposed rule is recognizing the vast knowledge of tribal communities and their sovereignty, and respecting the significant role many of these waters play in their culture.”

ADA ANNIVERSARY: On the 32nd Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, key agencies protecting our land and environment reaffirmed their commitment to making the outdoors accessible to individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities often struggle with terrain, trail width, crowds, and while strides have already been made for adapting outdoor spaces, the Department of the Interior and National Park Service note much work is left to be done to ensure equal opportunities for all to benefit from outdoor space. 

JULY TOP 5: After a tumultuous month in climate action, LCV released its monthly roundup of the top five moments of climate action and advocacy in July. Topping action this month was the surprise deal and release of Senate reconciliation legislation, The Inflation Reduction Act, which includes nearly $370 billion in climate, justice and jobs provisions. To read more about this historic legislation and all of the other advocacy we’re up to – including our executive branch priorities, LCV Action Fund endorsements, Latino Conservation Week, testimony before the EPA, and the five-year plan for offshore drilling leases – read the Top 5 here.   

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

EXPANDING VOTING RIGHTS IN NV: LCV published a blog today highlighting the organizing work of its grassroots leaders in Nevada. Working with Chispa Nevada, activists discussed their passion for expanding voting rights in the state, and especially for shifting power towards Latinx communities and communities of color who are often excluded from voter rights efforts.

CHISPA NV TAKE: In an interview, Deputy Civic Engagement Director of Chispa Nevada Aria Flores said, “I’m not just voting for me, I’m voting to advance our priorities and build power for my communities. It brings a whole new meaning for the vote.”

CHISPA MD CLEAN BUS WEBINAR: Chispa Maryland hosted a webinar about clean school buses on Thursday in collaboration with the Alliance for Electric School Buses and the Electric School Bus Initiative. The webinar comes before the application period for the EPA’s Clean School Bus funding closes on August 19. During the conversation, experts discussed types of electric school bus models, how to get funding, and more.

CHISPA FL CLEAN BUS WEBINAR: Chispa Florida also hosted a webinar about clean school buses on Wednesday in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund, Florida Conservation Voters, Moms Clean Air Force and FORTH. 

CHISPA ARIZONA SCULPTING EVENT: Last week, Chispa AZ Youth Organizing Intern Dayne Saldana led a sculpting night with a full house of environmentalist youth! More events like these are to come, and all youth are welcome to attend!

THE RISE OF THE STATE AND LOCAL CLIMATE  CANDIDATE: This week, LCV State Communications Director Nick Abraham highlighted the pivotal role city and state leaders play in developing strategies to tackle the climate crisis and stand with communities instead of polluters. To view LCV’s latest memo highlighting state-level environmental wins in 2022, click HERE.  

OUR TAKE: LCV State Communications Director Nick Abraham said, “These are really under-the-radar races and ones that don’t often get a lot of attention but have really big roles to play about [the implementation of] clean energy. They’re where the rubber meets the road about actually getting clean energy onto the grid and the enormous task … to make this transition.’’

COMING UP:

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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