THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JUNE 06, 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:

“I think it’s critically important that we recognize that the LGBTQ+ rights movement is intrinsically linked and stands upon the shoulders of the civil rights movement. The struggle for full equality for LGBTQ+ people is linked to the struggle for full equality for people of color.”

— Andrew Reighart, a headquarters co-chair of Equality EPA, on the first ever Pride flag raising at the EPA on June 1.

“Amid our celebrations, we must recognize that our work is not finished. We still have much to do to ensure everyone can live free of fear, hate, and discrimination.”

— Representative Mark Takano, the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress, celebrating the start of Pride Month.

“Their sacrifices and entrepreneurial spirit have contributed to the rich tapestry that has defined the character of our country for generations. Since our founding, the very idea of America as a Nation of limitless possibilities has been nurtured and advanced by immigrants.”

– President Joe Biden, officially proclaiming June as Immigrant Heritage Month.

“Clean energy projects on public lands have an important role to play in reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs for families.”

– Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said about Biden’s plans to slash fees for renewable energy on public lands. 

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GOP CLIMATE SCAM: Despite spending decades obstructing action to combat the climate crisis, congressional Republicans released a perfunctory energy and climate agenda that fails to take the crisis seriously. Not only does this agenda fail to meaningfully reduce emissions, transition to a homegrown clean energy economy or protect communities from climate impacts, it’s a thinly-veiled scheme to double down on dirty fossil fuels that pollute our communities. People deserve better than empty promises and false solutions – they deserve $550 billion in climate, jobs and justice investments.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “This would be laughable as a climate agenda in 2022 except there is absolutely nothing funny about the climate crisis or Congressional Republicans’ obstruction of desperately needed solutions in the name of lining the pockets of their corporate allies and big oil polluters who fund their campaigns. Unfortunately, they are simply turning a blind eye to the science, communities harmed by fossil fuel pollution, and the will of voters by doubling down on the failed energy policies of the past. There is no more time to waste. Congressional Republicans must prioritize people over polluter profits and support commonsense clean energy investments to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice, create good-paying union jobs, and save people money on their energy bills.”

STOP THE WILLOW PROJECT: This week, LCV launched new digital ads in Washington D.C. calling for an end to the Willow oil drilling project in the Western Arctic region of Alaska. Proposed by oil giant ConocoPhillips as they rake in sky-high profits, the project would emit pollution equivalent to nearly one-third of America’s coal plants annually. The Department of the Interior is expected to decide the project’s fate over the coming months, and LCV is mobilizing its members to voice their opposition to ConocoPhillips’ disastrous Willow Project.

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “The Willow Project would lock us into decades more of dirty, dangerous, and costly fossil fuels at a time when the transition to clean energy could not be more important for our communities and our economy.” 

“This fragile area of Alaska is already warming three times faster than the rest of the world due to climate change – we cannot allow ConocoPhillips to destroy this pristine region and harm communities while they rake in massive profits at our expense. DOI must put an end to this harmful project and protect the Western Arctic and the path for the climate progress and public lands protections we desperately need.”

PRESERVING AND CELEBRATING AAPI HERITAGE: As we reflect on the last week of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, LCV published a blog highlighting some of the parks, public lands and waters, and historic sites that celebrate, preserve and share the stories of Asian American and Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander people in this country. From marine national monuments to cultural and economic sites to preservation of internment camps so that we do not forget this dark chapter in our nation’s history, these protected places tell a more complete story of our country and its people. Read the full blog HERE.

SCOTUS EXPANSION: For the first time in its history, LCV announced its support for expanding the United States Supreme Court this week. With the addition of four new seats, the Court could be rebalanced with justices who work for the people, not far-right interests waging an unprecedented judicial assault on our environment, our democracy and our equality. Within weeks, the Supreme Court is expected to curtail the EPA’s authority to fight climate change and to overturn Roe v. Wade. To protect our rights to clean air and water, equal justice and equal votes, Congress should once again use the power granted to it under the Constitution to set the number of justices.

OUR TAKE: Doug Lindner, advocacy director for judiciary & democracy, said “This is the most partisan and corrupted Court in living memory — we cannot wait decades to correct it. Protections for our environment, our reproductive rights, our equality, and our democracy are only as strong as the judges who uphold them, and the majority on this captured Court have shown time and again they will promote their own extreme ideological agenda over the rights of people in this country… Now is the time for Congress to rebalance the scales for a just, honorable, and equitable Supreme Court. ” 

OIL COMPANIES PULL OUT OF ARCTIC: On Wednesday, Regenerate Alaska canceled its lease in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, following in the footsteps of Chevron and Hilcorp who also pulled out recently. Sacred to the Gwich’in Alaska Native Nation, the Arctic Refuge is critical to their culture and subsistence needs. These exits by oil and gas companies are further proof that drilling in the Arctic is bad business. 

MAY TOP FIVE: Check out LCV’s round-up of our top five moments in May, fighting for a safer, more equitable and more sustainable future for all. Spoiler alert, the top five items include: LCV’s Advocacy Day, clean energy progress in the states, the Biden-Harris administration’s canceling of offshore drilling lease sales, LCV Education Fund’s multi-state initiative to register historically excluded communities to vote and a spotlight on National Park Ranger Cam Juarez. Read the Top Five HERE.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN VT: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill into law on Tuesday creating the state’s first ever environmental justice policy. A major priority of the Vermont Conservation Voters this session, the bill states that no community should be disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and creates two advisory groups to coordinate and review environmental justice decisions.

VCV TAKE: Lauren Hierl, executive director of Vermont Conservation Voters, said, “Today’s enactment of Vermont’s first environmental justice law should be celebrated by all Vermonters. Incorporating environmental justice into how the state government works is essential for ensuring we are working to build an equitable Vermont for now and generations to come.”

VNRC TAKE: Energy and Climate Program Director for Vermont Natural Resources Council Johanna Miller said, “All Vermonters have a right to clean air, clean water, healthy homes and safe communities, and a strong state environmental justice policy is needed to ensure it. We thank the Vermont Legislature for decisively advancing S.148 and are glad this long-overdue policy framework earned the Governor’s approval.”

CHISPA MD EVENT: Chispa Maryland joined the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America and the American Federation of Teachers on Tuesday for a rally calling on state and local governments to secure union-built electric school buses. Working to secure good union jobs is a key part of advancing an environmentally and economically sustainable future. 

CHISPA MD TAKE: Chispa Maryland Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo said, Today is proof that we can build a powerful labor-climate-environmental justice movement – transforming our economy into one that is prosperous for all workers AND that is safe and sustainable for our children and our planet.” 

NEVADA HAALAND ROUNDTABLE: On Tuesday, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland held a roundtable with Nevada state officials to discuss the Biden administration’s goals to develop 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2050. With more than 85% of its lands held publicly, and as a leader in solar renewable energy, Nevada is a key part of this plan. 

NEVADA CONSERVATION LEAGUE TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg said, “The Nevada Conservation League applauds Secretary Haaland and Senator Cortez Masto for working together on a plan to reach our clean and renewable energy goals while balancing the protections and the conservation of our state’s stunning public lands. Nevada’s public lands contain some of our nation’s best wind, geothermal, and solar opportunities and by carefully locating these developments, we can invest in local economies by creating new jobs and infrastructure while combating the climate crisis. More specifically, the Nevada Conservation League worked closely with previous administrations on the development of ‘Solar Energy Zones’ to identify the best places for clean and renewable energy developments. Because of these efforts, Nevada has led the way in this balanced approach, with seven of the 12 projects approved in 2021 being right here in our state. It’s truly a credit to the hard work of environmental leaders like Senator Cortez Masto and Secretary Haaland for charting a clean, renewable, and conservation-minded future.”

CHISPA NV CLEAN ENERGY WORKSHOP: Chispa Nevada was at the Nevada Clean Energy Equity Workshop in Las Vegas with Green for All, Vote Solar, Somos Votantes, Plan Nevada and GRID talking about equity, energy, public health and the environment. 

CHISPA NV TAKE: Chispa Nevada Director Rudy Zamora said, “One in 12 kids in Clark County have asthma. We decided we had to fight this and we are working to get electric school buses for our kids”

CHISPA FLORIDA AT EL JOSCO AWARDS: On May 21,the El Josco Awards of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida were held, with the purpose of celebrating individuals whose hard work and contributions helps improve the quality of life of both the Puerto Rican and Hispanic communities in Central Florida. The intent was to honor distinguished professionals, business owners and community leaders who make a positive impact in the region. Chispa Florida Director María Revelles was awarded the Community Service award, and we are proud to have her as a leader, mentor and teacher in our journey of community work for our people. 

CHISPA ARIZONA TALKS ABOUT IMAGINING COMPLETE STREETS: Chispa Arizona was joined in conversation by Sam, a photographer and cultural worker from the Sagrada Galleria who has been doing community-centered in work in South Phoenix for years, Sustainability Director for the city of Tempe, Ariz. Braden Kay whose work is centered on co-creating programs with residents and businesses and by parent and Chispa Arizona Semillita alumna Fernanda who worked to make her streets safer in the West Valley. 

COMING UP:

ALL OF JUNE: Pride Month + Immigrant Heritage Month

JUNE 7: California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota Primary Elections

JUNE 8: Anniversary of the Antiquities Act

JUNE 9: First hearing on the January 6th Insurrection

JUNE 14: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina Primary Elections

JUNE 18: Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly Moral March on Washington and to the Polls

JUNE 19: Juneteenth 

JUNE 21: Washington, DC and Virginia Primary Elections

JUNE 28: Colorado, Illinois, New York State U.S. Senate, Oklahoma and Utah Primary Elections

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