THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – OCTOBER 1, 2021

Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230

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 and Twitter.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“Having this electric school bus is confirmation that things happen because the community has power. Once the community knows there is power, they will exercise that power.”

— Teo Argueta, speaking in LCV and Chispa’s film produced in partnership with the Redford Center, “Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands).”

“If you don’t have air conditioning or you can’t run it because you don’t have that kind of financial resources and that coping capacity, and let’s say you have a preexisting health condition…and in your neighborhood that’s five or six degrees hotter than other neighborhoods around you. That could be a lethal difference in terms of temperatures.”

— Vivek Shandas, a professor of climate adaptation at Portland State University on a Living Downstream podcast episode, “Degrees Of Injustice – The Social Inequity Of Urban Heat Islands.”

“Since they put a hog farm a quarter of a mile from where I live, we can’t drink the water or hang out our clothes. I don’t even wear white clothes anymore because when you wash them, they turn yellow.

— Elouise Stokes Jacobs, a resident of Waycross, North Carolina, speaking at a commissioners meeting during a public comment period on air and water pollution issues.

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Yahoo!News: Biden’s climate change agenda hangs in balance as Congress debates budget
AP: On climate change, Biden $3.5T plan making up for lost time
The Hill: Labor, environmental groups in new ad press lawmakers for bigger package
Bloomberg Law: ‘Disruptive’ Shutdown Seen as Crippling EPA Powers and Economy
E&E: Greens target Sinema with ad campaign over spending bill

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:

Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina): Opinion: Why a clean energy future sets Fayetteville up for success
Blue Ridge Public Radio (North Carolina): NC Coalition Forms To Advocate For Offshore Wind Energy Projects
TAPinto (New Jersey): PennEast Company ‘Ceases All Future Development’ of Fracked Gas Pipeline that Threatened County’s Public and Private Lands

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LATINX HERITAGE MONTH CONTINUES: LCV and Chispa continue to honor Latinx Heritage Month — this week, Chispa participated in Drive Electric Week, hosting an electric school bus event  with Generation 180 and World Resources Institute (see more on Drive Electric Week below 👇). Chispa also highlighted the power of community action with a film produced in partnership with the Redford Center, “Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands).” Additionally, Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez was featured as one of NETA Collaborative’s Latinx Systemic Disruptors for her leadership, storytelling, and filmmaking in the fight for climate justice, centering Latinx communities and communities of color who are on the front lines of the climate crisis and environmental racism.

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez said her heroes are, “mujeres/women who have paved the way for me, for us, and for future generations to be able to say who we are and what we want loud and proud.”

‘SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE PLAYING POLITICS WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES’: Earlier this week, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans blocked a bill to fund the government and avoid financial catastrophe from a U.S. government default. While a government shutdown was averted on Thursday night, Senate Republicans must stop playing politics while lives are on the line. 

OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis stated, “While Democrats work through legislation to rebuild our country and address the interwoven crises of the coronavirus pandemic, economic inequality, racial injustice, and climate change, Senate Republicans are playing politics with people’s lives. Mitch McConnell’s utter disregard for struggling families and refusal to fund recovery efforts following an unprecedented summer of climate change-fueled extreme weather disasters is beyond shameful. Congress must act swiftly to raise the debt ceiling, deliver relief to suffering communities, maintain critical government services, and invest in a safer, healthier, and more equitable future.”

$4 MILLION AD INVESTMENT FOR BBB!: This week, LCV and Climate Power announced an additional $4 million paid media investment in key House districts, thanking members for their support and encouraging others to back the Build Back Better Act with popular climate provisions. Experts warn the window is closing to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis, and the Build Back Better Act is our best opportunity to take transformative action. We need all hands on deck now to ensure the final package meets the “Climate Test” and to push it across the finish line. New TV ads will run in the following representative’s districts: Representatives Stephanie Murphy,  Josh Harder, Kathleen Rice, and Scott Peters. New innovation-focused digital ads will run in these representative’s districts: Representatives Sharice Davids, Haley Stevens, Angie Craig, and Steven Horsford. Additional resources will also be invested in previously announced TV and digital ads in more than 20 key districts. See the full list of ads HERE and read our full checklist to see how the current Build Back Better Act measures up to LCV’s priorities HERE

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith stated, “Polluter CEOs might have deep pockets for false advertising, but science and the public are on the side of climate action. Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the climate crisis in a way that also helps address economic and racial equity — and their constituents are demanding that they pass the Build Back Better Act now.” 

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes stated, “This is a code red moment that requires Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act that meets the Climate Test. The crisis is disrupting lives in every part of the country. Thankfully, members have the opportunity to pass the Build Back Better Act, including climate investments that will create jobs, reduce energy costs for families, and build a more just and equitable nation. The case for climate action is backed by people in every corner of America, now it’s time for Congress to finish the job.” 

NEW ADS FOR CLEAN BUSES!: On Wednesday, Chispa and electric school bus partners released a new bilingual, six-figure digital ad buy in nine key states to thank members and to call on Congress to support clean rides for kids in the Build Back Better Act. The digital ad campaign brings attention to the consequences of polluted air from dirty school buses, which aggravates lung health in children and increases the risk of asthma attacks — a leading cause of school absences — and disproportionately impacts educational opportunities in communities of color and communities with low wealth. The ads support Representatives Tony Cárdenas, Jahana Hayes, and Frank Pallone, and Senators Alex Padilla, Tom Carper, Raphael Warnock, Catherine Cortez-Masto, and Patty Murray for their leadership on electric school buses to help our kids breathe clean air, Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper for helping advance the Build Back Better Act and encouraging them to fight for clean buses, and to urge Senator Kyrsten Sinema to take action now to support the Build Back Better Act and clean school buses for kids. See example ad for Sinema HERE and a full list of released ads HERE.

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Senior Director Johana Vicente stated, “About twenty-five million children ride dirty diesel school buses to and from school. These buses are putting the health of millions of children at risk, especially Black, Indigenous, and Latinx children who already bear an unfair burden of air pollution. Congress must act and support funding for electric school buses. By prioritizing our children’s health, we can start to build a more just and equitable clean energy future that invests in the health and sustainability of our communities. Our children, our communities have a right to breathe clean air.”

CHISPA DOUBLE TAKE: Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez stated, “Our mission is to prioritize the health of kids and we know we can do that by getting more electric school buses out on the road.”

TALKING BBB WITH SPEAKER PELOSI + HOUSE MEMBERS: On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, LCV, and Climate Power hosted a press event on the importance of taking bold climate action and passing the Build Back Better Act. Speakers included House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor, Representatives Lauren Underwood, Sharice Davids, Mikie Sherrill, Susie Lee, Haley Stevens, Steven Horsford, and LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfield. The speakers highlighted the urgent need to pass the Build Back Better Act with ambitious investments in America’s clean energy future. Their message was clear: Congress must invest in climate, clean energy, justice, and jobs at the scale that science and justice demand. Watch the full event HERE.

SPEAKER PELOSI TAKE: Speaker Nancy Pelosi closed out the event by reiterating the emissions reductions goals that must be met through the Build Back Better Act to act on climate at the scale that science and justice demand, stating, “Our goal is to pass this legislation, our goal is meet the standards — 50% by 2030, 100% by 2050, and to do so in a way that is a model for the world. We fully intend to do it.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfield made clear, “We must cut climate pollution in half by 2030 and we must transition to 100% clean energy once and for all. It is so unacceptable that nearly one in three people in this country this summer alone have experienced climate fueled extreme weather — this has to stop. The time for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act and send it to President Biden is now.”

TALKING CLEAN TRANSPORTATION @EPA: On Tuesday, LCVEF hosted an event with climate advocates to deliver public comments to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and call for the boldest and strongest clean car standards possible. Speakers included former EPA Administrator and current LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner and President and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus and LCV Board Member Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., along with several other climate advocates, who highlighted the importance of strong standards as an environmental justice issue, pointing out that low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by tailpipe pollution. Watch the full event HERE.

FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR TAKE: Carol M. Browner, former EPA administrator and Board Chair for the League of Conservation Voters stated, “The science is telling us we need to act now to reverse the threat climate change represents for our health, environment, and economy. We need the strongest possible standards to drive the change we need in the transportation sector to reduce pollution and save consumers money at the pump. We look forward to working with Administrator Regan to go even further and set the strongest possible clean car standards. The stakes have never been higher and the opportunity has never been greater.”

HIP HOP CAUCUS TAKE: Hip Hop Caucus President and CEO and LCV Board Member Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. stated, “Climate change is a public health and a civil rights issue that poses a particular threat to communities of color and low-income families, who are often hit the hardest by climate change and carbon pollution. It is the responsibility of our leaders in Washington to not only protect the environment, but to protect the people in harm’s way and to bring the economic benefits of clean energy and clean transportation to underserved communities.”

DRIVE ELECTRIC WEEK: This week, as we noted at the top, Chispa participated in Drive Electric Week, hosting an electric school bus event — “Communities in the Driver’s Seat” — with Generation 180, and World Resources Institute. Chispa Arizona Organizing Director Masavi Perea highlighted that persistence from communities has driven change that is creating cleaner air for kids. In addition, Chispa highlighted the power of community action with a film produced in partnership with LCV and the Redford Center, “Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands)”.

CHISPA AZ TAKE: Chispa Arizona Organizing Director Masavi Perea stated, “We can make a change — right here, right now.”

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF THE BUILD BACK BETTER ACT: On Monday, the House Budget Committee completed its markup of the Build Back Better Act, bringing the legislation one step closer to becoming a reality. The latest report on the climate crisis makes it clear — this is our “code red for humanity” moment — Congress must take this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fully invest in the infrastructure to put our country on the path to 100% clean energy, create clean energy jobs, and address the climate crisis and environmental injustices in all communities.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld stated, “We applaud Chairman Yarmuth and other committee chairs, members, and leadership for prioritizing the transformational legislation we need for climate, clean energy, justice, and jobs in the Build Back Better Act. These popular investments are critical to cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 and Congress doing its part to meet the Climate Test. Congress must swiftly finalize, pass, and send to President Biden the Build Back Better Act, which will create a more clean, just, and equitable future for all. Climate change’s impacts are already harming communities across the country. Now is the time to seize this once in a generation opportunity to tackle climate change in a manner that addresses the inter-related crises of racial and economic inequality.”

NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION DAY: Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, where LCV and Chispa programs across AZ, FL, NV, NC, PA and VA participated in voter registration special events at college campuses, community redistricting meetings, and online community gatherings like Civics con Chispa in NV. We cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy — registering to vote is a critical step for communities to be heard at the ballot box. See Chispa Nevada’s video encouraging people to check their voter registration and register to vote HERE. See LCVEF Voter Resources HERE.

WE ARE HOME: In response to the Senate parliamentarian rejecting the Democrat’s second proposal to include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the reconciliation package, immigrant advocacy group We Are Home released a statement calling on Democrats to take immediate action. Millions of immigrants who have already lived here for decades, working and investing in our nation’s economies in some of the most low-paying and dangerous jobs critical to our nation, need a path to citizenship. The same systemic inequities and institutionalized discrimination that fuels environmental injustices also oppress the immigrant community.

TRIBES SPEAK ON BEARS EARS: Tribal leaders from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, which includes the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Hopi Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe and Pueblo of Zuni, sent a letter to President Biden calling for the restoration and expansion of the Bear Ears National Monument’s boundaries after the previous administration significantly downsized the protected area. The letter highlights the spiritual, cultural, and environmental importance of the area and urges immediate action citing the potential for vandalism, desecration, and looting from tourists. See Washington Post’s article HERE.

OUTDOORS FOR ALL ACT: On Wednesday, the Outdoors for All Act was introduced, which would guarantee funding for projects that support outdoor spaces in communities historically excluded from funding opportunities, particularly in communities of color, urban areas, and communities with low wealth. Studies show that “urban heat islands,” areas without green spaces, can be up to 15 to 20 degrees hotter during the day than temperatures in outer areas with natural vegetation — and with the record-setting extreme temperatures we’ve seen this summer, it is only expected to get worse. The latest climate report makes it clear — we must take every action to combat the climate crisis, and green spaces in urban areas can help lower urban heat island temperatures, lower energy costs, and save lives.

OUR TAKE: LCV tweeted, “Green spaces are vital to communities; they’re places to recharge mentally, connect with people, and can even cool down neighborhoods. We’re proud to support @RepBarragan & @SenAlexPadilla’s #OutdoorsForAll Act, which will help ensure that all communities have access to nature.”

SEN. PADILLA TAKE: Senator Padilla stated, “No matter your zip code, everyone should have access to outdoor space in their community. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I know all too well how people living in urban areas often lack adequate park space, an injustice that negatively impacts our communities and our environment. The Outdoors for All Act would invest in new parks and open spaces—and upgrade existing ones—to bring nature’s benefits to urban residents’ doorsteps.  Improving park access will provide benefits like shade, tree cover, and clean air that are critical as we grapple with the intensifying effects of the climate crisis.”

REP. BARRAGAN TAKE: Representative Barragán stated, “By passing the Outdoors for All Act, we make it crystal clear that funding for urbans parks is here to stay. Far too many low-income communities and communities of color lack access to a nearby park or green space. Green spaces are crucial for the health and well being of our communities. By preserving the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, we will provide much needed urban parks funding for underserved communities throughout our country.”

@BLM CONFIRMED: This week, Tracy Stone-Manning, environmental advocate and executive at the National Wildlife Federation, was confirmed as the director of the Bureau of Land Management — drawing a stark contrast to the Trump administration’s anti-environmental acting directors who put polluters over people and rolled back critical environmental protections for our nation’s federal lands. Earlier this week, LCV sent a letter to the Senate, urging senators to support Stone-Manning’s nomination. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Stone-Manning is uniquely qualified to lead the BLM. She will bring important professional experience to this role after serving as the former director of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, a congressional staffer, and a senior policy advisor at the National Wildlife Federation. As an outdoorswoman and recreationist, she is also personally invested in the stewardship of our public lands and resources.”

🏈FROM THE FIELD🏈: LCV’s organizers on the ground continue to knock on doors and build support for climate action across the country.  So far, our field team has knocked on over 243,000 doors, made nearly 375,000 calls, and mobilized 9,000 businesses to support climate action and clean energy jobs across 11 states! 💪 See our new video highlighting why people across the nation want climate action NOW, and our mid-recess recap HERE.

CLIMATE ACTION SPOTLIGHT: LCV Youth Digital Organizer Aida Amirul wrote a blog series highlighting LCV Climate Action volunteers who are helping lead the next generation to take action — read about Renada, a hair stylist by day and an environmental justice activist by night. See our last climate action spotlights on New Hampshire volunteer Maddy HERE and Climate Action Nevada intern Jezreel HERE!

NEW REPORT: UNION JOBS IMPROVE CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY!: NRDC released a new report this week, “United: Union Jobs Improve the Clean Energy Economy,” detailing how union workers are shaping the clean energy economy, producing better outcomes for both workers and the environment. Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in a clean energy economy and the workforce needed to Build Back Better while addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustice in communities. Read the full report HERE

STEELWORKERS UNION TAKE: United Steelworkers Organizing Director Maria Somma stated, “As union workers, we care about the communities we live in. We certainly believe that stronger labor standards will lead to better standards for all Americans. Giving workers a fair and speedy way to join a union and continue to expand high-quality good paying jobs must be a part of taking action on climate and transitioning to a clean energy economy.”

REP. RYAN TAKE: Representative Tim Ryan stated, “Our unions are positioned to lead the way as we transition to the clean energy economy of the future. We know that climate change is a dangerous and growing threat to our children, our families, and our economy. The Build Back Better Act takes a direct aim at addressing climate change while strengthening our communities and economy by investing in clean energy jobs, technologies, and initiatives — while putting workers first.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

LATINX HERITAGE MONTH IN THE STATES: ICYMI, our Chispa state partners have been taking over Chispa’s social media, highlighting what #LatinxHeritageMonth means to them! Make sure to follow Chispa on twitter to stay up to date with these highlights and more!

CHISPA MARYLAND: In her highlight, Chispa Maryland Social Media Fellow Maria Vicente stated that she is proud of her heritage and of strong Latinxs such as her mother who made so many sacrifices to give her family a better life.

CHISPA NEVADA: Chispa Nevada staff, including Program Director Rudy Zamora, National Organizing Director Astrid Martinez, Senior Organizer Rodrigo Gonzalez, Civic Engagement Director Guillermo Barahona, and Organizer Juan Carlos Guardado, were also highlighted.

CLEAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE MIDWEST: This week, the governors of Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin announced a bipartisan effort to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations on major highways throughout the Midwest. This partnership is an important step in moving away from fossil fuel-powered transportation and meeting the increasing demand for EV infrastructure. Additionally, over 100,000 new jobs in the utility sector will be created, bolstering local economies with new clean energy jobs.

🎨ART ACTIVATIONS: Across the country, communities are joining with local artists to demand climate action, justice and clean energy jobs at the scale that science requires. This is our now or never moment with the critical opportunity provided by the Build Back Better Act as the the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recently declared a “code red for humanity”. 

IN MAINE: This week, Maine Conservation Voters worked with artist Katie Runde to create a chalk art activation in Skowhegan Farmers’ Market, highlighting the need for climate action in Maine. See the finished art piece HERE, and see the work in progress HERE.

IN NEW JERSEY: This week, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters organized a community crop art activation with local artist Suki Dewey to call for climate action NOW. By spelling out the word “NOW” in this soybean field, both Dewey and New Jersey LCV hope to bring attention to the fact that there is no time to waste when it comes to addressing the climate crisis — action must be taken now. See images from the event HERE.

PUBLIC LANDS DAY IN NV: Climate Action NV joined partners Chispa NV, Nevada Conservation League, Battle Born Progress, and NV Voters Alliance for a public lands day event at Mountains Edge Regional Park, where they spoke to community members about the need to protect our public lands and pass bold climate legislation. The organizations gathered petition signatures urging Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto and Representatives Lee and Horsford to continue fighting for climate investments in the Build Back Better Act.

COMING UP:

SEPT 15- OCT 15: Latinx Heritage Month
SEPT 25 – OCT 3: National Drive Electric Week

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