THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – SEPTEMBER 23, 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 denial of an affordable energy grid in Puerto Rico is colonialism at its cruelest. The federal government must use every tool at its disposal to help.”

— Representative Ritchie Torres speaking at a press conference held by the Hispanic Federation to build support for taking strong action for Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Fiona.

“Building a clean energy future that benefits all Americans cannot start by silencing frontline communities and eroding the laws that protect our access to clean air and water…It’s absurd to suggest this deal, early versions of which were literally covered with fossil fuel lobbyists’ digital fingerprints, will do anything but exacerbate climate change at the expense of communities that depend on clean air and water that this proposal threatens.”

–Southern Environmental Law Center Director of Federal Affairs Nat Mund said in a statement.

“We have seen time after time our sacred places, water and land destroyed for fossil fuel greed with little thought or acknowledgment of the cultural and legal connections of tribes to these lands. State recognized tribes like mine rely on NEPA and the Clean Water Act as the only legal mechanisms we have to engage the energy corporations threatening our communities, and to ensure basic regulatory review and accountability. We cannot allow such precious laws to be replaced by greed-driven legislation penned by the Fossil Fuel Industry and championed by the short-sighted officials on their payroll.”

— 7 Directions of Service Co-Founder Dr. Cavalier-Keck said in a joint statement with Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights

———————————————————————————————————————

OPPOSING THE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY ACT OF 2022: On Wednesday, Senator Manchin released the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, a bill that would prioritize fossil fuel projects, undermine environmental review and public input, approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and as a result, harm communities of color. The League of Conservation Voters and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters issued statements in opposition of the proposed bill.

OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs at League of Conservation Voters Matthew Davis said, “After seeing the publicly released bill text, we continue to oppose this permitting rollback because it would prioritize fossil fuel interests over the environment and the health of impacted communities, which are disproportionately communities of color and low wealth communities. The NEPA process is not to blame for project delays. The billion-dollar investment in the Inflation Reduction Act to improve environmental review and deepen public engagement is an evidence-backed way to achieve better projects more quickly that does not perpetuate environmental racism. We also join our colleagues in Virginia in strong opposition to the agreement in this bill to approve the fracked methane gas Mountain Valley Pipeline that would pose unacceptable risks to communities, especially low-income, elderly communities that live along the pipeline’s path, as well as Indigenous and Black communities that would be impacted by the pipeline’s proposed extension, and threaten water quality.”

VLCV TAKE: Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Michael Town said, “At a time when we need to be doing everything we can to secure a clean energy future, the Mountain Valley Pipeline would take us in the wrong direction, undermining the very tangible progress on climate action that Congress has taken in recent months. The MVP is billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and lacks the permits it needs to proceed because it’s a flawed project and shouldn’t be built. Congress shouldn’t break precedent and change the rules for this pipeline or any other particular project. That’s bad policy and bad for the communities in Southwest Virginia already dealing with the environmental degradation the MVP has already forced upon them.”

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT WEEK OF ACTION: To celebrate National Voter Registration Day, LCV Education Fund hosted a national Civic Engagement Week of Action to educate and engage voters who have been historically excluded from voter registration initiatives. Each day focused on a different theme of civic engagement, including encouraging voters to make a voting plan, taking action to work at the polls, community engagement, and artivism. LCV Education Fund also announced an expansion of its 2022 voter registration program into two additional states, Michigan and Wisconsin. This expansion is a continuation of LCVEF’s largest non-partisan, site-based voter registration program, which is already running in five key states. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Education Fund Director of Civic Engagement Hilda Nucete said, “From tightening voting laws to redistricting, communities across the country have been fraught with efforts to further disenfranchise voters who see the greatest impacts from the climate crisis and pollution. Ensuring that every voter accesses their right to vote is crucial to protecting our democracy and our environment. We are proud to be working at the grassroots level to ensure that every eligible voter has equitable access to casting their ballot.”

RATIFYING THE KIGALI AMENDMENT: Following Wednesday’s Senate vote to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the 2016 Montreal Protocol, LCV issued a statement celebrating the news. The amendment would phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are greenhouse gases that are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and commonly used in appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “We are thrilled to see the United States join 137 countries around the world in ratifying the Kigali Amendment, which will not only help tackle climate change by phasing down polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), but also support U.S. manufacturing and create tens of thousands of jobs. Ratifying this amendment is a big deal for the climate, helping to avoid the climate-warming emissions equivalent of two years’ worth of the entire world’s emissions today by 2050, and up to half a degree Celsius of warming this century. We are grateful to Leader Schumer, Chairman Carper, and every senator who supported the amendment for taking this important step which helps further re-establish American leadership on climate at the global level.”

LCVVF WEEKLY MEMO: This week, LCV Victory Fund’s 2022 election work continued heating up with new ads and continued engagement at the doors during the final weeks of the first campaign phase. Since launching the $12.8 million field organizing effort, organizers have now knocked over 350,000 doors and engaged over 50,000 voters. LCVVF also launched two new TV ads this week, titled “Fits Right In” and “Closer Look,” in KS-03 and WA-08 opposing Amanda Adkins and Matt Larkin in their respective runs for U.S Congress. Read the full memo here.

GETTING FROM POINT A TO POINT CLEAN: On Thursday, Chispa National Communications & Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez joined other storytellers for a virtual roundtable discussion and film screening, titled “Getting From Point A to Point Clean” as part of NYC Climate week. Hosted by the Redford Center, the storytellers featured their own short films about how communities across the country are shaping clean transportation efforts. Juarez is a critically acclaimed director and producer whose work focuses on elevating the stories of people of color not often captured in mainstream media. She was also featured in an article by The Arizona Republic this week.

TAKING ACTION WITH DATA: Today, Chispa National Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro-Loaiza joined the Redford Center, Plume Lambs, and Accu Weather to talk about the importance of data and its support for storytelling and mobilizing people to take action. In the one-hour panel discussion, we showcased Chispa Nevada’s short film collaboration highlighting air quality issues in the state and how youth and older generations are using data to help implement equitable policies. Watch the film here!

DISCLOSE ACT: LCV condemned Senate Republicans’ filibuster on Thursday blocking the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would have helped protect our electoral campaigns from secret spending by special interests. LCV sent a letter to the entire U.S. Senate on Wednesday urging members to vote YES on the bill, noting that “When our democracy is distorted to favor rich and powerful polluters, we all suffer.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “We are disappointed but not surprised that Senate Republicans are shamefully blocking legislation to help fight the prominent influence of secret corporate dollars on our elections. LCV stands with President Biden, Leader Schumer, Senator Whitehouse, and others as they lead this continuing fight for free and fair elections with transparency and an equal voice for all. Undisclosed and unlimited secret campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests threaten both our environment and our democracy.  They distort our politics, drowning out communities of color and communities with low wealth, who are most impacted by the climate crisis and pollution, by giving even more power to polluters and the super wealthy. Our leaders must take bold action to eliminate the filibuster, which Republicans continue to leverage to block critical pro-democracy and pro-environment legislation. We strongly urge the Senate to work toward a more free and fair democracy by passing comprehensive reforms, including the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and the Protecting Our Democracy Act, in addition to the DISCLOSE Act and other important legislation.” 

LCV VICTORY FUND LAUNCHES NEW AD CAMPAIGN IN KS-03: On Tuesday, LCV Victory Fund launched a new TV ad highlighting Amanda Adkins’ record putting special interests ahead of Kansas families. The ad specifically calls out Adkins’ work for former Governor Sam Brownback, as a corporate lobbyist and the contributions her campaign accepts from the oil and gas industry. The ad, titled “Fits Right In,” is a part of a $2 million campaign across six battleground U.S. House Districts. Watch the ad here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Regional Campaigns Director Joann Saridakis said, “Kansans cannot afford another lobbyist insider like Amanda Adkins who’s beholden to special interests. We need a leader who will fight for us and not do the bidding of the big oil companies. Representative Davids voted to lower costs, create good-paying jobs, and give every community the chance to build a future. Kansas simply cannot trust Adkins to fight for them.”

LCV ACTION FUND ENDORSES KEY CANDIDATES IN WI AND MI: This week, LCV Action Fund, which works to elect pro-environment candidates, announced the endorsement of Brad Pfaff for election to the U.S. House representing Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District as well as the endorsement of three candidates for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan, U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11), Judge Carl Marlinga (MI-10) and State Representative Shri Thanedar (MI-13).

OUR WI TAKE: On Brad Pfaff’s endorsement, LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “State Senator Brad Pfaff has spent his life fighting to build a healthy environment with clean air and clean water for all people in Wisconsin, and we are thrilled to support his campaign so he can continue this work in Congress. Brad Pfaff will fight for all communities, and especially rural communities, to be part of our transition to a clean energy future and ensure that our climate solutions work for communities across western Wisconsin.” 

OUR MI TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are thrilled to support these outstanding candidates for election to the U.S. House representing Michigan. Communities in the Great Lakes State need leaders who will fight for a healthy climate, justice, and jobs. As elected officials, Haley Stevens, Carl Marlinga, and Shri Thanedar have all demonstrated their commitment to protecting our environment and communities from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. We can count on them to continue to protect Michiganders’ health and fight for environmental justice for all people, not corporate polluters and special interests.”

MATT LARKINS IS TOO EXTREME: LCV Victory Fund and EDF Action Votes launched a new ad opposing WA-08 candidate Matt Larkin on Tuesday. The ad is titled “Closer Look” and is a part of LCVVF’s $2 million effort to oppose pro-polluter, MAGA extreme candidates.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Regional Campaigns Director Joann Saridakis said, “The last thing Washingtonians need is extreme, anti-choice MAGA Republican Matt Larkin interfering with their personal, private healthcare decisions. Washington state already has a champion for reproductive freedom, climate action, and lowering costs in Congresswoman Kim Schrier. We need to send Rep. Schrier back to keep protecting Washington for the long run.”

AHEAD OF PUBLIC LANDS DAY, 100 GROUPS CALL ON BIDEN TO DESIGNATE AVI KWA AME A NATIONAL MONUMENT: On Monday,  LCV and 100 key environmental organizations sent a letter to President Biden urging him to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. The letter comes ahead of Public Lands Day this Saturday, September 24 and on the heels of Secretary Haaland’s recent visit to the proposed national monument site in southern Nevada. The 100 organizations that signed the letter represent millions of members and supporters across the country joining the Indigenous leaders and nations, state and local governments, conservation organizations, outdoor recreationists, small businesses, artists, and advocates that are all urging the president to designate Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. Read the full letter here.

SENATOR BENNET’S PUSH TO PROTECT COLORADO PUBLIC LANDS EARNS WIDESPREAD SUPPORT: On Tuesday, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet delivered dozens of letters from advocates urging President Biden to use his presidential authorities, including the Antiquities Act, to protect the landscapes included in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act and designate a Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. The signers, which included LCV and Conservation Colorado, consisted of a broad support base that included Colorado veterans, state and local officials, conservation and outdoor recreation advocates, business owners, and descendants of those in the 10th Mountain Division. 

DESIGNATING CASTNER RANGE A NATIONAL MONUMENT WOULD HELP NATURE-DEPRIVED COMMUNITIES: On Thursday, the Hispanic Access Foundation and the Center for American Progress released a joint brief, “Making Castner Range a National Monument Would Help Nature-Deprived Communities.” The paper puts forth that designating Castner Range as a national monument would help close the nature gap in and beyond El Paso, Texas. A new analysis in El Paso found that 9 in 10 Latinos and almost 95% of low-income communities in the area surrounding the proposed monument are nature deprived.  For over 50 years, the majority Latino and low-income community surrounding Castner Range in El Paso, Texas has been advocating for national monument status for its ecologically and recreationally vital, ancient, and sacred lands. The analysis breaks down nature deprivation surrounding Castner Range by race and ethnicity, income, and household composition. In this pivotal moment, after Secretary Haaland’s local visit in March and countless congressional efforts, it is due time that President Biden use the Antiquities Act to safeguard Castner Range as a national monument to actualize community conservation efforts, close the nature gap, and create more monuments that tell the diverse story of people in this country. Read the full brief here.

CELEBRATE NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY WITH NEW NATIONAL MONUMENTS, STRONGER PROTECTIONS: Leading up to our celebration of National Public Lands Day tomorrow, Saturday, September 24th, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld wrote a blog post about how we must commit to protecting more historic, cultural, and ecological resources for current and future generations. Over the last few weeks, senior officials in the Biden administration have visited three sites: Avi Kwa Ame in the Mojave Desert in southern Nevada, the Camp Hale-Continental Divide area, and Castner Range, near El Paso, Texas – all of whose local communities are asking President Biden to use his authority to protect these special places as national monuments. In addition to executive action, Congress can also take action to protect more public lands and wildlife. The post highlights two important pieces of legislation pending in Congress, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, that if passed would help protect our lands and waters.

OUR TAKE: In the blog post, Sittenfeld wrote, “Leaders in Washington must accelerate efforts to reach America’s first-ever conservation goal of protecting 30% of the country’s lands and waters by 2030. It’s time for the Biden-Harris administration to designate new national monuments and for Congress to pass legislation to establish new wilderness areas and preserve landscapes from polluters and development all while supporting the outdoor recreation economy and making access to nature more equitable.”

———————————————————————————————————————

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

NEW JERSEY INCREASES OFFSHORE WIND TARGETS: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order on Wednesday increasing the state’s offshore wind goals by nearly 50% to achieve 11,000 MW by 2040. The announcement came during a Climate Week celebration in New York City during its “Climate Week.

NJLCV TAKE: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “I was thrilled to attend today’s Climate Week celebration in New York City, and even more excited to hear Governor Murphy announce New Jersey will increase offshore wind production by 11,000 MW by 2040! Governor Murphy had already made renewable energy a priority for the Garden State, and committed to 7,500 MW of offshore wind by 2035. Today’s announcement is a promise of a strong clean energy future with good-paying union jobs and a stable long-term economy in New Jersey. We ask that the Governor also remain vigilant about providing opportunities to marginalized workers of color who too often have been excluded from economic opportunities.”

OFFSHORE WIND BOAT TOUR: LCV state affiliates the Environmental League of Massachusetts and Maine Conservation Voters joined partners in the New England for Offshore Wind coalition to host their second boat tour of the Block Island wind farm on Tuesday, bringing legislators, advocates and business and labor leaders to see the turbines up close. The five-turbine project was the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, and on Thursday, Rhode Island governor Dan McKee celebrated its five year anniversary. Following the tour, event speaker Dave Monti wrote about the fishing conditions at the Block Island project and the benefits of the wind farm on fish populations in the Providence Journal. See tweets about the event from ELM and NE4OSW.

CALCULATING THE COST OF CLIMATE CHANGE: Spectrum News 1 interviewed the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) energy justice fellow Dion Mensah this week about a report released by the OEC and partners earlier in the summer that highlights the costs of climate change on municipal budgets. The first-of-its-kind report details the financial strain of factors such as extreme heat, severe weather, harmful algal blooms, heavy rains, and other climate-related damages which will cost local governments in Ohio billions. These findings are so compelling that OEC was invited by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to testify about the report findings at a US Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing in August.

OEC TAKE: Dion Mensah, energy justice fellow for the Ohio Environmental Council, said, “I’ve heard people say it’s scary and startling and it really is. There’s no sugarcoating it. Climate change is real. No matter how we politically identify, these dollars are going to come and hit us hard or hit our local budgets really hard. People will either have to pay less now in 2022, or more later down the line.”

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT WEEK OF ACTION EVENTS: LCV state affiliates around the country celebrated civic engagement week by hosting community events to engage and educate voters!

In Nevada, Chispa NV and Democracy For All Nevada hosted a community event at Servehzah Bottle Shop and Tap Room in Las Vegas. The event featured music, food, guest speakers, an art activation, and a screening of “Mi Voto, Mi Comunidad.” Speakers touched on the importance of voter registration and civic engagement, and how to get involved before the Nov. 8 election.  See a video and photos from the event here.

In North Carolina and Michigan, the teams will be hosting family events tomorrow with music, local food trucks and interactive art activities to bring together a community of voters and future voters of all ages.

CHISPA AZ AND THE GREAT BEND OF THE GILA: This past week, Chispa AZ Federal Climate Organizer DJ Portugal arranged a trip to meet with the community affected by the total and fatal mismanagement of land by the Arizona Department of Transportation in the Great Bend of the Gila. This hike and community event could not have happened with Chispa AZ’s partnerships Sierra Club AZ and RespectGreatBend. The team met with community, brought out our #chispita members, visited sacred petroglyphs, learned parts of the story of the land. and, above all, shared space with each other! Check out their post here!

CHISPA FLORIDA AT THE ORLANDO STRONG SYMPOSIUM 2022: Last week, Chispa Florida was part of the fantastic Orlando Strong Symposium 2022 hosted by Contigo Fund. In this space, different organizations and leaders worked together, participating in important workshops with essential themes about our community. Check out Florida’s post here.

COMING UP:

SEPTEMBER 15 – OCTOBER 15: Hispanic Heritage Month

SEPTEMBER 24: National Public Lands Day

MONTH OF OCTOBER: LGBTQ+ History Month

OCTOBER 3: Oral arguments in Supreme Court case Sackett v. EPA

OCTOBER 10: Indigenous Peoples Day

OCTOBER 18: 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act

NOVEMBER 8: Election Day

 

Related Articles