THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – DECEMBER 18, 2020

Courtnee Connon, 727-744-4163, courtnee_connon@lcv.org

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:

“A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior. Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce.  I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land.”

— Representative Deb Haaland on being nominated to lead the Department of the Interior

 

“I didn’t appreciate this until talking with @jnoisecat, but the transition from a president who keeps an Andrew Jackson portrait in the oval office to one who puts a Native American in charge of Interior is pretty huge.”

— Washington Post Reporter Dave Weigel via Twitter

 

“As a Black teenager growing up in Waycross, GA in the 1950s, my mom used to pick somebody else’s cotton. Today, those 82 year old hands picked her son to be a United States Senator from Georgia.”

— Reverend Raphael Warnock via Twitter

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

NBC News: Biden selects Deb Haaland as Interior secretary, Michael Regan as EPA chief

The Washington Post: Biden picks former EPA chief Gina McCarthy as White House climate czar

CNN: Biden expected to nominate North Carolina environmental official to run EPA

Bloomberg: Biden Unveils Team ‘Ready on Day One’ to Fight Climate Change

NPR: Biden To Name Gina McCarthy, Former EPA Chief, As Domestic Climate Coordinator

Atmos “The Frontline”: A Bright, Green Future

E&E News: Biden taps N.M. Rep. Deb Haaland for Interior secretary

 

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:

The New York Times (NC): Biden Picks Michael Regan, North Carolina Environment Chief, to Head E.P.A

NPR (NM): In Historic Move, Biden To Pick Native American Rep. Haaland As Interior Secretary

Huffington Post: Joe Biden Taps Michael Regan As EPA Administrator

 

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ADMINISTRATION DREAM TEAM: During presidential transitions, people often say, personnel is policy. With this week’s announcement of key leaders of the climate team, the Biden-Harris administration is taking voters’ climate mandate seriously, delivering a historic, visionary team that will make their campaign promises to confront the climate crisis and environmental injustice a reality on day one. 

OUR DREAM TEAM TAKE🏀: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “As we often say at LCV, elections have consequences, and President-elect Joe Biden’s dream team of climate champions makes that abundantly clear. These visionary leaders will ensure that the Biden-Harris administration fights hard every single day for the health of all communities and centers bold climate action in racial justice and equity. We know personnel is policy, and we are thrilled to work with this historic administration that better reflects our diversity to address the interwoven climate, racial, economic, and health crises with a whole-of-government approach and build a safer and healthier planet for our future generations. Inauguration Day can’t come soon enough — we’re ready to get to work.”

OUR DOI TAKE🌄: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Congresswoman Deb Haaland is a force — an inspirational leader and advocate for climate action, conservation, and sovereign Tribal Nations. She’s well positioned to drive forward Biden’s ambitious conservation agenda — including protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 — and ensure we use all of our tools to fight climate change and share nature’s benefits equitably with all communities.  The contrast between the oil lobbyist David Bernhardt and the first Indigenous person to lead Interior could not be more stark.”

CVNM’S DOI TAKE: Conservation Voters New Mexico Director Demis Foster said, “Representative Haaland, if confirmed, will be the first Indigenous person to lead the Interior Department. She will bring her community-centered connection to land and water to her leadership role in ways that fully embody New Mexico’s  deep-rooted values. Her nomination signals the Biden administration’s recognition of the need to truly engage and consult with the tribes and pueblos on land decisions and acknowledge that we are all occupying Indigenous lands.”

OUR EPA TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are confident Michael Regan will rebuild the EPA, restore the central role of science, and advance health protections for people and the air, water and land upon which we depend to thrive. As DEQ Secretary, Regan delivered climate and environmental plans for North Carolina based on science and stakeholder input. In this role, it will be critical for Regan to listen to and center the needs of environmental justice communities in the EPA’s policy making. The EPA will play a key role in delivering on Biden’s commitment to create and enforce policies that address the environmental harms that have disproportionately impacted Tribal communities, people of color, and low-income communities.”  

NC LCV’S EPA TAKE: North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Director of Government Relations Dan Crawford said, “With Michael Regan, President-elect Biden continues adding to his historically qualified and diverse Cabinet, replacing a fossil fuel industry puppet with an experienced EPA air quality scientist, just as Gov. Cooper did when he put Regan in charge of our DEQ four years ago. Regan has gone to bat for North Carolinians against polluters, and now the rest of the country will get to benefit from his leadership. North Carolina’s loss will be America’s gain.” 

OUR CEQ TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Brenda Mallory brings decades of experience working on climate and natural resource issues to the helm of CEQ and will play a vital role in driving environmental policy across the federal government and delivering on the incoming Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to centering environmental justice. Mallory is extremely knowledgeable on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and will lead the Council’s efforts to strengthen and improve this law in ways that ensure people have a meaningful voice in projects that stand to harm their community. Mallory has seen how policies can be used to exclude people, so we’re very excited for her leadership and commitment to ensure everyone — especially communities of color and low income communities overburdened by pollution —  can benefit from how we address climate change.”

OUR WHITE HOUSE CLIMATE TEAM TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi are true climate stars and an exceptional team to lead the charge at the White House on climate solutions, clean energy jobs, and environmental justice starting on day one of the Biden-Harris administration. McCarthy’s tireless leadership as EPA administrator under President Obama and her decades of public service at the state and federal level are unparalleled. And from the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration, to New York state, to the Biden campaign, Zaidi’s smarts, state and federal policy expertise, and passion for combatting the climate crisis are a huge asset.”

OUR DOT TAKE🚴🚆: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfled said,“We’re thrilled for Pete Buttigieg to lead the Department of Transportation to a 100% clean energy future and deliver on Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Buttigieg’s experience advocating for clean, place-based transportation at the local level and in his 2020 presidential campaign plans for environmentally-smart infrastructure and disaster resilience and preparedness bodes well for state and local partnerships to reduce pollution. As we transition to a zero-emission future, we fully expect the Department of Transportation to ensure frontline communities and communities of color are front and center at every step.”  

OUR DOE TAKE🔌💡💥: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Governor Jennifer Granholm led Michigan out of the last recession by investing in clean energy and transportation to create economic growth and high quality jobs. She knows these issues inside and out, and her experience will be invaluable as the Biden administration works to deliver a 100% clean energy economy. Equitable deployment of clean energy and its workforce development must be major priorities throughout the Biden Energy Department, and as Energy Secretary Granholm will make sure that their bold commitments become a reality.” 

MI LCV’S DOE TAKE: Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “As Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm led with smart policies to reduce dangerous pollution in our air and move us toward clean, renewable energy, like spearheading Michigan’s first renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, investing in battery storage, and promoting environmental justice. She has the expertise and track record to accomplish President-elect Biden’s vision to put Americans to work transitioning our economy toward clean, renewable energy.”

ELECTORAL COLLEGE CERTIFIED: On Monday, the Electoral College certified President-elect Biden as the official winner of the presidential election.  In what is typically a formality, an uninteresting and forgone certification, all eyes turned to watch our institutions withstand Trump’s relentless attempts to cling to his power at the expense of our democracy. But, with the power of the people — and their votes — behind Biden, he earned a decisive victory with 306 electoral votes, making him our official president-elect. 

CORONA🚍: All eyes are on Congress to reach agreements and either pass a mega-bill to fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year and provide some initial relief and additional support for vaccination efforts amidst the COVID pandemic or pass a short term funding continuing resolution before the government shuts down at midnight tonight. There are promising reports on reaching agreements for some aspects of the deals, and we are engaged in pushing pro-environment, climate action, and clean energy provisions in the sprawling set of agreements, while underscoring the need to help frontline workers and families struggling to get by. 

RETURN OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE: After a successful two years of leadership from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, including a report that detailed  a comprehensive, ambitious and equity driven set of legislative climate solutions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the Select Committee will return in the 117th Congress. Following an election where voters demanded bold and just climate action, Speaker Pelosi, Select Committee Chair Kathy Castor, and House Democrats are continuing to rise to the occasion and prioritize the climate crisis.   

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Speaker Pelosi’s announcement of the continuation of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis with Chair Kathy Castor continuing her excellent leadership in the 117th Congress is great news. For the last two years, Chair Castor has led the Committee in crafting a powerful roadmap for solving the climate crisis, prioritizing environmental justice, and transitioning to a clean energy economy…The climate crisis requires an all-of-government approach, and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is critically important to making that happen. We look forward to continuing the fight alongside Speaker Pelosi and Chair Castor for bold solutions to the climate crisis centered on racial justice and equity — there is so much work to be done.”

🌊OCEAN CLIMATE ACTION WEBINAR: LCV, the Center for American Progress and Ocean Defense Initiative held a discussion on the future of ocean climate action. Former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner moderated a panel featuring House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva and other experts who discussed the ocean climate nexus and how to build momentum to implement ocean climate solutions.  Watch a recording of the event here

OUR TAKE: LCV Board Chair and Former EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner said, “Just as the ocean plays a fundamental role in our planet’s climate system, it must play a critical role in our approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change. By implementing a full suite of ocean-based climate solutions, we can bolster frontline communities most at risk from climate change, increase the resilience of ocean ecosystems, and put the United States back in a leadership role in the global effort to fight the climate crisis. We need to swiftly use every tool in the toolbox to fight climate change, so I hope we’ll see bold action to harness the power of the ocean by the incoming Biden administration as well as more momentum in Congress for legislation such as Chair Grijalva’s Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.”

 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

CLIMATE BUDGET (WA): In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee is looking forward to the upcoming legislative session with several climate-related proposals that he announced on Thursday as a part of a week-long budget rollout. Among many highlights, Inslee’s plan would limit greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean fuels program, increase clean energy projects, fund clean transportation like high-speed rail, require buildings to become zero-carbon by 2030, and make these improvements in a just and equitable way.

COMING UP:

December 18: Government funding expires TODAY at 11:59 PM

December 31: 2020 expires

January 3: Swearing in of the 117th Congress 

January 5: Georgia runoff elections for federal Senate races

January 6: Arctic Refuge lease sale

January 20: Trump’s presidency expires

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