THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 9, 2019

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.

 

🌽 IN IOWA FOR THE FAIR? Meet at the wind turbine Sunday at 12:30pm CT and look up for a special ✈️ message to Senator Joni Ernst from LCV. (Contact Jennessa Agnew for more info – jennessa_agnew@lcv.org)

 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

“The question is not if, but when we will address the climate crisis. Humanity simply cannot survive the coming years unless we radically transform the way we treat our world. The only question before us is how many will have to suffer before we act.”

— Representative Ilhan Omar via Twitter in response to the United Nations’ new report on climate change and lands, which came out on Thursday.

 

“[T]he No. 1 priority is climate change. There’s nothing that affects my children, grandchildren, and their children, right now, more than climate.”

— Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) via The Daily Beast

 

“There was a sense that if the science agreed with the politics, then the policymakers would consider it to be ‘good science,’ and if it didn’t agree with the politics, then it was something that was flawed and needed to be done again.”

— Top climate scientist Lewis Ziska who, after more than two decades at the USDA, quit in protest of the Trump administration politicizing science via Politico

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

Houston Chronicle: EPA moves to speed up pipeline reviews

The Chronicle: Lollapalooza increases green initiatives

 

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:

 

MLive (MI): Ignoring Great Lakes at Democratic debate was ‘unacceptable’ to environmentalists

Counter Punch (NY): The Promise of Offshore Wind

NBC 25 (MI): Statewide Energy Assessment highlights need to improve reliability and costs

 

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: 2020 candidates are prioritizing climate change. Check out this week’s roundup of what candidates have said and done to put climate action front and center.

 

IT’S ALL CONNECTED — 3 RURAL PLANS INCLUDE CLIMATE: Ahead of the Iowa State Fair, which began on Thursday and always includes a strong showing of presidential hopefuls, three Democratic candidates rolled out new plans that detail the ways they will partner with rural America. All three plans feature the critical role that rural communities will play in our country’s response to the climate crisis.

RURAL PLAN 1: In Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s plan, Rebuilding Rural America for Our Future, she specifically addresses the role that rural leaders and farmers will play in building a new green sustainable economy. Gillibrand notes that farmers “have long been stewards of our natural resources,” that their work is directly affected by climate change, and that they can be on the forefront of solutions to the climate crisis.

RURAL PLAN 2: Senator Elizabeth Warren also released an agriculturally focused plan, A New Farm Economy. Warren points out the ways that climate change disrupts food production, and proposes paying farmers to fight climate change, making it economically feasible for farmers to be a part of solutions to climate change.

AND ANOTHER ONE — RURAL PLAN 3: Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Plan from the Heartland invests in renewable energy like wind and solar as a means to drive growth in rural areas while also tackling the climate crisis. She also plans to expand energy efficiency programs, safeguard public lands, and expand farmer conservation efforts.

 

AND ON THE OFFICIAL SIDE, CORY’S CLIMATE CORPS: This week, Senator Cory Booker introduced climate legislation, the Climate Stewardship Act of 2019, which would support climate initiatives on more than 100 million acres of farmland, combat deforestation, and re-establish the New Deal’s ultra-popular Civilian Conservation Corps. As we learned from the new IPCC report on climate change and lands, solving the climate crisis will require transforming our relationship with our lands, and this bill initiates just that type of change.

 

THE REPORT HAS LANDED: On Thursday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report that identifies lands restoration and protection as a key part of fighting the climate crisis — eliminating fossil fuels remains of the utmost importance, but will not, alone, get us out of this crisis. The findings of the 107 scientists from over 52 countries who authored the report make it clear that we need to fundamentally transform our extractive relationship with our land. Here in the U.S. that can start with strong federal, state, and local policies that protect and restore our public lands.

OUR TAKE:  LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo’s key takeaway: “Today’s IPCC report is crystal clear — lands have to be a part of our climate solution or else we’re screwed.”

 

THANKS FOR YOUR EMAIL, I’M OUT OF THE OFFICE: Late this week the Trump EPA proposed a rule on Section 401 of the Clean Water Act that would limit states’ and tribes’ authority to protect their waters from damaging pipelines and other projects. Is it a coincidence that this damaging rule was released on a Friday in August?

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said: “Section 401 is an incredibly important piece of the Clean Water Act that has allowed states and tribes to protect the waters their communities depend on for drinking, recreation, and fueling healthy local economies. At a time when communities across the country are suffering from water crises in the form of dead zones, lead contamination, and so many other challenges, this proposed rule is the exact opposite of what is needed.”

 

PROGRESS ISN’T ALWAYS A STRAIGHT LINE: America’s Transportation Act of 2019’ passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works last week and includes a major section on tackling climate change and moving towards cleaner transportation options. Unfortunately the bill also includes a rollback of public input and environmental review processes for pipelines.

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said: “LCV applauds the efforts of Ranking Member Carper to tackle climate change in the surface transportation bill approved by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works … Unfortunately, while this is an important first step towards cleaner transportation options, the public input and environmental review rollbacks buried in the middle of the bill are concerning. We will continue to fight to remove these rollbacks of critical gas pipeline review processes that have nothing to do with surface transportation as the bill moves forward.”

 

🤟🌎🤟: Rock the Earth, a program of the LCV Education Fund, officially launched an educational campaign for climate action at Lollapalooza Music Festival 2019 last weekend in Chicago. Students from Loyola University Chicago joined the effort to encourage composting and musicians including Gary Clark, Jr., J.I.D and Loud Luxury voiced their support for Rock the Earth’s mission at the festival.

 

BUT MY HEART CRIED OUT FOR YOU, CALIFORNIA: With California’s 2019 wildfire season well underway, LCV Campaigns Intern Allegra Smith shared her experience witnessing past wildfires in her home state from afar. She writes: “Going to college comes with many stressors. I expected some of them: the scramble to find a seemingly compatible roommate (on social media), cavernous lecture halls with more people than you can count, watching the sun rise from the library for the first time. Witnessing wildfires sweep across my home state while I was frustratingly far away was not one of them.”

 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: 

 

FIXING THE SYSTEM FROM WITHIN (MI) Michigan Governor Whitmer directed departments in her administration including Management, Technology and Budget, and Health and Human Services to implement more sustainable practices and reduce energy usage this week.

THE CVM’S TAKE: Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak said: “Gov. Whitmer is rightly moving to have departments … immediately implement cleaner energy solutions and reduce our state government’s impact on climate change. This is long overdue.”

 

KEEP THE LIGHT ON (MI): A Statewide Energy Assessment requested by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and supported by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters was presented to a joint committee this week.

THE CVM’S TAKE: Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Lisa Wozniak said, “… we commend the Michigan Public Service Commission for conducting an in-depth assessment of our state’s energy system …  We must aggressively move away from coal-fired power plants and fossil fuels to more clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar, to improve reliability and rein in rising electricity costs.”

 

POWER TO THE PEOPLE (CA): California citizens now have until August 19 to apply to help redraw the state’s electoral map following the 2020 Census, in hopes of recruiting a more representative group to staff the ‘Citizens Redistricting Commission’.

THE CVM’S TAKE: Last month, the California League of Conservation Voters joined California Common Cause’s request for an extension of the application deadline through the end of September. While August 19 isn’t the extension they hoped for, Common Cause said, “We’re at least happy that they saw the wisdom of making some extension.”

 

ALL TOGETHER NOW (NM): In New Mexico, local, state, tribal, and federal leaders came together to discuss the state’s clean energy future at the 2019 Energy Summit. The summit closed with Senator Martin Heinrich, Albuquerque’s Mayor Tim Keller, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Navajo Nation President Jonathon Nez, and other local officials announcing commitments to carbon reduction plans.

 

COMING UP: 

September 4: CNN Presidential Climate Forum

September 19-20: MSNBC Presidential Climate Forum

September 20-27: Global Climate Strike Week

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