THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – NOVEMBER 1, 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.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

 

As CA burns, Trump continues to target the nation’s leader in climate policy — worsening the impact of natural disasters happening right now.

— Power Up anchor Jacqueline Alemany via twitter. Check out her full Washington Post article here.

“The oceans are rising and so are we!”.

— Jane Fonda in The Hill article. #FireDrillFridays

Flint is not the only city in America dealing with a lead water crisis. Cities across the country are dealing with water and the places with bad water will increase as infrastructure is allowed to age and not be replaced.

— Mari Copeny A.K.A. Little Miss Flint via twitter.

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

E&E News: Senate prospects of Grand Canyon mining ban

Politico: Big Democratic bloc urges House leaders to move clean energy incentives

E&E News: Senate momentum on spending likely to stall

Washington Post: House passes measures to protect Grand and Chaco canyons

 

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:

 

WQQW (WI): Local groups push for clean energy

E&E News (CO): Gardner slammed by greens over carbon rule vote in new ads

Politico (VA): ‘They have finally woken up’: Democrats flood Virginia legislative races with cash

 

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: Check out this week’s roundup focused on 2020 presidential candidates’ responses to the deadly wildfires ravaging California. 

 

YES WE’LL BE UP LATE ON ELECTION DAY 2019: Our president Gene Karpinski loves to say, “The great thing about elections is that they keep happening.” After LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities historically invested more than $80 million in the 2018 election cycle, helped secure a new pro-environment majority in the House of Representatives, elected 10 new clean energy governors, and made gains for climate action and clean energy in state legislatures and local offices across the country, LCV and our family of connected organizations across the Conservation Voter Movement knew that there was no time to slow down in 2019. Today we’ve released a new memo highlighting key state affiliate investments in 2019 races ranging from relatively high profile Virginia legislative races to more under-the-radar contests like mayors and county commissioners. Check out our new memo to see which election board websites we’ll be constantly refreshing on Tuesday night.

TALK CLIMATE TO ME: The University of New Hampshire released new Granite State Poll results this week, including two exclusive questions fielded for LCV. Here’s what we found: the vast majority of New Hampshire residents support a move to 100% clean energy by 2050 and many self-identified New Hampshire Democrats and independents don’t think the presidential candidates are talking about climate change enough in the 2020 campaign.  

CVM TAKE: LCV New Hampshire State Director Rob Werner said, “The message is clear. Any presidential candidate who wants to win the New Hampshire primary needs to prove to the people of the Granite State that climate action, including an ambitious plan that gets us to 100% clean energy no later than 2050, will be a day one priority and an every day priority if they’re elected.”  

 URANI-UMM…I DON’T THINK SO: This week, the House voted on three bills that would protect our public lands: The Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act, the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (CORE Act). Together, these crucial bills would preserve some of our country’s greatest natural treasures in the Southwest — including permanently withdrawing one million acres of the Grand Canyon from uranium mining, preventing further deadly pollution — and would establish new wilderness conservation and recreation sites in Colorado.  

OUR TAKE (YES WE CANYON): On passage of the Grand Canyon and Chaco Canyon legislation, LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “Today’s votes to protect one million acres around the Grand Canyon from uranium mining and areas surrounding Chaco Canyon from oil and gas drilling are a victory for the indigenous communities who have fought tirelessly for hundreds of years to protect their ancestral lands from further desecration, and for all of those impacted by deadly extractive pollution.”

DOUBLE TAKE TO THE CORE: On passage of the CORE Act, LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “Today’s vote is a great victory for our country’s natural and cultural heritage, our public lands and waters, and the outdoor recreation economy…The question now is: Will Senator Gardner finally support Senator Bennet’s CORE Act companion in the Senate and urge Leader McConnell to allow votes on this bill?”    

LWCF WANTS YOU 👉👉: On Monday, LCV and 30 of our state affiliates from the Conservation Voter Movement sent a letter to Congress urging full, permanent, and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as a part of the broader upcoming appropriations package.  LWCF, which funds public lands initiatives ranging from protections for national parks to building local baseball fields and making outdoor spaces accessible to all communities, was permanently reauthorized this year, but reauthorization was only half the battle because it doesn’t guarantee funding. Congress, you gotta fund the fund.   

OUR TAKE: In the letter, the CVM writes, “For generations, people across the country have enjoyed, benefitted from, and worked to protect our nation’s lands and waters…we urge Congress to commit to protect and enhance these incredible places by fully funding LWCF at $900M each and every year.” 

LWCFail: Yesterday the Senate defeated an amendment offered by Mike Lee to reduce funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 64-29. The vote reinforced the strong and bipartisan support that the Land and Water Conservation Fund enjoys.  Senator Lee trotted out tired and discredited arguments that somehow we have to choose between funding the preservation of our national parks and other public lands and investing in their maintenance. The reality is that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is essential to securing the future of our national parks and America’s majestic public lands writ large, and we are glad the Senate wisely rejected this attack.  

THE LETTER OF THE LAW (🔥): Last week, LCV sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This week, the American Bar Association upped the letter ante by deeming VanDyke “not qualified” for the position, including peer assessments of VanDyke as “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue,” and lacking a “commitment to being candid and truthful.” During the committee hearing, Senator Coons called the letter “fairly damning, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said it raised “some pretty darned serious concerns.”       

MORE THAN PIPE DREAMS: This week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted on the Water Quality and Job Protection Act, which would make important progress towards addressing our country’s failing water infrastructure by increasing funding that goes beyond simply fixing pipes — it would encourage natural infrastructure solutions, force utilities to study the impacts of climate change on water systems, and provide new resources for communities whose infrastructure has been ignored for too long. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “We greatly appreciate the efforts of Chairman DeFazio and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Napolitano for their leadership in addressing our nation’s water infrastructure crisis and look forward to continuing to work together on the many water challenges facing our communities…Although we do not like the bill’s extensions of certain pollution permits for water utilities that have not demonstrated actual need for such a change, we believe the provision is limited in scope, and that on the whole, the bill moves us forward in the critical fight to ensure every family has access to clean water.”

 MO’ (DARK) MONEY, MO’ PROBLEMS: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse led the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis in a hearing that discussed the major influence giant corporations (ahem, Big Oil) have played in blocking climate action. Whitehouse called out the fossil fuel industry’s role in it all. The hearing included testimony from scientists, activists, and watchdog groups who’ve identified real dangers of corporate deceit.

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We desperately need to reform our democracy, get polluter money out of politics, and ensure that the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and toxic pollution have a seat at the table when we advance ambitious and equitable national climate policies.”

+MOAR OF WHAT WE’RE HEARING: Per usual, Nancy’s House is taking their commitment to our planet seriously (if only the leadership of other chambers and branches could say the same…).  This week, The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing called, “Solving the Climate Crisis: Opportunities in Agriculture,” and the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment discussed, “Trump’s Wrong Turn on Clean Cars: The Effects of Fuel Efficiency Rollbacks on Climate, Car Companies and California.” People across the country are feeling the urgency of the climate crisis, but in the House we trust — Nancy’s on it. 

TIRE PRESSURE LOW, AUTOMAKER PRESSURE HIGH: In a New York Times article this week,  Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi reveal that the Trump administration is pressuring carmakers to stand by the administration’s dismantling of California’s emissions standards.  General Motors and Toyota, who previously took no position on California’s rule, are now singing a different tune, creating a distinct split in the auto industry, as Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW publicly sided with California in July. 

🤓 EVERYONE’S FAV SUBJ — TAX CREDIT EXTENDERS!: This week, a bipartisan duo of representatives — Democrat Bill Pascrell and Republican Peter King — introduced a bill that would extend the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for offshore wind facilities through 2027, which is set to expire next year. This is a no-brainer — the economy and the environment stand to benefit from continued investment in the wind industry.    

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said, “Offshore wind has great potential to provide our communities with the clean energy and good, family-supporting jobs that we need. Passing clean energy tax incentives is our big chance this year to advance climate solutions and move us towards 100 % clean economy and net zero emissions by 2050.”

CALIFORNIA IS ON FIRE: Former LCV Government Affairs Intern Ellie Baker shared her story on the wildfires in her state of California. Ellie describes the sites of devastation while hiking, the experience of seeing ash float through the air, and how the fires have become much for frequent over the years. She discusses ways California is fighting climate change and suggests there is still much more to be done. Read Ellie’s full story here.

ANDREW YANG’S MILD RESPONSE: Chispa Nevada volunteer Abigail Herrera wrote a blog about her interaction with Andrew Yang at the People’s Action Presidential Forum in Las Vegas. She recounts how disappointing his answer was when she asked about nuclear waste dumping in Nevada. In addition to Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders and Julián Castro were also in attendance. You can read the full blog here.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: 

DON’T SAY IT’S NOT ABOUT CLIMATE (CA): As California deals with devastating forest fires and regular power outages, California League of Conservation Voters Chief Executive Officer Mary Creasman wrote an op-ed stressing that the PG&E power shutdown is, in fact, a matter of climate change and corporate greed. While some of the blame belongs squarely with the utility, she urges politicians to basically get their s#!t together and step up with visionary leadership.

DISHING OUT PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY (CO): Conservation Colorado and grassroots organization Rocky Mountain Values teamed up to release an accountability ad on Senator Cory Gardner. The ad is part of a new seven-figure accountability effort urging Gardner to stand up for Coloradans who want clean air and a healthy climate, not for big corporate polluters. The campaign launch comes on the heels of Gardner’s vote supporting Trump’s do-nothing ACE rule. At a time when unhealthy air days are up 15 percent according to data from Trump’s own EPA, and the science says we need to drastically cut carbon pollution, Gardner’s constituents can’t afford another Trump rule that would do nothing to address the climate crisis or protect the health of Colorado’s children and families.

CVM TAKE: Executive Director of Conservation Colorado Kelly Nordini said, “Senator Cory Gardner told us he’d protect Colorado’s environment but went to Washington and helped dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to combat air pollution. Colorado is at the forefront of climate impacts, and our state is a national leader in addressing the climate crisis. Unfortunately, Senator Gardner’s record shows he has been more willing to do what special interests and lobbyists in Washington want than to listen to his constituents back home. Senator Gardner must step up to change that.”

🏆🏆🏆3 CHEERS FOR BRIONTÉ (GA): This week, Rachel’s Network announced the six recipients of their inaugural Catalyst Award, and we couldn’t be more proud that Georgia Conservation Voters Executive Director Brionté McCorkle is one of the women environmental leaders of color they’re honoring. As Georgia Conservation Voters Board Chair Krista Brewer said of Brionté, “She has been a strong leader in the Atlanta environmental community, and she has brought a bold vision and clarity of mission to her role as executive director of Georgia Conservation Voters.”  We’re here for it! 

ADA COUNTY FOR THE WIN(D) (ID): Ada County, Idaho’s most populous county, passed a resolution that commits them to 100% clean energy by 2045. As a steps towards that overarching goal, all Ada County-owned facilities will run on 100% renewable energy by 2020, the county will transition its vehicles to electric and promote the expansion of electric vehicles for county residents too. Furthermore, the county has resolved to make this transition to 100% clean energy in just and equitable ways. With Idaho Power, the city of Boise, and Ada County all committed to 100% clean electricity, Idaho is on it’s way to a clean future.

CVM TAKE: In a tweet, Conservation Voters for Idaho wrote, “BIG news: Ada County passed a resolution to commit to 100% clean energy by 2045!! A big thank you to the Ada County Commissioners and operations staff at Ada County for their continued leadership on clean energy.  

COME ON! FEEL OUR ILLINOISE! (IL): Nearly 500 people joined our state partner, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), for a day of advocating for the Clean Energy Jobs Act in Springfield. In the capitol, the coalition rallied behind the bill, which aims to secure 100% renewable energy for Illinois by 2050 and includes a just plan for communities facing major economic losses as coal fired power plants close across Illinois.  

CVM TAKE: In a tweet, the IEC wrote, “The energy in the crowd is electric today!  So many amazing folks here excited about what we can all accomplish together and ready to hold legislators accountable for the critical votes that cast on these issues.”  

 

COMING UP:

November 5: Election Day, with particularly important races in VA, Tucson, AZ, see memo

November 6: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the “Growing American Innovation Now Act” (S. 2662), an anti-environment bill that would codify several proposed Trump Administration rollbacks of the EPA’s New Source Review program for major air polluters.  

November 7: The Weather Channel’s Climate Special with 2020 Candidates 

November 20: Fifth Democratic Primary Debate in Georgia

November 21: Expiration of government funding 

 

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