THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – September 14, 2018

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“This year has seen record-high temperatures across the world, the biggest wildfire in California history, and an unprecedented red tide in Florida. It’s urgent that we act to curb climate change – and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court could make progress virtually impossible.”

— Hillary Clinton reminding us about what’s at stake with the Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court

 

“I felt it was time to leave given the irresponsible, ongoing diminishment of agency resources, which has recklessly endangered our ability to execute our responsibilities as public servants.”

— Ann Williamson, a former EPA scientist, reflecting on the circumstances that led to her departure

 

LCV IN THE NEWS:

The Washington Post: Top green group to spend an unprecedented $60 million on 2018 races

The Hill: Environmental group pledges $60M to help green candidates

The Colorado Sun: Aspen Skiing Co. takes leap in its political activism by targeting 3 Republican U.S. senators in new ad campaign

ThinkProgress: In Texas, a climate denier faces off against a man with a green vision

Colorado Politics: TRAIL MIX | Keeping score on Coffman and Trump

E&E News: 1,400 candidates running on clean energy platforms

ThinkProgress: Green group criticizes Colorado candidate for greenwashing image with climate caucus

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:

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

KRWG (NM): Conservation group takes aim at GOP candidate for governor

WXPR (WI): Critics Say Trump Coal Rules Step Backward for Wisconsin

Politico (FL): Environmental group: DeSantis platform reads like he’s applying for Trump ‘branch manager’

News & Observer (NC): Ready for a hurricane? Only if we act on climate change.  

Reno Gazette Journal (NV): Laxalt joined Koch brothers, his campaign allies, in bid to block ExxonMobil fraud probe

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53 DAYS UNTIL the midterms, and while leaders from around the world, including LCV, gathered this week in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, we were also focused on ensuring a cleaner, better future. With so much at stake this November, we announced that more than 1,400 candidates running this year have made our Clean Energy for All commitment, which aims to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Candidates at all levels of government are running on clean energy, filling the leadership vacuum in Washington.

THE TAKEAWAY: Clean energy champions are running throughout the country and are making the commitment to clean energy, including gubernatorial candidates, state legislative candidates, and more.

CLEAN CALIFORNIA: California Governor Jerry Brown took his commitment to clean energy a step further this week by signing a bill with an even more ambitious goal for the state to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

THE GREEN WAVE: This week, LCV Victory Fund announced its all-time largest investment in an election cycle. LCV VF is investing a combined total of $60 million to elect more pro-environmental candidates — including women and people of color — than ever before, with a goal of electing the most pro-environment Congress we’ve ever had, especially after a year and a half of Trump and Congress’ unprecedented attacks on our environment, our health and our democracy.

ALL IN A WAVE: In addition to LCV Victory Fund’s previously announced, record $15 million investment in House races, we anticipate LCV VF’s overall investment in retaking Congress — both the Senate and House — will reach $25 million. We also plan to invest over $25 million in state elections, raise over $10 million in GiveGreen, and over $1 million in GreenRoots. Read our full memo here.

REMINDER FOR WHY ELECTIONS MATTER: It seems like every day Trump and Congress are seeking to erase the progress we made to protect our environment and our health. Building on the  Dirty Power Scam and the rollback of the Clean Car Standards, this week the Trump administration went after another important tool in our climate change-fighting toolbox: the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for new and modified sources of methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. The EPA announced they would be weaken critical pieces of their rules, which protect our climate from this potent greenhouse gas and reduce local air pollutants like benzene, demonstrating again that the Trump administration prioritizes the profits of Big Polluters over the health of our communities.

DESANTIS DECEIVES: Our partners at Florida Conservation Voters have been hard at work ensuring voters know who really stands up for environmental protections and climate action — and it’s not gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, who has a 2 percent environmental voting record from his time in Congress, released an environmental platform this week that FCV’s Aliki Moncrief said “almost reads as if he’s applying for branch manager of the Florida branch of the Trump administration.” As both DeSantis and Senate candidate Rick Scott continue to mislead Florida voters about their records, we’ll continue to call them out.

DIRTY DOZEN NUMBER TWO: Pennsylvania has a clear choice this November between sending Senator Bob Casey back to the U.S. Senate and having a strong voice for protecting clean air and water — or picking current congressman Lou Barletta. Barletta has an awful 5 percent environmental voting record and questions climate change, even doubling down on denial when the Pope called for climate action. That’s earned Barletta the second spot on LCV Victory Fund’s 2018 Dirty Dozen list.

HEAR ME OUT: In the wake of the #DirtyPowerScam announcement, the Wheeler EPA has decided to hold only one hearing on the proposal. For comparison, the Obama administration held four hearings on the Clean Power Plan. The Dirty Power Scam hearing will take place on October 1st in Chicago, and we expect a strong showing from people concerned about protecting clean air and fighting climate change.

WHERE THE BUCK STOPS: A new poll out this week from Yale University, George Mason University, and Climate Nexus shows that nearly 8 in 10 people in this country believe that government officials bear a responsibility to act on climate change. Now, we just need Congress and the White House to listen…

KAVA-NO WAY: The hearings are done, but the fight is not over. After Kavanaugh avoided directly answering written questions from Committee members, his vote is scheduled for Thursday, Sept 20. and this will be a vote on the most unpopular nominee ever to the Supreme Court. As our senators continue to make up their minds, we are continuing to push them, for the sake of the environment, to vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh.

HURRICANE FLORENCE: As Hurricane Florence makes landfall this weekend along the East Coast, LCV urges everyone to stay safe until the storm passes. We have seen the destruction storms like these can cause, and they are only getting worse as climate change continues.

PRIORITIES: While we hope the damage is minimal with any of these storms, we also believe the government has a responsibility to respond quickly and effectively. But new documents released this week showed that the Trump administration has taken nearly $10 million from FEMA’s budget and allocated it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A STEP FORWARD ON LWCF: The House Committee on Natural Resources took an important step forward this week towards permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — the nation’s best parks program which expires at the end of the month. But LWCF deserves full, dedicated funding just as the committee has dedicated money to addressing the national parks maintenance backlog. Maintenance simply isn’t enough to protect the future of our national parks and public lands – it’s LWCF that secures access to trails and prevents inappropriate development within park boundaries.

LOOKS LIKE WE GOT UNDER BISHOP’S SKIN: “I was tired of the stupid ads and I wanted to get it done.” That’s why Committee Chair Rob Bishop told Politico he let LWCF move forward — likely responding to our $1 million effort to hold members accountable on public lands. But we’re not slowing down until LWCF is protected for good. It is now up to rank and file Republicans to push their leadership for a vote to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the program before the end of the month.

EPA EXODUS: We already knew that Trump is gutting the EPA, but now we know exactly how much. A recent analysis found that nearly 1,600 workers left the EPA in the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency and fewer than 400 were hired. Among the losses were at least 260 scientists and 106 engineers, meaning that the agency is now the weakest it has been since the Reagan administration.

SUPERFUND SCOTT: Adding to the list of investigations and inquiries concerning the corruption of Scott Pruitt, the EPA inspector general has opened an audit of Pruitt’s work with the agency’s Superfund program. As part of that work, Pruitt assembled a task force overseen by a banned Oklahoma banker, then kept no public notes of its meetings.

POLLUTING PRUITT: After polluting Pruitt resigned from the EPA after months of scandals, ethical issues, and attempts to rollback the policies that protect us from pollution, he is now in talks to consult for the dirty coal industry. Can’t say we’re surprised.

 

COMING UP:

SEPTEMBER — Trump administration is expected to release their Dirty Water Rule, which will severely rollback Clean Water Act protections for waterways our families and communities depend on

SEPTEMBER 20 — Senate Judiciary committee vote on Brett Kavanaugh

SEPTEMBER 30 — Expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the nation’s best parks program

OCTOBER 1 — Dirty Power Scam hearing in Chicago

 

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Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters, www.lcv.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee

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