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Summer is here, and with it, the season of heightened climate impacts, including extreme heat, drought, storms, and wildfires that remind us that action on climate change is a life-or-death matter.
This June, a string of climate disasters struck before summer even started, among them historic flooding that destroyed bridges and forced the evacuation of Yellowstone National Park, and an early heatwave that put 100 million people under triple-digit warnings, ignited wildfires in the Southwest, and killed at least 2,000 cattle in Kansas.
These conditions are increasingly understood as a public health crisis by the medical profession — and by more than half of Americans who say they’ve personally experienced the impacts of extreme heat on their families’ health and finances.
With support from partners like you, LCV is fighting every day for equitable climate action at every level of government. This month, we kept the pressure on Congress to pass legislation that will curb planet-warming emissions, speed the transition to clean energy, and invest in communities hit hardest by climate and environmental injustice. And with our 30+ state affiliates, we celebrated new victories in our movement to win state-level clean energy progress. The good news from states means that, today, more than 40% of people in the U.S. now live in places committed to 100% clean energy.
Unfortunately, this week the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the West Virginia v. EPA case that dangerously narrows the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate climate pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act. (Read more on the decision below.) The Court’s decision might generate future far-reaching questions that could imperil executive action to protect people from environmental harm, which is why it is more urgent than ever that Congress and the states take climate action now — and that we elect more leaders who will enact even stronger policies in the future.
Your support of our movement is what makes progress possible, and is what allows us to keep fighting for equitable climate action today and in the months and years ahead.
And now, here are your LCV Top 5 items for June 2022:
In a 6-3 ruling handed down on Thursday, June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate climate pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act. The decision is another loss for the health of our children and communities, will exacerbate the plight of communities of color historically overburdened by pollution, and will destabilize the future of clean energy and the economic promise it holds. The decision also sets a dangerous precedent by casting future questions on the authority of all federal agencies to set the strongest possible standards to protect people and the environment from dangerous pollution and other threats. READ LCV’s full statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s West Virginia v. EPA decision.
According to the New York Times, the case itself is “a product of a coordinated, multi-year strategy by Republican attorneys general and conservative allies” to tilt courts against climate action. The decades-long effort to capture the nation’s highest court — and the risks posed to our environment, democracy, equality and safety by the current far-right majority — is one reason that this month, LCV announced its support for expanding and rebalancing the U.S. Supreme Court. READ LCV’s statement on court expansion here and POLITICO’s coverage of our decision here.
Related: New polling shows that addressing the Supreme Court’s legitimacy crisis by expanding it is broadly popular among the 2020 Biden-Harris coalition, and that support grows quickly when voters learn more information.
Since launching our Clean Energy for All (CEFA) campaign in 2018, LCV and our 30+ state affiliates have helped win important climate and clean energy progress in 28 states, including legislation committing to 100% clean energy in more than a dozen states. As a result, more than 40% of people in the U.S. now live in a place committed to 100% clean energy.
This June, LCV released a memo highlighting some of the significant state policy victories we’ve recently secured as part of our nationwide CEFA campaign, including in Maryland, Colorado, Connecticut, and many other states. The memo outlines major climate and clean energy legislation, actions by governors, and state budget investments, as well as anti-environmental bills that were successfully blocked, and looks ahead to two important ballot initiatives that will go before voters in November. LCV state affiliates, Chispa programs, and partners have been essential to securing these victories by building and mobilizing public support, creating strong partnerships, working with elected officials, and keeping climate at the top of state policy agendas. READ the full memo and coverage of our victories in The Hill.
Related: Clean energy is not just good for the planet — it’s also reliable! This month, CNN wrote about how wind and solar energy helped “bail out” Texas’ power supply during a recent heatwave, supplying close to 40% of the total during peak demand. “Texas is, by rhetoric, anti-renewables,” said Michael Webber, an energy expert and professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “But frankly, renewables are bailing us out. They’re rocking. That really spares us a lot of heartache and a lot of money.”
This month, LCV Victory Fund and five other climate and environmental groups announced the Climate Votes Project, a historic $100 million initiative to elect federal and state-level climate champions to office. This collaborative initiative builds on LCV Victory Fund’s previous work propelling climate up the national agenda and will increase the political power necessary to secure future climate and electoral victories.
LCV Victory Fund and the coalition — including Climate Power Action, Climate Reality Action Fund, EDF Action Votes, NRDC Action Votes , and NextGen PAC — will focus on electing pro-climate action candidates in pivotal federal, state, and local races, using in-person field organizing, persuasion and mobilization of climate voters, and paid media. This shared strategy will avoid duplication of efforts, demonstrate that climate is a winning political issue, and maximize the environmental community’s impact. READ this CNN article to learn more.
Related: The future of our democracy is also on the ballot in 2022, and LCV Victory Fund and affiliated state organizations are helping elect members of Congress, governors, state attorneys general, and secretaries of state who will secure voting rights and defend free and fair elections in 2024. With at least 100 election deniers having already won in GOP primaries so far this year, the stakes for these critical races couldn’t be higher.
A program of LCV, Chispa builds the power of Latinx and other communities of color to achieve climate justice, community health and environmental protections at the state and local level. This month, the Associated Press (AP) ran a story featuring Chispa Arizona Organizing Director Masavi Perea, highlighting how U.S. Latinos are leading the way in activism around climate change, often drawing on traditions from their ancestral homelands.
Recent research shows that most Latinos in the U.S. consider climate change an important concern, and seven in 10 say it directly affects their communities. Phoenix, where Chispa AZ is based, is the hottest big city in the U.S., and Latinx and other communities of color are disproportionately affected by intense heat waves in Arizona and across the Southwest.
READ the AP story, which ran in more than 470 local newspapers across the country — along with photos of Perea in Chispa AZ’s community garden — here.
In early June, LCV launched new digital ads in Washington D.C. calling for an end to the dirty, dangerous Willow drilling project in the Western Arctic region of Alaska. Proposed by oil giant ConocoPhillips — as it and other oil companies rake in sky-high profits — the project would emit pollution equivalent to nearly one-third of the United States’ coal plants annually. The Department of the Interior is expected to decide the project’s fate over the coming months, and LCV is mobilizing our members to voice their opposition.
LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “The Willow Project would lock us into decades more of dirty, dangerous, and costly fossil fuels at a time when the transition to clean energy could not be more important for our communities and our economy. This fragile area of Alaska is already warming three times faster than the rest of the world due to climate change — we cannot allow ConocoPhillips to destroy this pristine region and harm communities while they rake in massive profits at our expense.”