Top 5

March Top 5 2023

Mar 29, 2023

For over 50 years, LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard has tracked how members of Congress vote on the issues that matter most to our movement, including legislation on climate change, democracy, public health, and environmental justice. Holding elected officials accountable in this way has been a critical component of our success.

The Scorecard shines a light on leaders’ policy positions and empowers constituents with knowledge about whether or not lawmakers are voting to protect their communities and the planet. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we’d like to highlight the achievements of some of the women leaders in Congress who scored 100% in 2022:

  • Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) — Chaired the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which shaped the climate provisions of the historic clean energy plan passed last year, known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (IL) – Founding co-chair of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and lead sponsor of the Environmental Justice for All Act who has worked to stop Big Oil from price gouging families and to protect people and wildlife from lead pollution in our drinking water, lakes, and streams.
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7)— Co-chaired the House Congressional Progressive Caucus, co-founded the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force, and helped lead the fight to keep strong climate provisions in the clean energy plan.
  • Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE) – Member of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce who has worked to protect coastal communities from climate change and cut climate and health-harming pollution from ports with funding included in the clean energy plan.

Of course, House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi was the most pro-climate action speaker in U.S. history and led the House passage of the IRA last year. There are many more women highlighted in the 2022 Scorecard.

Learn about them and other outstanding members of Congress in this month’s Top 5 stories below:

1. See How Your Members of Congress Scored in 2022

As in previous years, the 2022 National Environmental Scorecard tracks dozens of votes on impactful climate and environmental bills, as well as votes on democracy and racial justice issues such as the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. This year, to continue reflecting LCV’s commitment to equity and justice, we also scored votes that would protect or advance equity, including those that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages as well as reproductive rights. This year’s Scorecard is also notable due to passage of the clean energy plan, the IRA, which is so groundbreaking that we took the rare step of double-scoring members’ votes on this law.

For more than 50 years, LCV’s Scorecard has held members of Congress accountable for their environmental and democracy-related votes. Thanks to the recently redesigned LCV website, you can now more easily search the Scorecard to see how your representatives are prioritizing the issues that matter to you. See how your members of Congress scored.

2. Scorecard Spotlights Champions of Color

In 2022, congressional leaders of color were instrumental in defending our democracy, combating the climate crisis, and addressing environmental injustice by pushing for, passing, and enacting legislation to protect our air, water, lands, and ecosystems.

Members of the Tri-Caucus — which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus — introduced and championed many of the climate and democracy bills and initiatives that advanced through Congress last year, including critical provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, or clean energy plan. The impact of their accomplishments is far reaching and includes:

  • Reductions in air pollution in communities near our nation’s ports through transitions to zero-emissions port equipment and air monitoring.
  • Community-led clean energy and climate resiliency projects, including solar power and tree plantings in frontline and under-resourced communities.
  • Reductions in harmful pollution from diesel school buses and trucks that disproportionately impact communities and children of color.

These accomplishments are vivid reminders of the power of LCV’s multi-faceted approach to our work. Tracking voting records like these in the Scorecard — in combination with protecting and increasing voting rights, helping to elect climate and democracy champions, and advocating for sound policies — moves the needle forward on climate action, environmental justice, and voting rights.

LCV is proud to highlight the 2022 successes of the Tri-Caucus in the 2022 National Environmental Scorecard beginning on page 8. Download the complete 2022 Scorecard.

Photo of Avi Kwa Ame by Alan O’Neill, Photo of Castner Range by Mark Clune

3. It’s Official! Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range National Monuments

In 2021, the Biden-Harris administration committed to protecting 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. This month, the administration officially designated two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada and Castner Range in Texas, adding to the growing list of our nation’s protected lands.

LCV and our movement have worked to protect Avi Kwa Ame and the Castner Range for years, conducting polls to gauge local interest, supporting locally-led campaigns to involve communities, organizing petitions to educate and pressure elected officials, and delivering thousands of letters to the Biden administration calling for action. We are proud to have worked alongside Indigenous tribes, conservationists, local advocates, and community members to gain protection of these culturally and ecologically important sites.

Avi Kwa Ame spans nearly 500,000 acres in the Mojave Desert and contains habitats for rare and threatened wildlife and plants — including the world’s largest Joshua tree forest with trees that are over 900 years old. The area is considered sacred by ten Yuman-speaking tribes as well as the Hopi and Chemehuevi Paiute as it is tied to their creation stories, longstanding history, and well-being.

Castner Range is rich with rare and endangered wildlife as well as dozens of sacred and archeological Native American sites including rock shelters, petroglyphs, bedrock mortars, and prehistoric habitations dating back 10,000 years. For more than half a century, the communities in and around El Paso have worked to conserve the Castner Range, advocating to expand outdoor access for the world’s largest binational community.

The designation of national monuments like Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range ensures that our connections to nature and to our shared history endure for generations to come. Read more about the designation of our newest national monuments

4. State Affiliates Meet with Members of Congress

After members of Congress are sworn into office and begin their new terms, it’s important that they hear directly from constituents representing the environmental movement on climate, clean energy, environmental justice, and voting rights issues.

Earlier this month, LCV hosted a Conservation Voters Movement fly-in, bringing dozens of leaders from our 30+ state affiliates to Washington D.C. for back-to-back days of pro-climate, pro-democracy advocacy meetings with members of Congress and the Biden-Harris administration.

As this was LCV’s first advocacy fly-in since the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), or clean energy plan, became law, many of this year’s conversations focused on complementary executive actions on climate and implementation of the clean energy plan at the state level, including an IRA roundtable discussion with members of Congress hosted by LCV.

This roundtable and the larger fly-in meaningfully connected constituents with their elected officials, allowing people from members’ home states to talk about local issues with those who represent them. All told, there were meetings with 120+ congressional offices, as well as with Biden-Harris administration officials. The fly-in continues to demonstrate LCV’s ability to harness the strength of state leagues for lobbying and advocacy on climate and democracy issues, while also strengthening our work by connecting state affiliates with one another to share ideas and expertise. Learn about the fly-in and watch the IRA roundtable discussion.

5. Track Clean Energy Plan Implementation Nationwide Using this Interactive Map

With so much activity occurring nationwide, it can be hard to keep up with all the ways the clean energy plan, or Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), is making a difference in local communities. So far, $11 billion has been allocated to address environmental remediation, clean energy transportation, and infrastructure needs across the country — all stemming from the IRA and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Tracking the use of these funds just got easier with the launch of the Climate Wins Here map by the Climate Action Campaign (CAC). CAC is a coalition of a dozen major national environmental, environmental justice, and public health organizations, including LCV. CAC members share a focus on reducing climate pollution and accelerating the transition to clean energy and a sustainable society in ways that support justice, jobs, and improved health and quality of life for all. Visit the CAC interactive map and track key issues in your state.