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Top 5

November Top 5 2023

Nov 30, 2023

With the world in a climate emergency, LCV is working every day to win policies that will reduce U.S. emissions by at least 50% by 2030, the level that scientists say is necessary to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Last year, our movement took a major step toward this goal when we helped secure passage of transformative federal investments in clean energy, green jobs, and environmental justice in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

This law is now supercharging climate progress across the country, but in many ways, its ultimate impact depends on all of us. Winning a sustainable, equitable climate future requires not only defending progress from attacks in Congress, but also advancing additional progress at the local, state, and federal levels. It also requires electing decision-makers at every level of government who will put people’s environmental health and safety above the profits of polluters.

This month, LCV and our 33 state affiliates celebrated new clean energy progress in Michigan and Virginia, and wins by climate champions in state and local elections. We also called out Republican lawmakers’ hypocrisy on clean energy, and called on leaders to support strong federal standards for clean vehicles. Read this month’s LCV Top 5 stories:

  1. Report: Clean Energy Hypocrisy in Congress
  2. State and Local Elections Results
  3. Michigan Passes 100% Clean Energy
  4. Clean Vehicle Accountability Ads
  5. Offshore Wind in Virginia

November 2023 Top 5 Stories

1. Clean Energy Hypocrisy in Congress (Report)Collage of Republican hypocrites Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Buddy Carter (GA-01), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Clay Higgins (LA-03), Richard Hudson (NC-09), Bob Latta (OH-05), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Russell Fry (SC-07), Ralph Norman (SC-O5), William Timmons (SC-04), Mark Green (TN-07), and Carol Miller (WV-01)

Earlier this month, LCV released a comprehensive report detailing the hypocrisy of 12 Republican members of Congress who have celebrated clean energy funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in their home districts despite voting against it in Washington D.C.. At the same time these lawmakers are doing Big Oil’s bidding by voting to undo the IRA, they eagerly welcome the law’s benefits in their districts.

Many of these lawmakers are even taking public credit for the investment and jobs the IRA brings to their districts, as if they had a hand in enacting the law. In reality, House Republicans have voted to repeal the IRA in whole or in part 31 times as of November 6, including slashing investments for clean water, clean energy, and environmental justice.

The hypocrites include: Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Buddy Carter (GA-01), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Clay Higgins (LA-03), Richard Hudson (NC-09), Bob Latta (OH-05), Nancy Mace (SC-01), Russell Fry (SC-07), Ralph Norman (SC-05), William Timmons (SC-04), Mark Green (TN-07), and Carol Miller (WV-01).

LCV’s report, “Hall of Republican Clean Energy Hypocrisy”, is the basis for this article in the Guardian. As LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn told the Guardian, “We are clearly seeing this disconnect House Republicans are feeling between their voters and their fossil fuel donors. Voters want clean energy jobs, but the donors in big oil and gas want the repeal of this stuff. These members are stuck between these two things.”

Related: As House Republicans again steered the country toward a government shutdown and sought extreme cuts to environmental protections, LCV launched a new ad campaign highlighting Speaker Mike Johnson’s connections to Big Oil and his record of climate denial. Watch: MAGA Mike.

2. State and Local Elections Results

Photo of voting booths with a blue and red gradient overlay.

On November 7, environmental champions across the country won their elections, continuing a trend we’ve seen over the last several elections.

LCV and our state affiliates tracked the most important state and local races for the environment and helped to ensure that climate and democracy champions prevailed. We are thrilled that voters elected candidates who promised bold clean energy leadership and rejected cynical, baseless attacks from Big Oil and their political allies. Our state affiliates invested in over 220 races around the country, and 72% of the candidates they supported won. Highlights include:

  • In Virginia, Governor Glenn Youngkin led a major spending campaign by promising to establish a Republican trifecta in the state and failed. Despite a wave of attacks, including an effort to attack electric vehicles, climate champions held the state Senate and flipped the House of Delegates, ensuring a new pro-conservation majority and a backstop against the governor’s extreme anti-science, anti-climate agenda. Virginia League of Conservation Voters-PAC (VALCV-PAC) invested over $2.2 million to help elect climate champions in the state Senate and state House.
  • In New Jersey, fossil fuel companies funded astroturf organizations to undermine support for offshore wind. But pro-clean energy candidates overcame an avalanche of anti-wind spending and won across the state, returning an expanded Democratic trifecta to the state capital. Through their independent expenditure work, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund invested over $230,000 to run mail and digital programs in key races in the state.
  • In a critical Pennsylvania State Supreme Court race, pro-environment, pro-democracy judicial candidate Dan McCaffery comfortably defeated polluter-backed Republican Carolyn Carluccio. Our state affiliate, through the Conservation Voters of PA Victory Fund, spent $350,000 in its largest-ever off-year campaign to help win this race, sending nearly 200,000 texts, making thousands of contacts with voters via calls and at their doors, and garnering 10 million digital ad views. McCaffery’s win could go a long way to protecting voting rights and election integrity in the state and ensuring that climate action programs, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, get a fair hearing.
  • Climate champion mayors were reelected in Boise, Idaho, and Tucson, Arizona. Both Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero spent their first terms leading on conservation and clean energy and made the environment central to their reelection campaigns. Our state affiliate, Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund, ran an unprecedented $518,000 campaign to engage hundreds of thousands of Boise voters. Our state affiliate, Chispa Arizona PAC, ran a $35,000 paid media program including radio and digital ads in support of Romero.

Read more about how voters supported climate champions in these and other races, including those held earlier this year, in our full 2023 elections results recap.

3. Michigan Passes 100% Clean Energy

People rally for Clean Energy in Michigan
Photo Credit: Michigan LCV

Over the last six years, LCV and our 30+ affiliates have won state and local policies that cut pollution and protect public health through our Clean Energy for All campaign. More than 40% of people in the U.S. now live in places committed to 100% clean energy, thanks to this work.

This month, Michigan became the latest state to join these ranks, when the state legislature passed a bill package that sets one of the nation’s fastest 100% clean energy commitments. 15 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation committing to 100% clean energy (with two more states committed by executive order), and Michigan joins six other states plus Washington, D.C. in committing to this goal by 2040 or sooner. This policy victory delivers on the “Green Wave in the States” that our movement helped secure during the 2022 elections, when voters re-elected Governor Gretchen Whitmer and elected the first pro-conservation majority in a generation to Michigan’s state legislature.

The new package of laws:

  • Requires Michigan to get 100% of its energy from carbon-free sources such as wind and solar by 2040, while setting interim targets of 80% by 2035 and 50% by 2030.
  • Directs the state to judge utility plans on an array of environmental justice criteria and assess the health and pollution impacts on communities of color.
  • Requires utilities to dedicate 25-35% of weatherization and energy efficiency programs in environmental justice communities and low-income communities.
  • Secures prevailing wage standards for clean energy workers.
  • Creates a first-ever Office of Worker & Community Transition to invest in workforce development and support communities and people employed in fossil fuels through the clean energy transition.
  • Increases access to rooftop solar by raising the limit on how many Michiganders can enroll in rooftop solar programs from 1% of utility customers to 10%.

Our state affiliate Michigan LCV and its coalition partners worked for over a year to secure this legislation while fighting deep-pocketed opposition from fossil fuel and chemical companies. Michigan LCV knocked on over 80,000 doors, made more than 133,000 phone calls to constituents, ran TV and streaming advertising in 22 districts with seven million impressions statewide, held multiple events and engaged volunteers to attend 48 coffee hours held by lawmakers, and garnered significant media coverage. This created a sustained drumbeat of public demand for action and ensured the issue maintained high visibility with the public and lawmakers.

Thanks to this win, Michigan will transition away from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy, leading to less pollution that contributes to climate change and healthier air and water for Michigan families and communities.

Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said: “This climate package was done the Michigan way, with labor partners at the table to help ensure we put Michigan workers first — including requirements that projects include prevailing wage and project labor agreements, along with commitments from the utilities that they recruit, train, and hire people from low-income communities to do energy efficiency upgrades.”

Related: Read this Washington Post opinion piece about how bold climate action in Michigan is providing a new model for winning over workers

4. Clean Vehicle Accountability Ads

Two people sit watching a Clean Energy ad on TV

Tailpipe emissions from cars, SUVs, and heavy trucks are the leading contributor to climate change in the United States. Each year, vehicle pollution shortens the lives of tens of thousands of people and leaves more people with respiratory diseases like asthma. This pollution harms everyone, especially communities living near highways, ports, freight hubs, and anywhere with lots of traffic. Low-wealth communities and communities of color are often hit hardest.

LCV supports strong federal standards for cars and trucks that protect people’s health and move our nation closer to 100% clean vehicles, as well as the authority of states to set health-protective standards that go beyond those set by the federal government. That’s why last month we ran a new $200,000 digital ad campaign for strong car and truck standards.

The campaign both celebrates members of the U.S. House working to protect strong clean cars and trucks standards, and holds House members who voted to block progress on cleaner vehicles accountable to their constituents. Ads are running in lawmakers’ home districts on platforms including YouTube, internet-connected TVs, and streaming devices. 

Watch a sample ad, Our Future: Brandon Williams (NY-22), and see the full list of ads here.

5. Offshore Wind in Virginia

Virginia state outline with offshore wind turbines.

The Biden-Harris administration’s Department of the Interior recently approved a proposal from Dominion Energy to build the nation’s largest offshore wind project yet off the coast of Virginia Beach. Once completed, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will add 2,600 megawatts of clean energy to the grid, or enough energy to power more than 900,000 homes. Additionally, the project is expected to create 900 construction jobs and an estimated 1,100 annual jobs once operational.

The announcement builds on progress by the Biden-Harris administration towards its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and will create even more good-paying clean energy jobs in the United States. LCV and our affiliate Virginia LCV applauded this new milestone in the urgent effort to transition away from dirty fossil fuels and towards 100% clean electricity by 2050.

THE JOLT

Voters Support Clean Energy Champions

“Year after year, voters continue to tell their leaders: If you tackle climate change and stand for clean energy we will stand with you. LCV’s state affiliates worked tirelessly to support candidates dedicated to protecting our environment and democracy. Up and down the ticket, Big Oil spent millions trying to convince us to turn our backs on a clean energy future, but voters once again rejected their lies.”

— LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith