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On October 28, after months of negotiations with Congress, President Biden announced a framework for the Build Back Better Act that includes robust climate, clean energy, and environmental justice provisions.
Securing a framework that would put the country on a clear path to cutting in half planet-warming pollution by 2030 was no small task. Now, with a framework in place that includes “the largest effort to combat climate change in American history,” it’s clear that LCV’s unprecedented advocacy and organizing campaign for equitable climate action has paid off.
Thanks to your support, we knocked on more than 326,000 doors, distributed over 15,000 ‘Climate Action Now’ yard signs, garnered visible support from more than 11,500 businesses, and activated more than 19,000 new LCV members as climate advocates. And our 30+ state affiliates have held hundreds of events with members of Congress and local leaders in key districts and states to engage the media and the public across the country.
This vocal, visible, and overwhelming display of support helped drive the transformative, equitable climate, clean energy, and environmental justice provisions in the final Build Back Better Act. Once enacted, this legislation will catalyze the largest investment in climate action in our nation’s history.
As we continue to push for passage of this once-in-a-generation legislation, LCV recognizes that there will be much work to do after the bill becomes law, including advocating for even more federal administrative actions and regulations, as well as ambitious climate and clean energy progress at the state and local levels. That’s why we are so grateful for your continued support — we couldn’t do this timely, urgent work without you. Thank you.
Over the next few weeks, LCV will be keeping you posted on the latest developments with the Build Back Better Act. In the meantime, here is the LCV Top 5 for October 2021:
1) LCV Proudly Sponsors Freedom to Vote Relay, Continues to Push for Passage of Freedom to Vote Act
Through our Democracy for All program, LCV has been and will continue to be committed to creating a democracy that represents the people and not corporate polluters. To advance this work, we sponsored the Freedom to Vote Relay, which began on October 20 in Charlestown, WV, and ended on October 23 in Washington, DC. The four-day march — where participants traveled nearly 400 miles by car, bike, or foot — was a clear statement that voters want the vital protections in the Freedom to Vote Act.
Voting is the foundation of our democracy. Critical to securing that foundation is ensuring that all people — especially people who are traditionally most vulnerable to voter suppression efforts, including people of color and young people — have equal ballot access, multiple ways to cast their ballots, and the right to free and fair elections.
These rights are essential to addressing climate change and environmental justice. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate effects, such as drought, wildfires, flooding, and deadly health risks for children with asthma and the elderly during extreme heat waves. Moreover, census data and science tell us that, more than income or geography, race is still the number one indicator of whether a person will live near contaminated air, water, and soil. That these same communities have historically been targeted by voter suppression and intimidation efforts further underscores how important it is to protect their rights in our democracy.
For far too long, voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering, and campaign contributions from big polluters have drowned out the voices of the people directly experiencing the health impacts of pollution and the dangers of extreme weather in their communities.
The Freedom to Vote Act (Senate Bill 2747) is an ambitious bill that would make significant headway toward addressing these issues. If enacted, it would be the United States’ most significant pro-democracy legislation in half a century. Unfortunately, this past month, the bill was unable to come to a vote because Senate Republicans used the filibuster rule to prevent overwhelmingly popular voting rights legislation from passing. It is the third time this year that a pro-democracy bill has been blocked by this archaic rule. If you missed the Freedom to Vote Relay, you can still contact your U.S. Senators and demand that they eliminate the filibuster rule and enact the Freedom to Vote Act.
Earlier this month, LCV’s Chispa program and its electric school bus partners released a new $400,000 digital ad campaign in nine states to call on Congress to support clean rides for kids in the Build Back Better Act, and to thank members who already support these critical investments. The bilingual ads in English and Spanish bring attention to the consequences of polluted air from dirty school buses, which aggravates lung problems in children and increases the risk of asthma attacks — a leading cause of school absences — and disproportionately impacts educational opportunities in communities of color and communities with low wealth.
“About 25 million children ride dirty diesel school buses to and from school,” said Chispa National Senior Director Johana Vicente. “These buses are putting the health of millions of children at risk, especially Black, Indigenous, and Latinx children who already bear an unfair burden of air pollution. Congress must act and support funding for electric school buses. See the full list of members that the digital ads support and watch the ads here (VIDEO).
Calling on Congress to act on the climate crisis, LCV’s state affiliate the Alaska Center — in partnership with Native Peoples Action and Alaska-based Indigenous activist Sophie Swope — unveiled a 9,000 pound ice sculpture in D.C. earlier this month. The sculpture of salmon jumping out of water was placed in front of Earth Conservation Corps’ Monique Johnson Anacostia River Center during an event that took place in advance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The event sent a message to Congress that Indigenous Alaskans are disproportionately impacted by climate injustice and that the richness of Indigenous knowledge can help lead our nation’s path forward as we grapple with the climate crisis. The installation featured testimony from Alaska Native peoples facing the calamitous economic, health, and communal impacts of climate change through short films captured by Alaskan videographer Chris Ho. Read more about the event and see pictures here.
In early October, Virginia LCV’s Political Action Committee (VALCV PAC) announced a significant ramp-up of its efforts to protect and strengthen the state’s Conservation Majority, including investments in support of pro-environment candidates for Governor and House of Delegates.
With a commitment to ensuring that voters know exactly what’s at stake for clean air, clean water, and Virginia’s climate and clean energy future, VALCV PAC has invested more than $2.4 million in electoral programs to support climate champions for state office. These investments include $800,000 in partnerships with BlackPAC and New Virginia Majority for field canvassing and communications; $300,000 in digital ads; $205,000 in direct mail outreach; and up to $600,000 in direct contributions to candidates, including $500,000 to former governor Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. Read more about VALCV PAC’s efforts to protect and expand the state’s Conservation Majority here.
On October 20, LCV and Climate Power announced a paid media push in D.C. and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire to get the Build Back Better Act over the finish line. The ads are the latest addition to more than $40.5 million invested by Climate Power and LCV this year to set the stage for historic action on climate and thank key senators for their support for clean energy and counter misinformation by fossil-fuel interests. Read more and watch the ads here (VIDEO).
THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Building back better starts with fighting for a better future for our children. LCV’s Chispa program is fighting for cleaner air, cleaner water, clean energy, and clean transportation — and we need your help to secure this progress.
Now is the time to safeguard the sustainability of our communities for future generations through bold climate justice solutions that support clean energy investments, create good, family-sustaining, green jobs, and equitably address the burden of environmental racism for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other communities of color. These communities are impacted by the effects of climate change first and worst, disproportionately to their white peers. Congress must act NOW to address environmental racism and create a healthier, safer, more just future for all.
The best thing you can do right now is: