Top 5

Top 5 — April 2024

Apr 29, 2024

Each month, LCV shares five stories about the impact of our work. This month, we’re focusing on billions of dollars in federal clean energy investments, groundbreaking clean vehicle rules, offshore wind milestones, solar power expansion — and the ways LCV Victory Fund is investing in the upcoming elections to protect and expand our progress.

Our Top Stories this Month

1. Federal Clean Energy Investments Benefit People Nationwide

In 2022, after more than a decade of grassroots mobilization, advocacy, state and local power building, working to elect pro-climate and pro-democracy candidates, and holding elected officials accountable, LCV helped secure the largest federal investment in clean energy in U.S. history — the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Recently, the Biden-Harris administration announced $20 billion in grants stemming from the IRA to finance investments that will deliver clean energy and climate solutions to communities nationwide.

The recently announced IRA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund creates green banks that will lend funds to finance clean energy projects — leveraging tens of billions of dollars of private investment and directing funds to projects in communities that have been underserved by the clean energy transition, including projects like these:

Energy-Efficient Homes — DeSoto, Georgia

When her water heater died, Mildred Carter couldn’t immediately afford to replace it. But thanks to help from Power Forward Communities, an IRA grant recipient, Mildred was enrolled in a program that combined private incentives with philanthropic support for energy efficiency upgrades to her home — including a brand-new heat pump water heater.

Small Business Incubator — Owosso, Michigan

The National Guard Armory building in this underserved community was ready for a transformation. The reborn space is now an incubator for local businesses and nonprofits, complete with high-efficiency, all-electric heating and ENERGY STAR certified appliances, thanks to a partnership between the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and Appalachian Community Capital, an IRA grant recipient.

Senior Housing Upgrades — Miami, Florida

Seniors are especially susceptible to heat and other threats from climate change. Residents of a 65-unit affordable senior housing project in Miami are now better protected from climate impacts and rising energy costs thanks to solar panels, battery backup systems, window and roof upgrades, and aging-in-place improvements stemming from a partnership between Miami-Dade County’s Office of Resilience and Opportunity Finance Network, an IRA grant recipient.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency grant announcement, eight grant recipients will finance tens of thousands of projects and mobilize private capital to reduce climate risks and air pollution while also reducing energy costs, improving public health, and creating good-paying clean energy jobs in communities across the country. Read LCV’s response to the IRA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund grants. 

2. Next Step Toward a Zero-Emission Future: Clean Vehicle Rules

People living near busy roads and highways suffer disproportionate health harms from vehicle emissions — including higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, impaired lung development in children, childhood leukemia, and premature death. Low-wealth communities and communities of color are the most impacted due to the location of such roads near these communities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced clean vehicle rules that will bring health-improving relief to these communities and people across the country, protecting against tailpipe pollution from gas-guzzling cars, trucks, and buses. The rules will slash billions of tons of climate pollution from our air, protect human health, and help to supercharge low- and zero-emission vehicle innovation and manufacturing.

LCV and our movement have been working for clean vehicle standards like these for over a decade, by combining grassroots mobilization with policy advocacy, while also supporting the election of climate champions and holding them accountable once in office.

  • Making Our Collective Voices Heard

    We mobilized LCV members like you to submit more than 100,000 comments to the EPA to demand stronger tailpipe emissions standards.

  • Overcoming Big Oil Opposition

    Our calls to action overcame fierce opposition from polluting industries and their elected allies, proving — once again — just how powerful our movement can be when we join together to demand a better future for people and our planet.

  • Protecting Health & Advancing Clean Energy

    Combined with the transformative climate and clean energy investments that our movement helped win in 2021 and 2022, the new clean vehicle standards will further accelerate the transition to cleaner vehicles and reduce emissions in the transportation sector, currently the leading source of climate pollution in the U.S.

This is an incredible victory for our climate and for communities that have been reeling from exposure to health-harming tailpipe emissions. House Republicans are already actively trying to revoke or defund these hard-won clean vehicle standards — while LCV is working to defend and strengthen environmental and health protections across the country. Read LCV’s response to the EPA standards.

3. Offshore Wind to Provide Power to 4 Million Homes

Offshore wind reached exciting milestones over the past two months with the approval of multiple projects, new multi-state leases and agreements, and completion of the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project.

LCV and our state affiliates have been working to advance offshore wind energy, building powerful multi-state coalitions, forging alliances with unions and local governments, and mobilizing a groundswell of grassroots support to help launch projects nationwide. These offshore wind projects will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, provide family-sustaining union jobs, bring benefits to local communities, and ensure a robust clean energy labor market in the years ahead. They also mark the phenomenal success of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) federal clean energy investments. Recent successes include:

  • New England Wind, off the coast of Massachusetts, was approved by the Biden-Harris administration along with Sunrise Wind, off the coast of New York. Together, these projects will produce enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes. 
  • In New York, local labor unions signed a landmark project labor agreement for the construction of the state’s first offshore wind port, which will support manufacturing, construction, and operation of offshore wind projects.
  • South Fork Wind, off the coast of New York, became the first commercial-scale offshore wind project to be completed in the U.S. and is slated to power 70,000 homes.

All told, the Biden-Harris administration has approved more than 10 gigawatts of clean energy from offshore wind projectsenough to power nearly 4 million homes. In addition, the administration recently proposed auctions for four new offshore wind lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico and finalized guidance for an IRA bonus tax credit to make it easier to build offshore wind in communities historically impacted by fossil fuel boom-bust cycles and pollution, helping to bring economic benefits to these communities. 

All of this progress illustrates the effectiveness of LCV’s theory of change, which includes mobilizing grassroots support, advocating for strong policy solutions, building state and local power, electing climate champions, and holding elected officials accountable. We’ll continue to build on this success to advance offshore wind energy and other clean energy projects in the months ahead. Read more from LCV about offshore wind energy advances.

4. States Continue to Push for — and Win — Clean Energy Progress

Climate action and environmental protection are complex. Solutions require an interplay of state and federal policies, local action, business innovation, and community engagement. LCV and our 30+ state affiliates in the Conservation Voters Movement (CVM) attack this complexity head-on — working at all levels of government to build power and fight for clean energy, climate action, and a stronger democracy.

The strengths of the CVM are many, and they include the ability to share resources and expertise, form regional alliances, and create positive change that has an impact at all levels of government. The power of this movement results in recent wins like these:

New Mexico: Fourth State to Adopt Clean Fuel Standards

New Mexico joined California, Oregon, and Washington to become the fourth state in the U.S. to adopt clean fuel standards. The landmark accomplishment will reduce transportation-sector pollutants to 20% below 2018 levels by 2030 and 30% below 2018 levels by 2040 — bringing considerable health benefits to residents and generating revenue to be invested in transportation electrification and clean energy initiatives in rural and underserved communities. LCV’s state affiliate, Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM), has been pushing for clean fuel standards since 2021 by:

  • Running bilingual advocacy campaigns and mobilizing community members to contact decision-makers prior to key votes.
  • Working with partners and state leaders to build public and lawmaker support.
  • Placing op-eds to counter misinformation.
  • Co-sponsoring a lobby day with nearly 200 participants, including providing transportation for 70+ young people from rural parts of the state.

The new law is expected to create at least 1,600 full-time jobs and 2,300 construction jobs, generate $470 million in wages. and attract $240 million in capital investments for production and manufacturing.

Ohio: One of the Largest Utility-Scale Solar Projects in the U.S.

Ohio will soon be home to the largest agrivoltaic project in the state’s history, which will provide enough solar electricity to power approximately 170,000 homes, w​​hile also dedicating 4,000+ acres of the solar site for agriculture. Oak Run Solar is unique in its use of land for both solar generation and farming, providing a wide range of benefits to the community. LCV’s state affiliate, the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC), was deeply engaged in securing approval for this project, intervening in the case. In this role, the OEC:

  • Provided expert witness testimony and participated in cross-examination of opposing witnesses.
  • Engaged local communities to build support.
  • Worked with Central Ohio officials to submit letters endorsing the project.

To bring the project to fruition, OEC signed the final agreement with a range of partners, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 683, and Ohio Power Siting Board staff. In addition to providing clean energy while benefiting local farmers, businesses, and workers, the project is expected to generate $8.2 million in annual revenue for local governments and schools.

5. LCV Victory Fund’s Largest-Ever Election Investment

With President Biden and former President Trump now their respective parties’ official nominees, the 2024 election is in full swing, and the stakes for addressing climate change and protecting our democracy couldn’t be higher. LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities recently announced plans to invest $120 million in the 2024 election cycle — our largest collective investment ever.

In order to safeguard our movement’s progress, further advance climate action, defend and strengthen our democracy, and protect our most vulnerable communities and neighbors, LCV Victory Fund’s goals are as follows: 

Reelect President Biden and Vice President Harris

To counter the serious risk that Donald Trump brings his anti-environment, anti-democratic agenda to the White House, LCV Victory Fund is working to reelect President Biden by persuading, mobilizing, and turning out voters in battleground states using proven messages and innovative strategies.

Regain Pro-Environment, Pro-Democracy Leadership in the U.S. House

LCV Victory Fund aims to unseat anti-environment representatives in districts with small margins of victory in previous cycles, and/or where President Biden won in 2020, in order to win pro-environment, pro-democracy leadership in the House.

Protect Pro-Climate, Pro-Democracy U.S. Senate Leadership

There are numerous climate champion senators up for reelection in states where Trump won or narrowly lost in 2020, putting pro-environment leadership in the Senate at risk. In response, LCV Victory Fund is working to protect current champions and elect new leaders in open seats in key battleground states.

Elect and Protect Champions in the States

Our state affiliated entities will be working to elect and protect climate and democracy champions at the state and local levels. Priorities include retaining pro-climate, pro-democracy majorities in state legislatures, flipping anti-environment chambers to pro-environment majorities, and retaining pro-climate, pro-democracy governors’ seats.

LCV Victory Fund’s strategies get results. In 2022, we helped elect a wave of 130 federal and 975 state-level candidates, elected 13 pro-climate, pro-democracy governors, won pro-climate, pro-democracy trifectas in four states, and defeated 10 out of 12 Dirty Dozen targets. We use proven tactics, including careful selection of strategically important and winnable races, data-backed methods to identify key voters and messages that will motivate them to turn out, deployment of an effective mix of paid media and innovative canvassing programs, and partnerships with like-minded progressive and labor organizations to jointly get out the vote.