Celebrating the Enduring Legacy of Black Activists Who Birthed the Environmental Justice Movement
Feb 24, 2023
As we head into summer in the U.S., the impacts of a hotter Earth are expected to be felt more acutely. We will be subject to more intense heat waves, stronger hurricanes, longer droughts, and an increased likelihood of sustained wildfires. These impacts are even more pronounced for people living in frontline communities, which bear the brunt of climate change and more often consist of communities of color and low-wealth communities, and for vulnerable populations, including the elderly and children.
We’re running out of time to correct course. The International Energy Agency — an organization that advises world capitals on energy policy — recently released a report stating that countries around the globe must immediately and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — including a moratorium on any new oil or coal projects — to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
The good news is that President Biden is clear-eyed about this reality and is taking a whole-of-government approach to tackle climate change. His administration is pushing Congress to enact the American Jobs Plan (AJP) — a bold, sweeping set of just and equitable policies that would address climate change and our nation’s crumbling infrastructure by creating good-paying jobs in the clean energy and manufacturing sectors.
The stakes are high, and our ability to win federal legislation at the scale and size needed to avert climate catastrophe may be a once-in-a-generation opportunity. In concert with other environmental groups, racial justice organizations, and organized labor, LCV is working overtime to secure the votes to pass a strong bill in Congress.
That’s why LCV just announced a $10 million investment in key states and districts to pass AJP, including $1 million for a digital ad campaign targeting U.S. Senators and Representatives in 17 states. As part of this effort, our affiliates and volunteers participated in a Day of Action which generated thousands of calls to key Congressional offices in support of AJP’s passage. We’ve also hosted online events with members of Congress and administration officials, released statements to encourage swift action by Congressional leadership, written opinion editorials, conducted polling, and have launched a digital campaign in support of clean energy investments.
All of this, and more, is included in this month’s Top 5 newsletter:
Earlier this month, LCV and Data for Progress released joint polling data that shows overwhelming bipartisan support across the country — including in swing districts — for the investments the American Jobs Plan would make in climate, clean energy, good-paying union jobs, and environmental justice. Across 11 swing Congressional districts, average support for the plan is 78%. In the swing Senate states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, an average of 80% of registered voters support government investments to create good-paying jobs in clean energy.
LCV and other pro-climate action advocates are using the survey results to push for the passage of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. “Standing in the way of progress on climate, clean energy, and environmental justice is simply not an option for any elected official who cares what their constituents think,” said Pete Maysmith, LCV SVP of Campaigns. Read more about the polling results here.
Related: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith’s latest opinion editorial warns: “Congress: Oppose the American Jobs Plan at Your Own Risk”.
Though the American Jobs Plan enjoys overwhelming support from state and local officials, labor unions, the environmental community including environmental justice groups, and voters — including a majority of Republican voters — sadly, not everyone is on board. Congressional Republicans are proving once again to be more concerned with blocking action to address climate change and the nation’s economic recovery than responding to their constituents’ needs.
On May 18, LCV kicked off a new digital campaign to support clean energy investments. The start of the advocacy campaign was timed to coincide with President Biden’s trip to Michigan, the first of many as he tours the country in support of his American Jobs Plan.
The campaign focuses on ensuring that climate action is a top priority as Congress and the White House negotiate an infrastructure and economic recovery package. LCV’s ads highlight how vital clean energy jobs, investments, and policies are to the nation’s recovery, and we are targeting them to communities visited by President Biden to remind residents of the opportunity to tackle climate change with the American Jobs Plan.
President Biden’s stop at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, MI, highlighted the job-creating potential of electric vehicle manufacturing. Recent polling data conducted jointly by LCV and Data for Progress found that Michigan voters overwhelmingly support (71%) expanding clean energy investments through the American Jobs Plan. Read more about LCV’s digital campaign here.
Related: LCV and Climate Power conducted an online survey titled “Where Voters Stand: The American Jobs Plan and the Commitment to Clean Energy.”
LCV, along with a diverse set of partners — including Center for American Progress, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, and several labor organizations — sent the White House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer a joint letter calling for the swift passage of “legislation that invests at least $4 trillion throughout the economy over this presidential term, bound by high-road labor, equity, and climate standards.” The letter stresses the urgent need for bold action to rebuild the economy, confront growing economic inequity, dismantle systemic racism, curb pollution, and support labor rights — stipulations that must not be diluted, delayed, or compromised by “small-minded” measures. The letter was recently featured in a Politico article; read the article by clicking here.
Related: LCV urges Congress to pass infrastructure bill now; CNN picks up statement.
In recognition of Asthma Awareness Month, LCV’s Chispa program released a new video highlighting the link between asthma and environmental injustice. One of the most at-risk populations for developing and suffering from asthma are children who live in low-wealth communities and/or communities of color that rely on diesel bus transportation for school. As the Environmental Protection Agency notes, a transition to clean-energy buses would positively impact over 25 million children and hundreds of thousands of bus drivers who currently breathe polluted air from older diesel school buses.
Watch Chispa’s video, and sign the petition urging the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to invest in the switch to electric school buses for the health and safety of our children and our communities.
On May 5, LCV co-hosted an event with Representatives Andy Levin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in support of the re-introduction of the EV Freedom Act, which would establish infrastructure for a network of electric vehicle charging stations across the nation, and particularly in low-income communities that suffer the most from traffic pollution. This legislation will help jumpstart the groundwork for people in all communities, particularly those in communities who are most likely to be left behind, to access electric vehicles.
Watch LCV’s event with Reps. Levin and Ocasio-Cortez and read LCV’s statement on the House introduction of the act.
Want even more news? Check out LCV’s latest news here.