THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – April 1, 2022
Your weekly resource to learn what the environmental movement is saying about the news of the day and the political fight of our generation. Be sure to follow LCV on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“The General Assembly has taken steps that put Maryland on the path to lead the nation once again in addressing climate change in a responsible, achievable, and equitable manner.”
— Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kim Cobble on the state legislature’s final passage of the Climate Solutions Act of 2022
“I knew in my heart that it was important, and if it was going to get me voted out of office, I was okay with that. This is not a political issue, this is a quality of life issue.”
— City-County Councilor Maggie Lewis, speaking on her work in successfully turning Indianapolis into the first U.S. city to have an electric bus rapid transit system.
“Their silence tells us all we need to know—that cries for more drilling and looser regulations are nothing more than another age-old attempt to line their own pockets.”
— Chair Raúl M. Grijalva in a statement after the chief executive officers of three oil companies—EOG Resources, Devon Energy Corporation, and Occidental Petroleum—refused to testify at a Natural Resources Committee hearing scheduled for April 5. The hearing would have examined the fossil fuel industry’s failure to help stabilize gas prices during the ongoing crisis in Ukraine despite their record profits. In absence of the CEO’s participation, the hearing will not go forward.
PRESIDENT BIDEN RESPONDS TO PUTIN’S PRICE HIKE AT THE PUMP: On Thursday, President Biden released a Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump.
OUR TAKE: SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We couldn’t agree more with President Biden that Putin’s war on Ukraine underscores the need to speed the transition to a clean energy future and pass cost-saving clean energy investments now. It’s long past time for the Senate to pass the House-passed $555 billion package of investments and unleash clean energy manufacturing and deployment that will help provide greater economic stability, save people money on their energy bills, and improve our climate and national security. The only real solution to high, unreliable energy costs is investing in clean, renewable energy here in the U.S. so that we and the world will no longer be reliant on petro-state autocrats.
“It’s vitally important that the Biden-Harris administration strictly adhere to its values and commitments laid out today in order to keep communities safe. This includes responsibly sourcing and producing minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future and pushing Congress to fast-track long overdue reform of the 150 year old federal mining law.” Read the press release HERE.
CITIES ARE ACTING ON CLEAN ENERGY AND CLIMATE JUSTICE: On Monday, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and U.S. Transportation Secretary and former Mayor of South Bend, IN, Pete Buttigieg joined a virtual press event with LCV moderated by Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund Executive Director Casey Bowers. Speakers discussed the need for investments to help fight climate change and to advance clean energy and environmental justice, as well as addressed the ways that investing in clean energy will insulate the nation from volatile fossil fuel prices, provide greater economic stability, lower energy costs, and protect our national and climate security. Read what speakers said and watch a recording of the event HERE.
DOT’S RULE TO SAVE FAMILIES AT THE PUMP: Today, the Department of Transportation finalized strong fuel efficiency standards to ensure new cars and light trucks go farther on a gallon of gas.This money-saving and emissions-cutting rule dovetails with the tailpipe emissions standards that the Environmental Protection Agency finalized in December and is all the more important as the Biden-Harris administration works to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and accelerate our transition to a clean energy future.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis tweeted: Thank you @NHTSAgov @SecretaryPete @ginamccarthy46 and all the career civil servants who worked on these #CAFE and #CleanCars standards! All to make our communities safer and cleaner and more economically secure.
PRESIDENT BIDEN’S FY 2023 BUDGET: On Monday, the Biden-Harris administration released its FY 2023 Budget, which includes commendable funding requests for environmental programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other key agencies, EPA’s environmental justice programs, the Department of Transportation’s equity and inclusion efforts, important initiatives in Health and Human Services, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “We are grateful that President Biden’s budget proposal ensures that agencies have the funding they need to protect our health, climate, air, water, lands, and wildlife. Among other highlights, this budget includes large increases in funding for environmental justice programs, job creation, advancement of economic opportunity and equity in transitioning energy communities and clean energy manufacturing, and our international contribution to fighting the climate crisis. The President’s budget also helps ensure corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share to fund critical federal government services.
These are especially essential investments at a time when oil and gas companies are profiteering off of the crisis in Ukraine by gouging American consumers at the pump and calling for new leases to drill on public lands while disregarding the leases they already own. It is imperative that government spending fights climate change and centers justice for communities who have been subjected to environmental racism for decades. We thank the Biden-Harris administration for this forward-looking budget and urge Congress to work quickly to pass it.” Read the press release HERE.
CHISPA TAKE: National Campaigns Manager Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate said, “We are pleased to see the Biden-Harris administration’s continued support for climate and economic justice for American families reflected in the FY 2023 budget proposal released today. People throughout the country, especially low-income communities of color, need urgent relief to alleviate the strains exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and ongoing economic instability throughout the world. President Biden’s commitment to equity, environmental justice, economic recovery, jobs creation, and infrastructure improvements are clearly laid out in the proposed investments.” Read the press release HERE.
CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF BIG OIL WINDFALL PROFITS TAX ACT: On Wednesday, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld joined U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Representative Ro Khanna, and Congressional Democrats from both chambers for a press conference in support of the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act. The legislation, which has attracted broad support in the Democratic caucus and has been endorsed by economists and environmental groups since it was introduced earlier this month, would curb profiteering by oil companies and provide consumers relief at the gas pump. For highlights, view the event’s Twitter thread HERE.
FINALIZATION OF PIPELINE SAFETY RULE: This week, the Biden administration issued a final rule to improve pipeline safety. This standard, initiated with bipartisan legislation, is in response to two unmitigated fossil fuel disasters in California and Michigan in 2010, the latter of which was the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Find key notes on this rule HERE.
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate Sara Fontes said, “Today marks the culmination of over a decade of work to improve the safety of pipelines and help curb some of their worst and most dangerous impacts on human and environmental safety and well-being. This rule will help safeguard our critical natural resources and protect communities, particularly the Indigenous and communities of color where the majority of our pipeline infrastructure is located. In helping to reduce leaks, this rule will also play a role in the administration’s plan to drive down methane emissions.” Read more HERE.
MILCV TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters Federal Government Affairs Director Bently Johnson said, “The 2010 Kalamazoo River oil pipeline spill in Michigan was the worst inland oil disaster in our country’s history. It ruptured after pipeline operator Enbridge Energy claimed it was safe, spewing oil into the surrounding waterways for 17 hours before the line was finally shut off. We commend the Biden Administration for taking long overdue action to help prevent future catastrophes, but unfortunately our addiction to fossil fuels will continue to damage lives, communities, and the environment until we transition to an equitable clean energy future.”
CEV TAKE: California Environmental Voters Political and Organizing Director Mike Young said, “While we must continue to divest from fossil fuels and transition to green jobs and green energy – it is heartening to see the Biden administration take action on long overdue safety measures that would have saved lives from the 2010 San Bruno Explosion. We look forward to continued action by the administration to regulate this industry.”
SECRETARY HAALAND VISITS CASTNER RANGE: On Saturday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited Castner Range, a culturally and environmentally important region near El Paso, Texas that activists have advocated to protect for over half a century.
OUR TAKE: President Gene Karpinski said, “Secretary Haaland’s visit to Castner Range is a big deal for locally-led conservation efforts, building on the leadership of Congresswoman Escobar and the El Paso community which has worked for half a century to protect the environmental and cultural resources that date back 10,000 years. Designating Castner Range as a national monument would honor its historical significance for Native Americans, veterans, and the world’s largest binational community as well as create more opportunities to expand equitable access to green spaces. A national monument designation would also help ensure the community has access to clean water, protect the area’s endemic rare and endangered species, and preserve fragile lands already surrounded on three sides by development. With less than eight years to fulfill the promise to protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, the Biden-Harris administration should move quickly to designate Castner Range a national monument through the powers granted under the Antiquities Act.” Read the press release HERE and see how you can take action HERE.
KETANJI BROWN JACKSON WILL BE A JUSTICE FOR ALL: This week, LCV’s Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner published a blog calling for Judge Jackson’s swift confirmation to the Supreme Court, highlighting her myriad qualifications and the positive impacts she will have on the court. “When the stakes for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the climate crisis, and our democracy are higher than ever, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson can be trusted to uphold the promise of equal justice under law.” Read the op-ed HERE.
CONFIRMING JUDGE JACKSON TO THE SUPREME COURT: On Thursday, Chispa LCV Digital Campaigns Manager Alexa Aispuro joined Osvaldo Fonseca of Chispa Florida and D’Bria Bradshaw of Democracy For All to discuss the importance of confirming Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court. The conversation was part of Chispa’s new web series, Chispeando. View the recording HERE and follow Chispa LCV to be notified of new episodes.
ALLIANCE FOR ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES WEBINAR: This past Wednesday, the Alliance for Electric School buses (AESB) and WRI hosted a webinar that will be the first in a series featuring the voices of parents, community advocates, and school districts whose leadership have helped pave the way for electric school buses in their communities.Check out AESB’s Twitter for content and live tweets from the event HERE.
LCV ACTION FUND ENDORSES JOSH HARDER FOR CONGRESS: On Monday, LCV announced its endorsement of Josh Harder for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 9th Congressional District. Rep. Harder is a member of the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Agriculture and earned a 100% on LCV’s recently released 2021 National Environmental Scorecard. He has introduced the Future of Agricultural Resiliency and Modernization Act, which would help farmers more effectively fight climate change by acknowledging the critical role farmers, farm workers, and the agricultural sector must play in tackling climate change.
OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Representative Josh Harder has fought hard to combat the devastating impacts from climate change experienced by Californians across the state, including drought, wildfires, and crop loss on farms. LCV Action Fund is proud to support his campaign for re-election because we know he will continue to fight for the transformational climate investments we need in clean energy, justice, and good-paying jobs for all communities.”
REP. HARDER TAKE: Rep. Josh Harder said, “Protecting our planet isn’t negotiable. For our families here in the Central Valley, polluted air and water are already hurting our kids and our way of life. Proud to receive the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund’s endorsement. We have lots of work ahead.”
NEW ADS CALL OUT REPUBLICANS FOR TAKING BIG OIL MONEY: On Friday, Climate Power and LCV announced a series of ads calling out Republicans who take campaign contributions from Big Oil companies while voting against clean energy legislation. The ad running nationally and on D.C. cable features Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise who were the top two recipients of oil and gas money in the House last cycle. District specific ads will run in four Republican-represented districts in Southern California and Florida that are on the front lines of the climate crisis.
OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “It is the height of hypocrisy for a member of Congress who represents a district that’s been hammered by deadly climate-fueled wildfires or tropical storms to take Big Oil’s money and vote against clean energy investments. It’s time for Big Oil’s allies in Congress to feel the heat for amassing campaign contributions from price gouging oil and gas executives.” Watch the ad HERE.
LCV TOP 5: On the last day of March, LCV reflected on its top 5 items in the ongoing fight for a secure and equitable clean energy future for the month of March: 1) A digital ad campaign in Wisconsin to support climate investments alongside President Biden’s Visit, 2) A poll memo connecting with voters on gas prices, 3) the Biden-Harris Administration’s good news on clean vehicles and transit, 4) Chispa LCV’s new digital ad campaign, I Fight For Climate Justice, and 5) thousands of LCV Members showing support for strong conservation standards. Read about each HERE.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
CLIMATE SOLUTIONS NOW ACT PASSES IN MARYLAND: On Thursday, the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 passed the Maryland Senate by a vote of 32-15 after passing the House earlier this week by a vote of 95-42. The ambitious bill raises the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 40% to 60% below 2006 levels by 2031 and takes concrete steps to reduce pollution and build the state’s clean energy economy.. It now heads to the desk of Governor Larry Hogan, who has expressed opposition to pieces of the bill. With such wide support from Marylanders and a supermajority in the legislature, it’s unclear if Hogan will sign or veto the bill. Advocates, including Maryland LCV, have been building support among legislators for a potential veto override. Read more from MDLCV HERE.
CHISPA MARYLAND TAKE: Director of Chispa Maryland Ramón Palencia-Calvo said, “In Maryland, more than 650,000 kids ride school buses. The Electric School Bus Pilot Program in Climate Solutions Now puts the health of Maryland’s youth and communities first by putting us on a path to transition the state’s school bus fleet to clean, zero-emission electric school buses.”
MARYLAND LCV TAKE: Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kim Coble said, “Today, the General Assembly has taken steps that put Maryland on the path to lead the nation once again in addressing climate change in a responsible, achievable, and equitable manner. We are grateful to the General Assembly, especially Chairman Paul Pinsky, Chairmen Kumar Barve and C.T. Wilson, and Vice Chair Dana Stein, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones for their dedicated efforts to pass this significant legislation that will benefit all Marylanders. Governor Hogan must sign the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 to put us on a road to a clean energy future for Maryland’s children.”
CHISPA TEXAS SPEAKS OUT AGAINST GAS EXPANSION IN THE GULF: Last week, President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the development of plans to help the EU end its reliance on Russian gas in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement laid out strategies to both expand the supply of US-produced gas to Europe and to reduce Europe’s need for fossil fuels. Gulf Coast communities are speaking out against any plans the Task Force may develop to expand gas exports, endangering communities and the environment that are already overburdened by the toxic industry’s presence.
CHISPA TX TAKE: Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo said: “Our thoughts are with those in Ukraine and Europe who are facing humanitarian and energy crises, but we cannot disregard the crises our communities are facing every day. The Biden Administration cannot promise to reduce greenhouse gasses while increasing the fracking and production of LNG. Fracking methane gas poisons our scarce drinking water, the land, and air especially in communities that already have trouble accessing clean, potable water and live in sacrifice zones. Plus, the industry has left 1000s of orphaned wells throughout the state that leak tons of methane into the atmosphere and the people once again bear the costs. President Biden has a commitment to protect the environment, act on environmental justice, and be energy independent. This should mean finding alternatives to fossil fuels and stopping the greenwashing efforts such as carbon capture storage and hydrogen. There is an open invitation for President Biden or representatives from his administration to visit our communities. In the meantime, we hope he acts on our demands for environmental justice, and for European leaders to listen to affected people instead of the lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry.”
INDIANAPOLIS LEADS THE NATION ON CLEAN TRANSPORTATION: The recently-released short film, Community Power Indiana: Beyond The Line, is a collaboration between the Redford Center, LCV, and Chispa that tells the story of how IndyGo—the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation—created the first, and one of the largest, fully electric bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in the nation through a bi-partisan effort. The IndyGo BRT system is a faster, more efficient, safe, reliable, and economically accessible commute alternative. It has also brought significant infrastructure upgrades, jobs and community benefits to Indianapolis. The film is the second in a series by The Redford Center that showcases community power and storytelling in a collective call for civic engagement around clean transportation. Watch the film and hear directly from people in Indianapolis whose lives are changed for the better HERE, and watch the first video in the series, Community Power Nevada: Unidxs En Acción (United In Action), HERE.
ARTIST DANIEL GONZALEZ IS BUILDING COMMUNITY POWER: This week, LCV interviewed artist Daniel González to discuss his collaboration with LCV and Chispa AZ to create a piece that called attention to the urgent need for climate justice, immigration rights and voter protection. Read his artist spotlight HERE.
CRITICAL NY POLLUTION CLEANUP PROGRAM IN JEOPARDY: Sites that have been contaminated by polluting industrial use require intensive and costly clean up efforts to reduce the levels of dangerous substances to meet health and environmental standards in order to be redeveloped for other uses. New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program encourages developers to remediate and revitalize polluted sites through removing barriers and providing tax incentives. This important program is set to expire this year, unless state legislators authorize a renewal in the budget. Governor Kathy Hochul proposed a ten-year renewal, but lawmakers have yet to commit.
NYLCV TAKE: Patrick McClellan of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, “The way it works is when there is a property that has been contaminated, either by heavy industrial use or a careless use of chemicals that you sometimes see with auto body shops or dry cleaners, where you can’t build on there until it’s been remediated. The Brownfield Cleanup Program has been around for about 20 years. It’s one of the most important tools the state has to remediate environmentally contaminated sites.” Learn more HERE.
NY WANTS EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY: On Monday, New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe published an op-ed urging the State Assembly to negotiate the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act as part of the adopted budget due by April 1st. The proposed law would place the responsibility forwaste management on producers rather than municipalities, who have long been overwhelmed by the scale of waste. If passed, EPR will reimburse local governments for the expenses of collecting and processing recyclables, while requiring producers to pay for the collection and recycling of the packaging materials they distribute into the state.”
NYLCV TAKE: New York LCV President Julie Tighe wrote, “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is already a familiar concept to New Yorkers — we use it for electronic waste, car tires, and soon, paint and pharmaceutical drugs. While EPR for product packaging and paper products was authorized by a first U.S. state, Maine, last year, it has been used in Canada and the European Union for years. Now New York has a chance to build on those models and authorize a stronger EPR for packaging in time for Earth Day. Governor Hochul and the State Senate have proposed EPR legislation as part of the budget. Now we need the State Assembly to negotiate this bill as part of the adopted budget due by April 1.”
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS IN MD: Maryland is poised to pass important environmental bills this legislative session to increase inspections, ban chemicals, and invest in conservation. The Maryland League of Conservation Voters has been working to hold state politicians accountable with “scathing marks” on its legislative scorecard the last 2 years. Read more HERE.
OFFSHORE WIND PORT ADVISORY GROUP FORMED: Maine Conservation Voters Director of Government Affairs Beth Ahern is joining Searsport Town Manager James Gilway to co-chair an Offshore Wind Port Advisory Group that will advise the Maine Department of Transportation and other state officials about the potential development of wind port facilities. The body will work to help the state take advantage of the opportunities for environmental and economic benefits of the rapidly developing offshore wind market.
LCV NEW HAMPSHIRITE URGES JACKSON CONFIRMATION: LCV Member Johnathan Hoogeveen wrote a letter to the editor in the New Hampshire Union Leader urging the state’s U.S. senators to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Hoogeveen argues that the court needs justices who will protect the environment, public health and civil rights and Judge Jackson has a critical perspective to bring to the job
HOOGEVEEN TAKE: LCV member Johnathan Hoogeveen wrote, “We need fair-minded judges who understand the difference between science and politics and recognize the government’s responsibility to protect civil rights, public health, and the environment. We need fair-minded justices who will protect the rights of everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful.”
GA CUSTOMERS DEMAND SOLAR ENERGY: Last week, Georgians gathered at a Public Service Commission town hall to express their support for clean energy and expanding solar power in the state. Attendees also shared concerns over high electricity bills and underscored the need for bill assistance programs.
GCV TAKE: Deborah Opie from Georgia Conservation Voters said in reference to high electricity bill costs, “You can’t hear people’s pain. You have organizations like mine, you have churches that constantly cover and help people maintain their [electricity] services. There is a gap, and there could possibly even be a gulf where people fall through the cracks.” Read more HERE.
PROTESTERS CALL FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE IN DOWNTOWN RALEIGH: Last Friday, Climate Action North Carolina, a local project of LCV, organized a “People not Profit” strike to make environmental values a state priority. Protesters had a list of demands:ending Duke Energy’s Monopoly in North Carolina, prioritizing efforts to address environmental racism, stopping rate hikes, ensuring affordable housing – particularly along public transit quarters – increasing restrictions of biomass fuel processing, and increasing protection for tree canopies, nature preserves, and watershed areas.
STRIKE ORGANIZER TAKE: Raleigh City Council candidate and strike organizer Mary Black said, “For more than 40 years, oil and gas industries knew that the climate crisis has been an impending reality and what did they do? Spend the majority of those 40 years not only denying their role in the climate crisis, but the existence of climate change at all.”
PA RALLIES FOR CLIMATE, JOBS, AND JUSTICE: On Thursday, Climate Action PA joined Interfaith Power and Light to organize a Climate, Justice and Jobs Rally at Philadelphia City Hall. Ralliers called out the disproportionate percentage of BIPOC communities in the state living in places polluted with toxic waste, as well as the disproportionately high number of Black communities located in areas physically vulnerable to climate hazards like hurricanes and flooding.
NEVADA CONSERVATION LEAGUE JOINS ARTISTS IN LV: On the first Friday of every month, Nevada Conservation League (NCL) will join First Friday Las Vegas for a night of local art, music, and food. This Friday, artist Gui Lemes talks about his latest collaboration with NCL and LCV on a climate justice inspired mural at the event. To learn more about Gui and his work, click HERE, and follow NCL HERE.
IN THE FIELD: Across the nation, communities want climate action now. LCV’s field team has knocked on nearly 533,000 doors and has activated over 31,700 people to advocate for critical climate legislation. Nearly 25,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too.
APRIL 4: Second IPCC Report to be released
APRIL 4: Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Move Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court Nomination to Full Vote
APRIL 5- APRIL 6: Big Oil Price Gouging Art Installation at National Mall
APRIL 6: House Energy and Commerce Hearing with Fossil Fuel Executives
APRIL 12: Thank Election Heroes Day of Action
APRIL 16-24: National Park Week
APRIL 22: Earth Day
VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES: Click HERE for more information and see next week’s registration deadlines below:
-April 3 – Ohio VR Deadline
-April 4 – Indiana VR Deadline
-April 5 – Indiana Early Voting Opens
-April 5 – Ohio Early Voting Opens
-April 10 -Nebraska Early Voting Opens