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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – APRIL 28, 2023

Apr 28, 2023

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:

“Many of these Republican members have been home in their districts taking credit for the new projects that the IRA tax credits are starting in their districts. They go home, they take credit for the tax credits; they come here, and they vote to undo the tax credits.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), chair of the Senate Budget Committee in Wednesday’s press event on the Default on America Act. Sen. Whitehouse discussed how the IRA tax credits benefit all districts, yet Republicans continue to vote against tax credits.

“The beauty of this political movement is that it comes with practical economic advantages. It can start with those thousands of wind-powered jobs coming to Tradepoint. But it extends far beyond, to support economic opportunities in energy conservation, in green construction, in ecotourism and in making Maryland a healthier, more attractive and more sustainable place for the coming generations.”

— A recent editorial in the Baltimore Sun titledMaryland shows good environmental policy is also good politics.

“Ultimately, the communities that are closest to the problem, and therefore closest to the solution, are the furthest away from the resources.”

Abdul Dosunmu, leader of the Donors of Color Network’s Climate Funders Justice Pledge, discussing why the $120 million the organization has mobilized in funding from major climate donors for BIPOC-led environmental justice organizations is key to getting resources to those most affected by the climate crisis.

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HIGHLIGHTS IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IMPLEMENTATION:

GOV. WES MOORE SIGNED KEY ENVIRONMENTAL BILLS AFFIRMING RIGHT TO CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN ENERGY: On Friday, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed four environmental bills including the POWER Act for offshore wind, two bills for the Clean Trucks Act of 2023, and the Clean Transportation and Energy Act. The bold climate action and clean energy projects these bills will help launch are made financially feasible by tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act. By investing in clean energy, these bills will reduce greenhouse gasses and prioritize environmental justice in Maryland’s agenda. Read more about the legislation here.

MAINE IS MAKING RAPID PROGRESS ON CLEAN ENERGY: Bangor, Maine resident and health care fundraiser Kim Boucher published an op-ed this week highlighting how our transition to a clean, affordable energy future made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act will improve the lives of her four children. Read the full piece here.

COMMUNITY MEMBER TAKE: Bangor, Maine resident and health care fundraiser Kim Boucher said, “Ultimately, this transition to clean energy will not only help reduce carbon emissions, but is also creating new job opportunities, stimulating local economic growth and increasing energy security. Investments in climate-friendly buildings, energy efficiency, renewable energy and other innovative technology and products in the years to come will only grow. To me, that means in 17 years, when my youngest is turning 20, they will have even more opportunities to stay here in Maine and earn a good living, while also doing good for our planet.”

VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES COME TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE CLIMATE ACTION AND DISCUSS PRIORITIES FOR EARTH DAY: On Saturday, Virginia LCV, Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia Sierra Club, Climate Cabinet Action Fund, politicians and environmental advocates gathered for Earth Day in Woodbridge, Virginia to highlight Virginia investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and discuss priorities for clean energy, air, and water. Check out photos from the event here.

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NATIONAL NEWS:

PRESIDENT BIDEN AND VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION: President Biden officially announced on Tuesday that he and Vice President Harris will be running for re-election for president in 2024. In their campaign announcement video, the President and Vice President promise to “Finish the Job.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The Biden-Harris administration has done far more to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice than any in our nation’s history. From Day One whole-of-government commitments to advance climate solutions to the historic Inflation Reduction Act – the single biggest step our country has ever taken on climate – to recent progress on environmental justice, mercury pollution, clean vehicles, national monuments, family-sustaining jobs and more, President Biden and Vice President Harris have restored America’s global leadership on climate and jump started our transition to an equitable clean energy future.

While much progress has been made, there is still more to do to achieve President Biden’s science-based climate goal of cutting pollution in half by 2030. It’s critically important that President Biden and Vice President Harris finish the job.”

GOP DEBT DEFAULT BILL TO KILL CLEAN ENERGY JOBS AND ROLL BACK PROGRESS ON ADDRESSING CLIMATE CRISIS: On Thursday, over bipartisan opposition, the House voted to advance Congressional Republicans’ extreme debt-default bill in an attempt to provide massive giveaways to Big Oil and other polluters. See our letter to members of the House urging them to vote no on the Default on America Act ahead of the vote this week.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that House Republicans put polluters over people and try to drastically reverse progress on climate action, clean energy job creation, and justice in frontline communities and communities of color. What makes this especially egregious is that they are willing to risk a default crisis to do so. Their debt default bill is not a solution — it is a dangerous, reckless, and deeply unpopular plan to gut environmental protections, blockade overdue investments to address the climate crisis, and give in to the demands of Big Polluters at the expense of the health of their constituents and communities. We will fight like hell to ensure that the President’s affordable clean energy plan remains in place and to enact critical funding for environmental programs. It’s time for the Republicans to stop playing politics with the default crisis and do what’s best for our country.”

ICYMI: SENATORS, REPRESENTATIVES, CLEAN ENERGY WORKERS, CLIMATE GROUPS DISCUSS GOP DEBT-DEFAULT BILL AND RISKS TO CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: On Wednesday, Senators Tina Smith, Catherine Cortez Masto, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Representatives Mike Levin, Suzanne Bonamici, Gabe Vasquez, and Veronica Escobar joined clean energy workers, LCV, Climate Power, Clean Energy for America, Rewiring America, and E2 on Capitol Hill to discuss Speaker McCarthy’s extreme and unpopular debt default bill. Speakers discussed how the bill would destroy clean energy jobs and the clean energy boom happening across the country as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden-Harris administration’s affordable clean energy plan. Read about the event here and watch the press conference here.

NEW AD CAMPAIGN BLASTS MAGA HOUSE GOP FOR PROPOSAL THAT THREATENS AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY JOBS: LCV and Climate Power launched a seven figure ad campaign against the GOP’s extreme job and climate killing debt default proposal, dubbed the “Default on America” Act. Read about the ad campaign here and watch the national ad, titled “Demand,” here.

LCV AND CLIMATE POWER LAUNCH SECOND ROUND OF SEVEN-FIGURE ADS HIGHLIGHTING DANGERS OF DEBT DEFAULT VOTE: This second round of ads targets House members who voted for the extreme House Republicans’ Default on America Act on Wednesday. While the last round of ads was national, this round is district-specific and each ad highlights the job-creating clean energy projects in the representatives’ districts that could be at risk if the proposal becomes law. Read about the ad campaign here and watch one of the district-specific ads titled “Disappear,” here.

COALITION OF ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE APPROPRIATORS TO INCREASE ENVIRONMENTAL FUNDING: LCV and Trust for Public Land led 41 environmental and public health organizations in sending a letter to Congressional Appropriators urging them to significantly increase funding in Fiscal Year 2024 for environmental programs and to exclude anti-environmental policy provisions from the final appropriations bills. The letter also expresses deep concern with efforts to extract deep spending cuts as a condition of addressing the impending debt limit crisis. Read our letter here.

SENATE REPUBLICANS FORCE VOTE ON CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW ACT (CRA) RESOLUTION TO OVERTURN EPA’S RULE ON HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS: On Thursday, the CRA resolution to block EPA’s 2022 final rule establishing limits on health-harming pollution from heavy trucks and buses advanced through the Senate.  See our letter to Congress urging them to reject the CRA resolution ahead of the vote this week.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “Today’s vote shows yet again that Senate Republicans would choose to poison the air we breathe in order to prop up fossil fuel polluters and their record profits. The Biden-Harris administration’s stronger limits on diesel freight truck pollution will prevent thousands of premature deaths and millions of asthma attacks, and deliver billions of dollars in public health benefits each year. We commend the Biden-Harris administration and EPA Administrator Regan for cutting this health-harming pollution with last year’s rule and look forward to working with them to strengthen and finalize their recent proposal to cut climate pollution from trucks.”

EPA ANNOUNCES CLEAN SCHOOL BUS GRANT PROGRAM: On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $400 million in grants to invest in electric school buses in school districts across the country.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “LCV is excited to see the Biden-Harris Administration launch greater investments to bring electric school buses to thousands more school districts across the country. This historic program has already doubled the number of electric school buses hitting the road, reducing dangerous pollution in the air we breathe and making our communities healthier and cleaner for everyone, especially our kids. As we move towards the cleaner, healthier future that programs like the Clean School Bus Program make possible, we will continue to work with EPA to ensure their benefits reach the people that need them most, including low-income students, students of color, and school transportation workers that continue to breathe the dirtiest air.”

CHISPA TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Engagement Sandra Pérez González said, “This latest funding opportunity from the EPA to deploy thousands of more electric school buses will help bring our communities healthier, cleaner air, reduce climate-changing pollution, and  save school districts money in fuel and operating costs. Thousands of  electric school buses have already been deployed thanks to this historic program, which is the result of years of advocacy by parents, students, community members, elected leaders, and advocates. These added grant opportunities are crucial to ensuring that the communities that most suffer from health and climate-harming pollution, many of which are in school districts that were waitlisted in the inaugural 2022 Clean School Bus Program, are prioritized to receive the resources they need to stop preventable respiratory illnesses and other harms to public health as well as students’ academic performance and school attendance.”

CHISPA AZ TAKE: Chispa Arizona Executive Director Vianey Olivarria said, “Especially for our low-income communities of color in Arizona who disproportionately suffer from preventable respiratory illnesses caused by dirty air,  these latest investments from the EPA are crucial to a cleaner, healthier future for all. We are excited that this historic program is expanding to deploy more electric school buses and we look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that our country’s transition to electric school buses is equitable and just.”

BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT CALLS FOR OFFSHORE WIND POWER COMMERCIAL LEASING IN THE GULF OF MAINE: On Wednesday, LCV, together with Climate Action NH, Environmental League of Massachusetts, and Maine Conservation Voters, applauded the publication of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Call for Information and Nominations for offshore wind power commercial leasing in the Gulf of Maine.

OUR TAKE: LCV, Climate Action NH, Environmental League of Massachusetts, and Maine Conservation Voters said, “BOEM’s invitation for public comment on proposed offshore wind development in areas off the coast of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire is a significant next step in realizing the benefits of clean energy for the region’s climate goals and helping the country reach the Biden Administration’s target of building 30 GW of offshore wind nationally by 2030 and an additional 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035.

Deploying responsibly developed offshore wind at this scale could provide thousands of high-quality job opportunities for New England’s workforce and drive equitable access to economic opportunities, while building wealth in communities that have been historically overburdened by energy production.

We appreciate BOEM’s thoughtful approach to understanding the public’s concerns about offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine through its comment period for this Call for Information and Nominations, as well as its next Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting in Bangor, Maine in May. We look forward to participating in both.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

NCLCV SLAMS SUPREME COURT DECISION TO OVERRULE ITSELF + ALLOW UNFAIR MAPS: Today, the North Carolina Supreme Court released its decision to reverse its prior ruling in Harper v. Hall to allow for racist and partisan redistricting that can prevent voters from having a fair say in their elections. North Carolina LCV was a plaintiff in the case and released a statement condemning the new ruling.

NCLCV TAKE: North Carolina LCV Executive Director Carrie Clark stated, “We’re deeply disappointed by the ruling and agree wholeheartedly with the dissent by Justice Earls that characterizes the majority opinion as a ‘shameful manipulation of fundamental principles of our democracy and the rule of law.’ We appreciate her optimism in concluding, “I look forward to the day when commitment to the constitutional principles of free elections and equal protection of the laws are upheld and the abuses committed by the majority are recognized for what they are, permanently relegating them to the annals of this Court’s darkest moments.’”

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR DISAPPOINTS IN 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Earlier this year, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham shocked and disappointed environmental advocates when she vetoed five tax credits related to climate and clean energy that passed with nearly unanimous support in both the state house and senate. Despite initial progress when she was first elected in 2019, Lujan Grisham hasn’t stepped up as a climate leader in the past few years. Conservation Voters of New Mexico Executive Director Demis Foster spoke about the governor’s lack of action in an article released this week.

CHISPA NEVADA AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS CELEBRATE EARTH DAY: Chispa Nevada gathered with community leaders and partners on Earth Day to clean up the North Las Vegas Bike Trail. Participants cleaned 1.3 miles of trail as they discussed the best ways to preserve the environment. Check out Chispa Nevada’s post about the event here.

CHISPA ARIZONA HOSTS FIRST IN-PERSON EARTH DAY FESTIVAL: On April 22, Chispa Arizona hosted an Earth Day Festival that brought people together to celebrate the earth, connect with members of their community and learn more about Chispa Arizona’s  campaigns. See Chispa Arizona’s Instagram post about  the festival here.

CHISPA MARYLAND HOSTS EARTH DAY PARK MEET-UP: This week, Chispa Maryland gathered supporters to help  clean up Langley Park and share the importance of protecting community spaces. Check out Chispa MD’s  post here.

CHISPA FLORIDA FOOD BANK SUPPORT FOR EARTH DAY: This year, Chispa Florida celebrated Earth Day by supporting a local food bank, Boricuas De Corazón Inc.,  in Brandon, Florida. Food banks reduce food waste and greenhouse emissions while providing a helping hand to community members  who otherwise would face food insecurity. Check out Chispa Florida’s photos from the food bank event here.

EVENT PREVIEW! VALCV LEADS COMMUNITY DISCUSSION ON RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS: TOMORROW, Virginia LCV will be hosting a community discussion to hear from speakers highlighting the need for restoration of voting rights, including individuals impacted by voter disenfranchisement. RSVP here!

COMING UP:

APRIL 29: Virginia LCV Restoration of Voting Rights Event