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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – APRIL 8, 2022

Apr 8, 2022

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – APRIL 8, 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:

“As I have pursued this professional path, and if I’m fortunate enough to be confirmed as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded, will inspire future generations of Americans.”

— Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson speaking about her nomination to the Supreme Court. On Thursday, she was confirmed as the first Black woman and first public defender to ever serve on the nation’s highest court.

“That pollution does affect our health, affect our water, and affect our everyday life.”

Elida Castillo, program coordinator for Chispa Texas and a Taft resident, speaking on a new report by the World Health Organization which found that 99 percent of the global population is breathing in unhealthy air. This week, the American Lung Association also released a report, “Zeroing in on Healthy Air,”  which states that a nationwide switch to zero emission vehicles, combined with a switch to clean, renewable electricity production, would save many lives and billions in health care costs. 

Your ancestors cherished these lands for many generations and despite centuries of land disputes and shifting policies, your connections to these cliffs and to this river remain unbroken.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, celebrating the return of more than 400 acres of the Rappahannock Tribe’s tribal homeland on Friday. 

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SUPREME COURT JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON IS CONFIRMED IN HISTORIC VOTE: On Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman and first former public defender to ever serve on the nation’s highest court. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “We are thrilled to congratulate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on her historic confirmation to the Supreme Court! One of the most qualified nominees in American history, Justice Jackson’s varied and distinguished career of public service demonstrates that she is the right person for this momentous lifetime appointment. The Supreme Court and lower courts make decisions that touch our daily lives in countless ways, and the appointment of the first Black woman and first former public defender ever to serve on our nation’s highest court is a milestone in the fight for a judiciary that looks like America and protects our vital interests, including clean air, clean water, racial justice, and a democracy that works for the people, not just the polluters and other special interests. Environmental laws are only as strong as the judges who enforce them, and we trust that Justice Jackson will be a justice for the people.”

COALITION TAKE: A broad coalition of environmental, climate, and public health advocacy groups, including LCV and Chispa, issued the following statement. Here are some highlights:“Clean air, clean water, climate action, environmental justice, and the right to vote are at stake in our judicial system right now – especially in the Supreme Court. Our laws are only as strong as the judges who uphold them. We are confident that Justice Jackson understands the government’s authority to protect the public and will hold everyone, including powerful corporate polluters, to the same high standards of the law…After 233 years, it is well past time for the Supreme Court to include a Black woman. This is an essential step forward, as communities of color bear disproportionate burdens of toxic air and water pollution and our nation faces the enormous challenge of addressing environmental injustices from coast to coast.” Read the full statement HERE

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE VOTES ON JUDGE JACKSON’S HISTORIC SUPREME COURT NOMINATION: On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “We’re thrilled Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination to the Supreme Court stands one step closer to well-deserved confirmation. We are also disappointed but not surprised that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are willing to force a discharge motion on a Supreme Court nominee for the first time in over a century, on the first Black woman to ever be nominated, despite acknowledging her extensive qualifications… We know that environmental laws are only as strong as the judges who uphold them — we need all three branches of government to make them work. ” Read LCV’s full statement HERE.

LCV CALLS OUT OIL COMPANIES’ PRICE GOUGING: In anticipation of Wednesday’s House Energy and Commerce hearing, “Gouged at the Gas Station: Big Oil and America’s Pain at the Pump” with oil and gas CEOs, LCV displayed an art installation featuring a wall of oil barrels on the National Mall to highlight the oil industry’s price gouging and hold them accountable for these excessive gas prices.

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Enough is enough. Big Oil CEOs and their Republican allies on the Energy and Commerce Committee lied to the public today – we can’t drill our way out of high gas prices. It is abhorrent that these companies continue to take advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and hold back supply to reward shareholders with record profits, while spending millions to obstruct real, affordable clean energy solutions…The Senate must meet the moment on climate and insulate the nation from volatile fossil fuel prices by swiftly enacting the House-passed $555 billion investments in climate, clean energy and environmental justice into law.” See LCV’s full statement HERE.

DESIGNATING CASTNER RANGE AS A NATIONAL MONUMENT: On Thursday, Congresswoman Escobar sent a letter to President Biden urging him to use the powers of the Antiquities Act to designate Castner Range as a National Monument.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate Ben Alexandro said, “Thank you to Representative Escobar for her leadership in this historic effort to protect Castner Range in El Paso, a true national treasure. Permanently protecting Castner Range as a national monument would safeguard and expand outdoor access for the surrounding communities, protect the area’s countless cultural and historic resources for future generations, and provide the opportunity for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors. With less than eight years to fulfill the promise to protect 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, we echo the call for the Biden-Harris administration to use their power under the Antiquities Act and move quickly to designate Castner Range a national monument.”

LCV STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE WORKING GROUP III REPORT: On Monday, the IPCC Working Group III report was released. The report focused on mitigating the climate crisis, highlighting the importance of limiting warming to 1.5 °C and the inadequacy of current commitments to achieve this goal. 

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said,“This latest report from the IPCC, coupled with the Working Group II report released just a few weeks ago, reinforces the urgency of transformational action to address the climate crisis at the scale that science and justice require. We are encouraged to see the IPCC state clearly that clean, renewable energy must power our future, and that we must severely curtail our dependence on fossil fuels and false solutions like unconstrained use of carbon capture technology, hydrogen, and biofuels. As the wealthiest nation in the world and one of the largest historical emitters of climate pollution, the United States has an obligation to swiftly advance our clean energy transition and support less developed countries in meeting their goals.First and foremost, the Senate must enact the House-passed $555 billion investments in climate, jobs, and justice, a crucial step in meeting our existing climate commitments.” See LCV’s full statement HERE.

BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES BUILDING BETTER SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN: On Tuesday, the Biden-Harris administration announced its Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure, which will leverage existing investments to support schools across the country as they transition to more energy efficient buildings and transportation.

OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate Darien Davis said, “Today’s announcement marks a strong step toward better health and educational outcomes for children in our public schools, especially for communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by toxic pollution. This whole-of-government approach to school infrastructure will help ensure kids in schools breathe cleaner air while saving districts money and creating good-paying jobs. More than 25 million children ride dirty diesel-powered school buses each day, and programs like the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure will help schools better access the resources they need to make sure that kids have a clean ride to school. We also urge Congress to swiftly approve President Biden’s FY2023 Budget and enact the House-passed $555 billion investments in climate, jobs and justice investments to make our schools even safer and healthier.” Read our press release HERE.

PRO-CLIMATE POLITICAL DONORS DRIVE RECORD-BREAKING PACE FOR GIVEGREEN IN 2022: On Friday, LCV Victory Fund and NRDC Action Votes announced more than $12 million has been raised and contributed for federal and state candidates through GiveGreen so far during the 2021-2022 election cycle. Last cycle, GiveGreen was the biggest single-issue progressive candidate fundraising platform. So far this cycle, GiveGreen has outperformed fundraising numbers from both the 2020 and 2018 elections. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund President Gene Karpinski said, “After another year of record-breaking climate catastrophes and the growing energy crisis from our dependence on fossil fuels, GiveGreen donors understand that climate is on the ballot in November and the stakes have never been higher. We applaud GiveGreen donors for building power to help ensure we elect strong climate and environmental justice leaders across the nation, up and down the ballot who will deliver the transformational investments in clean energy, justice, and jobs that we need.” View the press release HERE.

LCV ACTION FUND ENDORSEMENTS FOR CONGRESS: LCV Action Fund announced three endorsements to the U.S. House of Representatives this week: Val Hoyle (OR-04), Jeff Jackson (NC-14), and Dr. Yadira Caraveo (CO-08).

ADS HIGHLIGHT SEN. WARNOCK’S SUPPORT FOR CLEAN ENERGY: Today LCV announced a new $180,000 ad buy in Georgia highlighting Senator Warnock’s support for clean energy and climate legislation that will lower costs for Georgia families. The ad launches as oil and gas companies and their allies in Congress are taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine to line their own pockets while Georgians shoulder the cost. Watch the ad HERE.

OUR TAKE: LCV Regional Campaigns Director Joann Saridakis said, “Big Oil’s allies are hurling false attacks at Senator Warnock because they know he’s right – investing in clean, renewable energy is the only real solution to high, unpredictable gas prices. Senator Warnock is delivering for Georgia families and we support his efforts to pass climate, jobs, and justice legislation that will lower energy costs and protect our national and climate security.”

GCV TAKE: Brionté McCorkle, Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters, said “Senator Warnock has spent his entire life putting people first. He’s not going to back down when Big Oil’s allies attack his policies. He’s working every day to lower energy costs for Georgians and pass a plan for homegrown clean energy that’ll save families hundreds of dollars each year and protect our communities from the endless cycle of spiking gas prices.”

NEW ADS CALL OUT FL REPUBLICANS FOR TAKING BIG OIL MONEY AND BLOCKING CLEAN ENERGY PLAN TO LOWER COSTS FOR FAMILIES: On Thursday, Climate Power and LCV announced new ads calling out Florida Representatives Maria Salazar (FL-27) and Carlos Giménez (FL-26) for taking campaign contributions from Big Oil companies while voting against clean energy legislation. The Florida ads come alongside a series of ads in Republican-represented districts in Southern California that are on the front lines of the climate crisis, as well as ads running nationally and on D.C. cable that feature House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise who were the top two recipients of oil and gas money in the House last cycle. View the press release and watch the ad HERE.

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.”

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Lori Lodes, Climate Power Executive Director, said, “Voters are angry at politicians protecting the profits of Big Oil CEOs while they struggle to fill their gas tanks. Big Oil-backed Republicans in power have spread disinformation about climate change and blocked plans to transition to a clean energy economy. We can make the U.S. truly energy independent by speeding up the production of clean renewable energy – like wind and solar – that will lower prices and reduce our dependence on oil.”

LCV JOINS CALLS FOR JUSTICE THOMAS INVESTIGATION: Last week, LCV signed a letter joining 18 organizations calling on Congress to open an investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in response to the alarming revelations that Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Thomas, was deeply involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Read the letter HERE.

CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS INTRODUCE CLEAN ENERGY LEGISLATION: On Wednesday, Representatives Jason Crow (CO-06) and Cori Bush (MO-01) were joined by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing the Energy Security and Independence Act, which will strengthen America’s renewable energy supply chain through the Defense Production Act and invest in programs to lower utility prices. The legislation, which is endorsed by LCV and over 80 organizations, comes just days after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a “now or never” warning on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Read the release HERE.

MI-LED PFAS BILL ADVANCES IN U.S. SENATE: Bipartisan legislation to reduce the spread of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination at commercial airports has advanced in the Senate. The Preventing PFAS Runoff at Airports Act, authored by U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), would deploy more existing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding for commercial airports to purchase devices necessary to test their firefighting equipment without discharging toxic PFAS chemicals.

MLCV TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters federal government affairs director Bentley Johnson said, “Toxic PFAS contamination is a major threat in communities across Michigan, and this legislation will help reduce exposure to PFAS at commercial airports, one of the key sources of contamination. We commend Sen. Peters and sponsors of this legislation for taking proactive steps to protect our health and begin to start tackling this water contamination crisis.” Learn more HERE.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

LCV CALLS ON MARYLAND GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN TO SUPPORT CLIMATE SOLUTIONS NOW: On Thursday, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Climate Solutions Now Act committing to net-zero energy by 2045 and setting the strongest carbon emission reduction targets in the country, This critical bill now goes to Governor Hogan’s desk.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of State Policy, Advocacy, & Network-wide Campaigns Bill Holland said: “Last week Maryland’s General Assembly passed the strongest carbon pollution reduction goal in the country. The Climate Solutions Now Act is the most significant action on climate we have seen anywhere in the country in 2022. This is a critical moment. The consequences of the climate crisis are growing and Marylanders feel the impacts from hotter summers, rising sea levels, and stronger storms every day.  In the strongest possible terms, we call on Governor Hogan to support this crucial bill and allow it to become law. He should be championing such a win-win for Maryland.” Read the full statement HERE.

NY BUDGET GOES BIG ON THE ENVIRONMENT & 100% ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS FLEET: New York will commit to 100% electric school buses by 2035 in the state budget, becoming the first state in the country to mandate an all zero-emissions school bus fleet. On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a budget agreement with major key environmental investments including the landmark bus commitment. Listen to New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe discuss the record environmental investments in the state budget HERE and read NYLCV’s overview of efforts to get the electric school bus mandate into the state budget HERE.

CHISPA ARIZONA COMMUNITY GARDEN: Chispa Arizona leader Blanca Abarca is raising awareness about climate change and pollution through gardening. Chispa AZ brings together people of all ages to connect with the environment and discuss environmental justice at their plot in the Spaces of Opportunity Community Garden in south Phoenix. Read the story HERE

NEW JERSEY WORKS TO BAN “FOREVER CHEMICALS”:  NJ Congressman Andy Kim joined a webinar hosted by New Jersey League of Conservation Voters and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed on Wednesday to discuss national water quality standards and banning the use of PFAS – chemicals used in a wide variety of products and referred to as “forever chemicals” because of how long it takes for them to break down. Representative Kim also talked about cleaning up sites contaminated with PFAS in New Jersey.

FUNDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN NEW YORK: On Wednesday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced $34 million in federal funding for the state’s Weatherization Stimulus Program to support energy efficiency and electrification upgrades for over a thousand low- to moderate-income households. These upgrades will lower energy costs and improve health and safety standards. Under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, state energy conservation programs for low-income homes – like New York’s Weatherization program – receive additional federal funding.

NYLCV TAKE: President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “For New York to achieve the goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, we need to address the largest source of energy use across the state: buildings. More energy efficiency results in less overall energy use, which reduces emissions and costs. This program is important to support building decarbonization and electrification across the state, which will ultimately provide significant benefits for both the climate and public health, while supporting low-income residents.” 

OHIO CLEAN WATER IS IN JEOPARDY: The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation relaxing regulations around ephemeral streams – stream paths that only flow after rain or snowmelt and are critical to maintaining water systems.  In 2020, President Trump removed ephemeral streams from protection under the Clean Water Act. Ohio’s bill, which passed along party lines, gets rid of the permitting process required to alter ephemeral streams in the state during construction and now heads to Governor DeWine’s desk. 

OEC ACTION FUND TAKE: Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund Program DirectorPete Bucher said, “Not only does HB 175 fail to protect the important ecological qualities of Ohio’s ephemeral streams, it also fails to protect the drinking water of millions of Ohioans who rely on water resources fed by these streams. This bill will cause regulatory uncertainty for the 36,000 miles of ephemeral streams in Ohio, leading to further pollution ending up in our larger waterways. As a result, Ohio families will likely see rising water bills given increased treatment needs…We urge Governor DeWine to act in accordance with his strong stance of protecting Ohio waterways and veto this bill.”

FIGHTING TO PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS IN NM: On Tuesday, San Juan County commissioners voted 4-1 to pass a resolution opposing the Biden administration’s 30×30 goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by  2030. 

CVNM TAKE: Greg Peters, Conservation Voters New Mexico Senior Advocate for Lands, Water & Wildlife, said, “New Mexicans across the state overwhelmingly support safeguarding our vulnerable landscapes and watersheds, with 80% supporting the 30×30 goals. It’s unfortunate that San Juan County Commissioners instead chose to embrace fear and misinformation from out-of-state-interest groups.” 

CA MOVES TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS: On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act currently being considered in the state legislature. The bill would divest all public employees retirement funds from fossil fuel holdings and prohibit any future fossil fuel investment.

CA TARGETS NOVEMBER BALLOT FOR CLEAN CARS AND CLEAN AIR ACT: Organizers in California expect to have enough signatures to get the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act ballot initiative onto the November ballot within the next few weeks. The measure would increase taxes on Californians who make more than $2 million a year by less than 2% and generate over $3 billion in annual revenue allocated for electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure and wildfire mitigation, prioritizing investments in low-income communities. This would help protect air quality by addressing California’s two largest sources of air pollution – transportation and wildfires – and quadruple the state’s already unprecedented electric vehicle investments.

ENVIROVOTERS TAKE: CEO of California Environmental Voters Mary Creasman said in support of the ballot measure, “It was the U.N. panel on climate change that said, look, we need our governments, we need our leaders to be acting quicker with more urgency because the truth is we have until 2030 to make massive changes to our infrastructure and economy to avoid the worst.”  

CT ADVOCATES FOR CLIMATE LEGISLATION: On Tuesday, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters joined legislators and environmental advocates at a news conference in front of the state capitol building calling on the General Assembly to pass critical climate legislation. Most notably, An Act Concerning Climate Mitigation would commit Connecticut to achieve zero-carbon electricity by 2040 CTLCV is tracking key environmental bills as they move through the state legislature on their Watchlist.

IN THE FIELD: Across the nation, communities want climate action now. LCV’s field team has knocked on nearly 535,000 doors and has activated over 31,800 people to advocate for critical climate legislation. Over 25,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too. 

 COMING UP:

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 10 -Nebraska Early Voting Opens 

-April 19: Kentucky and West Virginia Voter Registration Deadlines

-April 22: Idaho, Nebraska, North Carolina Voter Registration Deadlines