THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – AUGUST 27, 2021
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“We can vote for leaders who believe in us, and we can work to ensure that this legislation that is essential to our future passes this year. We can’t wait any longer… Together, if we claim our power, and we do our part, we will invest in a future that sees us and serves us all.”
— Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight and the Southern Economic Advancement Project, speaking at a Great American Build Tour Event hosted by Georgia Conservation Voters and Climate Power about the need to pass the Build Back Better Agenda
“John knew that the fight for justice never truly ends. Each generation must fight & fight again to preserve the progress of the past and advance it. Now it’s our turn.”
— Representative Terri A. Sewell tweeted in honor of the House passing H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“The horrific sanitary conditions that Centreville residents face day in and day out is another example of municipal indifference that Black, low-income communities face in America.”
— Nicole Nelson, executive director of Equity Legal Services, speaking on decades-long sewage issues in Centreville, Illinois, causing unsafe conditions in homes in the community.
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Axios: Pelosi stares down dissenters
Politico: 4 senators to watch as Dems craft reconciliation package
E&E News: Will Waxman-Markey’s lessons guide greens in climate fight?
News & Guts: Patagonia Drops Jackson Hole Ski Resort As Client After Right-Wing Fundraiser
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:
Sacramento Bee (CA): California’s top Democrats took money from big oil and gas. Then climate legislation died
Bay News 9 (FL): Chispa FL organizes an event for awareness of red tide
Colorado Times Recorder (CO): CO Dems Outscore Republicans on Votes To Protect the Environment, According to Group’s Tally
Univision Orlando (FL): Chispa Florida on Despierta Orlando talking clean air, clean cars. and clean buses
E&E News (CA): Calif. recall hopefuls push promises on drought, wildfires
Vail Daily (CO): Drilling work gets underway amid legal threats in Homestake Valley
Detroit Free Press (MI): Whitmer calls on Michigan utilities to improve reliability, compensate consumers who lose power
PASSAGE OF HISTORIC VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION IN HOUSE: The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill would restore the critical voter protections from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 revoked in recent Supreme Court decisions and modernize the language to protect against recent attacks on voting rights in the states. We cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy — it is imperative that the Senate takes up and passes both H.R. 4 and S. 1, the For the People Act, to ensure an equitable redistricting process and free and fair elections in 2022. At least 18 states have enacted 30 laws that implement barriers for voters, particularly Black voters and voters of color, who voted in record numbers in key battleground states last election. Ahead of the passage of H.R. 4, LCV sent a letter to the House, urging members to vote to pass the critical voting rights legislation.
OUR TAKE: LCV Voting Rights Program Director Justin Kwasa stated, “We are encouraged to see House Democrats fight for a healthy, functioning democracy where all people can participate freely and equitably. For more than 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has been a crucial bipartisan line of defense against discriminatory voting laws and racial gerrymandering that has empowered Black, Latinx, Asian American and Native communities. Today’s vote is an important step towards restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act with the updated protections needed to shield voting and redistricting processes from modern discriminatory practices.”
OUR DOUBLE TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski stated in a letter to the House, urging members to vote to pass the critical voting rights legislation, “H.R. 4 is a vital step toward ensuring that communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis across the country have their access to the ballot box protected by the rule of law. The late Representative John Lewis was a champion for civil rights and environmental justice. To honor his legacy, we must do everything we can to ensure racial, environmental, and electoral justice for all.”
CLIMATE BUDGET RESOLUTION PASSES HOUSE: On Tuesday, the House passed a rule to approve the budget resolution, and set the stage to draft and debate the full Build Back Better reconciliation package. Passage of this framework is a critical step toward addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustices in our nation, and now Congress must write the details and pass a final reconciliation package to make the bold investments necessary to address the climate crisis. The latest IPCC climate report makes it clear — Congress must take action immediately to put us on track to tackle the climate crisis head on by passing the Build Back Better Act. Ahead of the passage of the budget resolution, LCV sent a letter to Congress, urging members to vote to pass the budget resolution.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski stated, “This is a historic step forward for people and the planet. We commend Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats for putting the health and well being of our communities first in passing today’s rule. Today’s victory belongs to the voters and advocates raising their voices for once-in-a-generation action to tackle the climate crisis in a way that addresses racial and economic inequality. Every House Republican opposed the rule, a decision that could put communities that are already being ravaged by devastating impacts of the climate crisis in greater danger.”
THANK YOU CONGRESS!: LCV and Climate Power launched new digital ads thanking 22 House members for voting to advance the Build Back Better Budget Resolution — a critical step in delivering transformative investments through the reconciliation process. These ads are the latest addition to LCV and Climate Power’s more than $14 million August recess paid media campaign. The ads thank members for prioritizing their constituents — who overwhelmingly support investments to tackle climate change, create good jobs and grow the economy, and address longstanding environmental injustices.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “We commend these Members of Congress for putting the health and well being of our communities first in passing the Budget Resolution and setting the stage for the Build Back Better Act. Now the work to deliver on the climate action the majority of voters are demanding begins — and we will be working with these and other allies in Congress to deliver the popular and necessary investments in the Build Back Better Act that cut carbon pollution by at least half by 2030 and put our nation on the path to 100% carbon-free energy powering our electricity grid and new cars, buses, and buildings by 2035 while delivering at least 40% of investment benefits to communities of color and low-income communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution.”
TALKING INFRASTRUCTURE WITH HOUSE MEMBERS: Labor and Environmental leaders, including LCV President Gene Karpinski, joined Representatives Kathy Castor, Debbie Dingell, Steven Horsford, and Sean Casten this week to call on Congress to make bold investments in the Build Back Better budget that deliver for workers, communities, and climate change. As Congress works on the Build Back Better Act, it is critical that they stay focused on passing a bill that will meet the climate ambition goals science and justice require. The latest IPCC report is a ‘code red for humanity’ — failure to act on climate is not an option. Watch the event HERE and see more from speakers HERE.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski stated, “From fighting climate change and creating clean energy jobs, to cutting taxes for the middle class and lowering costs for working families, we must seize this opportunity to improve the lives of people across the country. It has never been more urgent or more important to act on climate at the scale that science and justice require.”
GO BOLD FOR ELECTRIC BUSES: This week, a coalition of 52 environmental justice advocates and allies, including LCV, signed on to a letter urging Congress to invest an additional $22.5 billion over ten years to boldly advance the deployment of electric school buses across the country, in addition to the necessary charging infrastructure. Every day, 25 million children ride dirty diesel school buses and breathe polluted air — which worsens lung health in children, impacting educational opportunities as asthma attacks are a leading cause of school absences — particularly for communities of color and low-income communities. Our children cannot continue to wait for transformational change — their health depends on it.
COALITION TAKE: The coalition letter stated, “President Biden’s Build Back Better Budget agenda calls for vital investments that tackle the climate crisis, reduce air pollution, and create good-paying jobs. An investment of $22.5 billion over ten years to electrify our nation’s school buses will do just that while bolstering our domestic industry, reducing asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments for our children, and training our workers in innovative transportation technologies. It is critical that Congress and the White House deliver on this commitment to our nation’s school children.”
MAKE OIL AND GAS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE IN RECONCILIATION: Environmental organizations and environmental justice advocates, including LCV, sent a letter to Congress this week, urging the House and Senate to address the nation’s federal oil and gas program and orphaned wells in the reconciliation package, ending non-competitive leasing and ending the leasing of lands with limited potential for oil and gas development, and updating federal oil and gas bonding standards and minimum bids, rents, and royalty rates. Oil and gas companies have recklessly abandoned uncapped wells, leaving tens of thousands of wells scattered across the country with the potential to leak toxic methane and pollutants into our air, water, and lands. Congress must take action to help communities burdened with the mess oil and gas CEOs left in their backyard.
COALITION TAKE: The letter from environmental advocates and organizations stated, “Oil and gas producers are not only let off the hook for cleaning their polluting legacies, but they also enjoy subsidies and handouts in the form of inordinately-low royalty rates, minimum bids, and rents…Congress has an opportunity to act through the budget reconciliation process to enact reforms to this outdated system.”
FROM THE FIELD: In a historic August for climate advocacy, LCV and Climate Power have already invested $14 million in national, state, and district level paid media campaigns; LCV organizers have knocked over 120,000 doors, distributed almost 10,000 ‘Climate Action Now’ yard signs, and garnered support from nearly 5,000 businesses across the country; and LCV and Climate Power have held over 35 events with key Members of Congress, Biden administration officials, state and local elected officials, labor unions, environmental justice partners, and more. Read LCV’s August activity recap HERE. This is only the beginning.
TESTIFYING FOR CLEAN WATER: On Monday, LCV Government Affairs Coordinator Saachi Kuwayama gave powerful testimony during the EPA’s comment period for reversing the Dirty Water Rule, urging the agency to dump the Trump-era rule that is perpetuating environmental racism as soon as possible. Read Kuwayama’s testimony HERE.
OUR TAKE: In LCV Government Affairs Coordinator Saachi Kuwayama’s testimony she says, “The Biden administration has voiced its commitment to centering justice and healing our country. It is time to act on this commitment by repealing this damaging rule now.”
TESTIFYING FOR CLEAN CARS: On Thursday, LCV Government Affairs Advocate on Climate Change and Clean Energy Darien Davis gave powerful personal testimony during EPA’s public hearing on the proposed rule to reestablish clean car standards gutted by the Trump administration. With the transportation sector contributing the most climate pollution and disproportionately fouling the air of communities of color and low wealth communities, it is critical for the Biden-Harris administration to advance the strongest possible short-term standards that get us firmly on a path to 100% zero emissions new cars and trucks by 2035.
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate on Climate Change and Clean Energy Darien Davis said, “Here in California, where I’m currently visiting my family, wildfires have been raging at an unprecedented rate. These wildfires both threaten the safety of families like mine, while also contributing to hazardous air quality. In recent years, there have been days where the smog from fires was so thick, my parents would have to leave work early and stay indoors to safeguard their health. There is, however, a practical way to begin tackling climate change; focusing on clean transportation.”
MARCH ON FOR WASHINGTON: On Saturday, the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’ll be marching with people across the country to demand our elected officials pass federal voting rights protection, before it’s too late. There’s no healthy environment without a healthy democracy — find out more about the march HERE.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski plans to participate in the day’s events and had this to say: “58 years ago, Dr. King led the March on Washington — this weekend, I am proud to march alongside the more than 250 social justice organizations that continue to fight for an end to current-day voter suppression tactics and to give power to the people once and for all. We will never achieve environmental justice if the communities most affected by climate change and pollution are not represented in our democracy. Together we march and demand that Congress denounce voter suppression, ensure fair, easy access to the vote for all, and finally give the 700,000 majority Black and Brown residents of D.C. a vote in Congress — it’s time for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster and pass the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. Statehood.”
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
1 YEAR OF NEW ENGLAND FOR OFFSHORE WIND🎉: Yesterday was the one year anniversary of New England for Offshore Wind, a diverse regional coalition working to advance responsibly-developed offshore wind. The coalition is convened by LCV state affiliate, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, and has already grown to 89 organizational members, including 3 additional LCV state affiliates.
NE4OSW TAKE: New England for Offshore Wind (@NE4OSW) tweeted: “Since our launch, the 1st large-scale #OffshoreWind project was approved, MA required diversity & inclusion plans for its next project, ME launched a roadmap process for floating OSW, and 9 states sent a letter to @POTUS promising continued collaboration… In the years ahead, we will continue to advocate for a responsibly developed #OffshoreWind industry for the benefit of our economy, environment, and a vibrant, clean energy future for all.”
ICYMI MAYORAL WEEK OF ACTION: Last week, 19 mayors from across the country joined regional forums hosted by LCV state affiliates for virtual discussions urging Congress to pass a federal economic recovery package that centers climate, justice and jobs. Read what mayors had to say HERE, and watch Dayton, Ohio’s mayor and president of the United States Conference of Mayors, Nan Whaley, summarize the week of action HERE.
NEW MEXICO 30X30: On Wednesday, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order — titled “Protecting New Mexico’s Lands, Watersheds, Wildlife, and Natural Heritage” — that commits to protect 30% of the state’s lands by 2030. This makes New Mexico the second state to make a 30×30 pledge by executive order. Check out a fact sheet on Governor Lujan Grisham’s executive order HERE.
CVNM TAKE: Conservation Voters New Mexico Executive Director Demis Foster said, “All New Mexicans deserve equal access to our state’s abundant and beautiful outdoor places. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our local public lands and open spaces have proven to be invaluable for the health of our communities across the state. This 30×30 Executive Order issued by Governor Lujan Grisham will help ensure equitable access to our public lands and open spaces, address the need for climate resiliency, and provide sustainable opportunities to boost our local economies.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “Thank you to Governor Lujan Grisham for her visionary leadership seeking to protect New Mexico’s public lands, mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and make access to nature more equitable. We’re thrilled to see New Mexico join state and local leaders across the country who are seeking to meet scientists’ calls to protect 30% of our lands and waters by 2030 to stem the climate crisis and the rapid loss of natural lands and wildlife habitat to harmful development. Communities nationwide are leading the way on locally-driven, collaborative conservation, and we’re counting on the Biden administration to continue this momentum by taking meaningful conservation action to advance its ‘America the Beautiful’ initiative.”
NEW JERSEY GREEN IN ‘21: New Jersey LCVEF joined over 25 organizations to launch Green in ‘21, an ambitious environmental policy agenda for the next four years. Among its many initiatives, the plan encourages lawmakers to secure 100% clean energy by 2035, establish a Civilian Climate Corps to create new jobs, invest in green spaces that are accessible to all, and dedicate at least 40% of climate investments to front-line communities. Check out the Green in ‘21 policy guide HERE.
NJLCVEF TAKE: New Jersey LCVEF Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “New Jersey has the opportunity to lead the nation in changing the catastrophic policies that have degraded our environment and harmed our communities, particularly communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. Yet at the same time, we need to continually raise the bar if we are to protect our families and environment. Our updated 2021 Policy Guide outlines strategies to create a safe and healthy New Jersey for generations to come.”
CLIMATE JUSTICE TEXAS: In Corpus Christi, local community members and organizations — including Chispa Texas — came together to demand climate action and justice outside of a luncheon attended by several oil and gas corporation CEOs, the Port of Corpus Christi CEO, and a Nueces County judge. The Coastal Bend region has seen an explosion of polluting corporations in the area, leading to increased contamination of local air and water, and degraded wildlife habitats. Corpus Christi is also considering building costly desalination projects in the port, which activists criticize as greenwashing rather than investing in more effective climate mitigation projects.
CHISPA TX TAKE: Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo said, “A recent report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that we must take immediate action to counteract climate change. It’s disheartening to see the Port of Corpus Christi pursue projects that result in nothing more than greenwashing. These initiatives come at a time when port customers are requesting amendments to their permits to increase greenhouse gas emissions. The Port of Corpus Christi can remain the “Energy Port of the Americas,” and live up to its mission of driving prosperity in communities by seeking sustainable energy alternatives.”
CALIFORNIA OP-ED: This week, California League of Conservation Voters CEO Mary Creasman published an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee detailing the climate disasters that Californians currently face — from wildfires to droughts — and admonishing key leaders in the state Senate for taking fossil fuel contributions and protecting the status quo reliance on fossil fuels.
CLCV TAKE: In the opinion piece, California League of Conservation Voters CEO Mary Creasman said, “Breaking corporate polluters’ grip on Sacramento is the only way we will solve the climate crisis.”
🎨ART ACTIVATIONS: Across the country, communities are joining with local artists to demand climate action, justice and clean energy jobs at the scale that science requires. With the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report declaring a “code red for humanity” as Congress develops the Build Back Better Act, this is our now or never moment.
CALIFORNIA: At the Oceanside Amphitheatre, artist Tracy Stum chalked a drawing calling for “Climate Action Now!” Check it out HERE.
FLORIDA: Last week in Orlando, Puerto Rican and other Latino community members joined Boricua artist Carlitos Diaz to create an ecology-inspired chalk mural and urge Florida officials for “Justicia climática AHORA.” Check it out HERE.
GEORGIA: In East Point, artists Eric Nine and Lisette Correa unveiled a mural calling for “Energy Justice Now” at a community event that included music, voter registration, and community activism! Check out the unveiling HERE and the artwork HERE.
ILLINOIS: Last week, in Woodstock, artist Nina Tiberi-Sawica created a chalk mural in front of a local bookstore calling for “Climate Action Now!” Check it out HERE.
NEVADA: In Reno, one of the fastest-warming cities in the country that is also feeling the impacts of wildfires, artist Jenie Villanueva chalked a message in City Plaza Park, showing “wildfires are a result of the climate crisis.” Check it out HERE.
NEW JERSEY: Over the weekend, New Jersey chalk artist Luis-Miguel Caraballo made it clear that “New Jersey needs climate action now.” Check it out HERE.
OHIO: Members of the Columbus and Reynoldsburg City Councils joined the Ohio Environmental Council for a press conference in front of artist Jan Solari’s chalk art declaring “Ohioans need environmental justice.” Check it out HERE and HERE. And see more about the press conference below 👇
⚡POWER UP FOR RECESS!⚡: This week, we continued LCV and Climate Power’s Climate Action Now: Great American Build nationwide August recess tour. In coordination with LCV’s state affiliates and partners, we held events in key states and Congressional Districts, urging Congress to tackle the climate crisis and invest in a dual-track package for clean energy, justice, and jobs. See last week’s August recess recap HERE.
GEORGIA: Thousands of Georgians are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, demanding that leaders tackle the root of the issue by cutting emissions and turbocharging Georgia’s clean energy economy. Stacey Abrams, the founder of Fair Fight Action and the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP), led local leaders — including Georgia Conservation Voters Executive Director Brionté McCorkle — in a conversation, live from Atlanta. You can watch it HERE.
OHIO: Members of the Columbus and Reynoldsburg City Councils joined the Ohio Environmental Council for a press conference in front of artist Jan Solari’s chalk art. The local leaders highlighted the ways that clean energy provisions of the Build Back Better agenda would benefit their communities, and called on Congress to ensure climate and environmental justice are a part of their reconciliation and infrastructure packages.
NEVADA: Nevada Conservation League participated in a round table with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto to discuss the Build Back Better agenda and infrastructure legislation.
NEW JERSEY: New Jersey LCV joined a round table with Representative Frank Pallone and EPA Administrator Michael Regan to discuss toxic pollution remediation.
VERMONT: Vermont Conservation Voters, VT Energy and Climate Action Network hosted a digital climate town hall with Senator Bernie Sanders to discuss the Build Back Better agenda. Check it out HERE.
WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Conservation Voters and partners joined Senator Tammy Baldwin for a tour of Herrick Family Dairy Farm, where they explored climate resiliency and sustainable agriculture practices. Check out photos HERE.
WISCONSIN AGAIN!: Wisconsin Conservation Voters hosted a community art event in La Crosse and held a press conference with state and local elected leaders to deliver a hand-painted banner to Representative Ron Kind’s office and encourage him to invest in clean energy jobs. Watch the press conference HERE.
WISCONSIN ONCE MORE!: Wisconsin Conservation Voters hosted a press event in Oshkosh, where climate leaders — including the mayor of Oshkosh — called on Congress to take climate action by passing the budget reconciliation package. Watch the event HERE.
AUGUST 28 — March On for Voting Rights in D.C.
SEPTEMBER 28 — National Voter Registration Day
SEPTEMBER 30 — Government funding expires