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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – DECEMBER 8, 2023

Dec 8, 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:

“There are those who seek to slow or stop our progress. Leaders who deny climate science, delay climate action and spread misinformation. Corporations that greenwash climate inaction and lobby for billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies. In the face of their resistance, and in the context of this moment, we must do more.”

Vice President Kamala Harris delivering America’s National Statement at COP28 in Dubai.

“These places are too special, too sacred, too wild, and too fragile to drill. And the climate crisis demands urgent action and a transition away from fossil fuels.”

— Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07) during the House Natural Resources Committee markup on H.R. 6285, which would remove protections for Arctic lands and open them to harmful oil and gas development.

“We’ll have a Standing Rock right here in Michigan.”

Andrea Pierce, a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and founder of the Michigan Democratic Party’s Anishinaabek Caucus, on the approval of Enbridge’s proposed Line 5 tunnel.


HIGHLIGHTS IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IMPLEMENTATION:

LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES BONUS CREDIT PROGRAM RECEIVES 46,000 APPLICATIONS: The Low Income Communities Bonus Credit Program, a program designed to bring clean energy investment to low-income communities as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, received a whopping 46,000 submissions in the first 30 days of the application window, well exceeding the availability for these credits at this early stage. High demand for this program reaffirms that investing in clean energy benefits both the planet and people, especially in historically excluded communities.


IN NATIONAL NEWS: 

HOUSE PASSES H.R. 4468, THE CHOICE IN AUTOMOBILE RETAIL SALES ACT: MAGA Republicans in the House voted to pass H.R. 4468, the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023, which would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from setting cleaner vehicle standards that are necessary to deliver savings and clean air to communities nationwide, and undermine stability for auto manufacturers. The White House has stated that President Biden will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “It’s appalling that extreme MAGA House Republicans continue their relentless attempts to cater to Big Oil. In stark contrast to the Biden-Harris administration’s leadership and investments to tackle the climate crisis, boost U.S. manufacturing jobs, and help union workers, this bill attempts to undermine investments in EV manufacturing and associated stability for workers in the auto sector, invalidate existing EPA standards, and block future cleaner vehicle emissions standards. Maintaining and strengthening vehicle pollution limits are crucial to cutting tail-pipe pollution, delivering consumers savings on the cost of owning a vehicle, keeping U.S. vehicle jobs and manufacturing globally competitive, and tackling the climate crisis.

Toxic air pollution puts people’s health at risk, especially in communities that are most exposed to emissions, which are overwhelmingly communities of color and communities with low wealth. The EPA must finalize cleaner vehicle rules that will steer us towards energy independence, more competitive manufacturing, investments in U.S. jobs, and a clean energy future for all.”

Earlier this week, LCV sent a letter to the House of Representatives to urge members to vote against the now-passed bill.

TAKE 2: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “This bill is a blatant attack on the Clean Air Act and the EPA, and would undermine our ability to drive down vehicle pollution and spur the domestic auto manufacturing economy. We urge you to vote NO on H.R. 4468, which would limit vehicle choices for consumers, hinder climate progress, and put the health of communities across the country at risk. We will strongly consider including vote(s) on this bill in the 2023 Scorecard.”

LCV also joined 31 organizations in sending a joint letter to House leadership expressing opposition to the bill and urging members to vote “no.”

TAKE 3: From the coalition statement, “Rather than recognize the twin crises of unmitigated climate change and public health impacts from transportation pollution and the transition to zero-emission vehicles underway, this bill aims to stem the tide of progress towards clean air and a healthy future. We need to move forward, not backward. H.R.4468 should be rejected outright.”

EPA RELEASES FINAL METHANE RULE: The EPA released their final rule to regulate methane pollution from the oil and gas industry over the weekend at COP28.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “These new safeguards to reduce methane pollution will have a huge impact on fighting the climate crisis and protecting the health of communities who live next to oil and gas operations — which are often low income communities and communities of color. As the world experiences record-breaking temperatures and more increasingly devastating extreme weather events, the case for climate action, reducing methane and other climate pollutants, and holding the oil and gas industry accountable has never been clearer or more urgent. We applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s leadership in reducing harmful methane pollution and their commitment to climate action, and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure all our communities have access to clean air and a safe climate.“

VP HARRIS BREAKS SENATE TIEBREAKING RECORD: Vice President Kamala Harris cast her 32nd Senate tiebreaking vote on Tuesday, breaking a nearly 200-year record for most Senate tiebreaking votes cast by a vice president. The historic tiebreaker advanced President Biden’s nomination of Judge Loren AliKhan to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Most of Harris’ tiebreakers have been to advance pro-environment, pro-democracy judges in a very narrowly divided senate, a reminder that every vote, every senator, and every judge matters.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

MICHIGAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVES OIL PIPELINE PROPOSAL: The Michigan Public Commission has approved a proposal from Enbridge to build a tunnel around the Line 5 oil pipeline underneath the Great Lakes.

MILCV TAKE: Michigan LCV Federal Government Affairs Director Bentley Johnson said, “The commission’s decision to grant Enbridge a path forward on the proposed Line 5 tunnel is the wrong move for our Great Lakes and our entire state. We are extremely disappointed in the commission’s actions today as they ignored warnings from safety and energy experts that a tunnel would continue to leave the Great Lakes and our climate at risk. As confirmed recently by independent logistics experts, Line 5 is not necessary and energy alternatives have been identified that are both economically viable and operationally feasible. With Michigan and the rest of the globe transitioning away from fossil fuels in the future, the tunnel is a carbon bomb and a ‘tunnel to nowhere.’ Fortunately, there are a number of cases still pending in the courts that could very likely result in shutting Line 5 down entirely before a tunnel could even get built. Importantly, there is federal oversight to this project, including a permitting decision before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and President Biden has the authority and responsibility to lead an orderly, planned decommission of Line 5 to pursue real energy solutions for the Great Lakes region. Our way of life in Michigan depends on it.”

NATION’S FIRST OFFSHORE WIND HITS THE GRID: The nation’s first utility-scale offshore wind project started producing clean, reliable electricity this week in a historic moment for clean energy progress. The South Fork Wind project will consist of 12 turbines generating 132 MW of power off the coast of New York once completed in 2024. New York LCV attended the announcement event with the companies behind the project, state officials, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and advocates. See NYLCV’s tweets from the event and a video of the turbine!

NYLCV TAKE: New York LCV President Julie Tighe said, “With Governor Kathy Hochul’s bold leadership and with smart and innovative companies like Orsted and Eversource that are committed to developing — and are capable of delivering — large-scale renewable energy projects, we know this is just the beginning.”

NYC REMOVES OBSTACLES TO CLEAN ENERGY: On Wednesday, the New York City Council passed the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” amendment to the city’s zoning laws. The change will allow NYC to more easily invest in green infrastructure updates to reduce or eliminate climate emissions from buildings and the transportation sector, the state’s two leading sources of climate pollution. Read about what is included in the amendment here.

NYLCV TAKE: New York LCV Deputy Director for NYC Policy Alia Soomro said, “The City Council took a big step in the fight against climate change today by passing the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality (COYCN) zoning amendment, a top NYLCV priority. Simplifying the process to implement green technologies and retrofit buildings for clean energy solutions will mean fewer emissions and it is absolutely essential to meeting the city’s ambitious climate goals. Since the majority of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, COYCN will help us move away from fossil fuels and ultimately improve the City’s air quality, a longstanding environmental justice issue. We applaud Mayor Adams, DCP Director Dan Garodnick and the City Council for coming together to get this climate friendly measure over the finish line.”


NEW ON THE POWER SOURCE BLOG AND SOCIALS:

ON THE BLOG: Don’t forget to check out Good Climate News on The Power Source Blog!

ON OUR SOCIALS: This week, the White House held its Tribal Nations Summit, which brought Indigenous leaders from across the country to D.C. During the summit, we celebrated congressional leaders championing Indigenous rights, including fighting against drilling in the Arctic (here, and here)  and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

We also highlighted the release of EPA’s final methane rule (here, here, and here) and Senator Markey’s dance moves, and continued our celebration of Spotify Wrapped Season with a brand new roundup of LCV’s democracy wins from the past year.


COMING UP:

DECEMBER 12: COP28 ends

DECEMBER 12: Tele-townhall on IRA implementation with LCV, Ohio Environmental Council, and Congresswoman Emilia Sykes.