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.
“Let’s face reality. The climate crisis doesn’t care if your state is red or blue. It is an existential threat. We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to confront it. I’m proud of how America is at last stepping up to the challenge. But there’s so much more to do. We will finish the job.”
— President Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States, stating the importance of addressing the climate crisis in his State of the Union address.
“You gotta do whatever it takes to get the job done. Climate change is still a word a lot of Republicans want to stay away from. But we all agree that economic development and good-paying jobs are good for North Carolina.”
– Roy Cooper, North Carolina Governor speaks to Politico about state priorities, among them the importance of climate messaging and clean energy jobs.
“We need disruption to end the destruction. No more baby steps. No more excuses. No more bottomless greed of the fossil fuel industry and its enablers. If you cannot set a credible course for net-zero, with 2025 and 2030 targets covering all your operations, you should not be in business. Your core product is our core problem.”
– General António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, in his annual report on priorities to the United Nations.
HONORING THE CIVIL RIGHTS & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE LEGACIES OF BLACK LEADERS THROUGH ACTION: As we celebrate Black History Month, LCV honors the pioneers in the environmental justice movement, including civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the late Congressman John Lewis. Dr. King and Congressman Lewis recognized that many of the struggles we face as a nation, including racial inequity, poverty, politics, health, and human rights, are inexorably linked. Their activism set the stage for early environmental justice legislation, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, and they built a movement to pass the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to ensure that Black communities had equal opportunity to build lasting political power for their communities. They recognized that voting rights are interwoven with climate and environmental issues as well as racial justice and equity: in 1992, Representative Lewis introduced the Environmental Justice Act, the first piece of legislation dedicated to abolishing racial disparities in how environmental protection was applied. Today, LCV and our supporters work to advance Dr. King’s and Representative Lewis’ legacies by continuing to fight against the intertwined threats to our democracy and our environment, because we know we can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy.
LCV STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT BIDEN’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS: This Tuesday, President Biden addressed the nation and, among many topics, discussed the Inflation Reduction Act and his administration’s continued commitment to clean energy. LCV applauds the Biden-Harris administration for their dedication to addressing the climate crisis and urges them to further use their power to advance the environmental movement and build a better country for years to come.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “President Biden deserves immense credit for doing more to tackle the climate crisis than any U.S. president in history. As we heard tonight, swift, effective and equitable implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act is a top priority and a huge opportunity to deliver for hardworking families. This affordable clean energy plan will benefit every community by lowering costs, creating good jobs, and reducing toxic pollution that causes health problems. It is also driving historic progress at the state and local level, like today’s signing of Minnesota’s landmark 100% clean energy law. At the same time, we strongly agree there is more to do to meet President Biden’s science-based goal of cutting the nation’s climate pollution in half by 2030. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to use its full authority to swiftly establish the strongest possible climate and public health safeguards.
Equally important is the president’s commitment to a more equitable and just democracy. LCV and our state partners are all in to work with the Biden-Harris administration to build on the historic progress of the last year, confirm even more pro-environment judges, and strengthen the state of our union with more overwhelmingly popular action on climate and democracy this year.”
WHILE GOP CONSIDERS SUBSTANTIAL CUTS TO KIDS’ FUTURES, BIDEN-HARRIS ADMIN. DELIVERS POPULAR CLEAN ENERGY PLAN: President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Cabinet members fanned out across the country this week to reinforce the administration’s climate and environmental accomplishments and actions they are poised to take.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “As House Republicans consider heinous cuts to popular investments in clean energy, clean air and water, and environmental justice in communities across the country, the Biden-Harris administration is delivering the popular affordable clean energy plan and improving the lives of children and families. The Inflation Reduction Act is already bringing real results to every community to lower costs, create good jobs, and reduce toxic pollution that causes health problems.
As the administration fans out across the country, Minnesota is a prime example of the positive impact of new climate action. As Vice President Harris heads to the North Star State today, Minnesotans can breathe easier with more electric school buses on their streets, and a new landmark 100% clean energy plan on the books – state and federal investments in clean energy, jobs, and a healthier future are having a direct, positive impact on people’s lives. This is the action on climate, justice, and jobs that voters demanded – and it’s only the beginning. LCV and our state partners are all in to support the Biden-Harris administration’s swift, effective and equitable implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and finalization of health and climate protections and to highlight the benefits to hardworking families.”
CREATE NATIONAL PARK SITE TO HONOR EMMETT TILL AND MAMIE TILL-MOBLEY: LCV joins national and local organizations calling on President Biden to create a national parks site in Mississippi and Illinois to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till’s horrific lynching, his mother Mamie Till-Mobley’s efforts to expose the racism in America the led to his murder, and the incredible influence of her efforts on the civil rights movement. The National Park Service completed a special resource study of Mississippi Civil Rights Sites in December. Find out more about this effort from the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Park Campaign and the National Parks Conservation Association.
LCV ANNOUNCES INITIAL HALF-MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT TO STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY IN 17 STATES: On Monday, LCV announced that we are investing a half-million in pro-democracy advocacy efforts across 17 state affiliates. This marks a significant step towards LCV’s commitment to protect and promote a more just democracy and fight anti-democracy legislation where necessary.
OUR TAKE: LCV State Democracy Policy Director Amanda Gnaedinger said, “In state legislatures across the country, the League of Conservation Voters and our state partners are fighting to pass laws to strengthen our democracy and defend against targeted attacks on voter rights. Election deniers and supporters of the Big Lie are continuing to undermine the will of voters across the nation — even if it means changing state constitutions, redrawing district lines, or suppressing voters to do it. LCV is proud to ramp up our fight for a more fair and equitable democracy at the state and local level so that every community has the power to fully exercise their rights, especially communities that face the greatest barriers to voting and are on the frontlines of environmental injustice.”
LCV STATEMENT ON SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE VOTES ON JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance dozens of judicial nominees including Nancy Abudu, Rachel Bloomekatz, Dale Ho, and Julie Rikelman to the full Senate.
OUR TAKE: LCV Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “Today’s votes kick off what should be a tremendous year of confirming judges who look like America and respect the people’s rights to clean air and clean water, to equal votes and equal rights. The Senate must now take action to swiftly confirm President Biden’s exceptional judicial nominees including Nancy Abudu, Rachel Bloomekatz, Bradley Garcia, Dale Ho, and Julie Rikelman. President Biden and Senate Democrats have established an incredible record of appointing distinguished judges with public-interest legal experience, but there is far more to be done. With over 100 current and announced vacancies on the federal bench, we need the White House and the Senate to prioritize filling every lifetime judgeship with personally and professionally diverse nominees.”
GOVERNORS ACROSS THE COUNTRY COMMIT TO CLIMATE ACTION: On Tuesday, President Biden described his vision for the country in his 2023 State of the Union, which celebrated his administration’s historic job creation, the passage of the largest investment in clean energy infrastructure ever, and his vision for revitalizing manufacturing jobs through clean energy. Much of the success of those investments lies in the hands of state and local leaders. We’ve created a recap of 2023 State of the State and inaugural addresses so far where governors have made major climate and clean energy commitments. Governors and legislatures across the country will work to implement the billions of new federal dollars coming into states over the coming years and have the opportunity this year to double down on federal climate action with real state commitments that accelerate clean energy targets and implement Justice 40. Read our recap here.
STATES GO 100: Last week, Minnesota joined 10 states who have passed a bill requiring 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and Governor Tim Walz signed it into law on Tuesday. Similarly, Maine and Nevada have laws that set 100 percent clean energy goals, and the governors of Michigan, New Jersey and Wisconsin have issued executive orders calling for a transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity. Looking ahead to the rest of 2023, New Jersey, Michigan and Maryland are among the states most likely to join the 100 percent club by passing new laws.
OUR TAKE: In an Inside Climate News Article, LCV Vice President of State Policy and Advocacy Bill Holland reinforced the opportunity for New Jersey to join the ranks of 100 percent states, “New Jersey is “certainly a state that should be leading on clean energy. They’ve made massive commitments to offshore wind, but they don’t have legislation for 100 percent clean energy. And we expect (legislation to pass) this session.”
CONSERVATION MN TAKE: Paul Austin, Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota said, “Now that the Minnesota Senate has passed the 100% Clean Energy bill, it’s time to celebrate the biggest action ever to address the climate crisis. We applaud Governor Walz and the bill authors in the House and Senate for their unwavering commitment and swift action this session to reducing dangerous pollution and protecting our Great Outdoors. The 100% Clean Energy bill leverages our current momentum towards carbon-free energy while ensuring reliable and affordable energy for all Minnesotans.”
BIDEN’S CLIMATE POLICIES DELIVERING FOR WISCONSIN: From day one, President Biden has demonstrated his commitment to acting with urgency in response to the climate crisis, the greatest existential threat of our time, explains government affairs director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters Jennifer Giegerich in a recent op-ed.
WCV TAKE: Wisconsin Conservation Voters Government Affairs Director Jennifer Giegerich said, “Wisconsin Conservation Voters is grateful to the Biden-Harris administration and our climate champions in Congress for making enormous strides to combat climate change the past two years. As Biden laid out in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, there is enormous work ahead, and Republicans’ slim majority in the House won’t make things any easier. Biden must continue using every tool at his disposal to combat climate change and ensure that all of us breathe clean air, enjoy clean water and have a safe, healthy, livable planet.”
NEW TOOL FOR STATES: States are on the hook for putting billions of federal climate dollars to good use in the coming decades, thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act, and they’ve got a lot of competing priorities to consider: driving down emissions, boosting job opportunities and managing health impacts, to name a few. Think tanks Energy Innovation and RMI released a new tool this morning they say will help states get the most bang for their buck out of those important climate decisions. The Energy Policy Simulator allows users to weigh how policies — from IRA-funded technology development like grid-scale electricity storage to existing solutions like forest management — that might be impactful in one state might not work in another, recognizing that each state is beginning with different conditions such as emissions profiles and economic health. To download the report, click here.
PREVIEW: HO-CHUNK NATION COMMUNITY DINNER + DISCUSSION ON WI SUPREME COURT ELECTION: On Wednesday, March 1 from 5-7pm, Wisconsin Native Vote, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the Ho-Chunk Nation will host a dinner and presentation for tribal members to discuss how the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court election impacts Native communities. Speakers will include Allison Neswood (Diné), NARF Staff Attorney, tribal judges (more details to come), and Anne Egan-Waukau (Menominee), Urban Native Vote Organizer as the emcee. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
ALL OF FEBRUARY: Black History Month
FEBRUARY 16: Bilingual telepresser to release results of the 2023 Conservation in the West Poll conducted on voter attitudes toward climate and conservation legislation, with an emphasis on Latino voters. Register here.
FEBRUARY 21 : Special election for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District
March 1 : Ho-Chunk Nation, Wisconsin Native Vote, and the Native American Rights Fund Community Dinner + Discussion on WI Supreme Court Election