“The environmental justice movement has to pay attention to physical health; it has to pay attention to mental health; it has to pay attention to social justice. If you’re not talking about those three things, then your environmental justice work is performative.”
— Marcus Sibley, the environmental and climate justice chairman for the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP, speaking on the interwoven crises of pollution and mass incarceration in Black communities.
“This is about making sure that voters everywhere, regardless of economic status, regardless of geographic location, regardless of any other extrinsic attributes, have an equal voice and have their best opportunity for a fair and just government that works for us all.”
— North Carolina House Democratic Leader Robert T. Reives speaking on Friday evening’s decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court to overturn the state’s partisan redistricting maps
“Climate justice is racial justice and racial justice is climate justice.”
— Reverend Lennox Yearwood, president & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus and LCV board member, speaking with Senator Ed Markey about why we need to Build Back Better and center black and brown voices in our climate movement.
CLEAN ENERGY IS CHEAP, POPULAR & POSSIBLE: This week the Rhodium Group released a new report that found the clean energy tax credits in Build Back Better are the cheapest climate solution yet, President Biden hosted utility CEOs advocating for clean energy at the White House, and the Departments of Transportation and Energy announced $5 billion in funds from the Infrastructure bill for electric vehicle charging stations. LCV staffers Tiernan and Darien were in attendance at the big DOT and DOE event, check out their posts here and here. All of this is good news for a just and equitable clean energy future, and creates renewed momentum for the climate and environmental justice provisions in the Build Back Better Act.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis responded to the news: “Between the new Rhodium Group report, utility CEOs advocating for clean energy at the White House, and the announcement of $5 billion in funding from DOT and DOE for electric vehicle charging stations, events this week have reinforced once again that investing in climate and clean energy is cost-effective, popular with business leaders, and possible. We’re thrilled to see this continued all-of-government approach to combating the climate crisis from the Biden Administration and we expect the President and Congress to take utility CEOs’ message to heart and take swift action on the most comprehensive version of the Build Back Better Act that can pass as soon as possible.”
BLUE GREEN ALLIANCE WANTS BBB!: On Tuesday, the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition representing some of the nation’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations including LCV, signed onto a Build Back Better letter collectively representing millions of members and supporters calling on President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Schumer to “use your leadership to find a path forward and pass the Build Back Better Act as soon as feasible.”
LEAD PIPES: On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, and Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox visited Newark to discuss funding lead service line replacements, which currently provide millions of people in the United States with drinking water that puts people at risk for exposure to lead pollution.
OUR TAKE: Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “We applaud the city of Newark for modeling the quick and full removal and replacement of lead service lines for everyone in their city. Millions of families across our country have been subjected to the dangers of lead-contaminated water in their homes and in their schools for far too long. As the Biden-Harris administration continues to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds, we urge them and states to prioritize fast, full replacement of lead service lines, especially in low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately exposed to lead pollution. We thank Vice President Harris, EPA Administrator Regan, and Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox for leading in these efforts, but much more is needed. In order to fulfill the Administration’s commitment to replace all lead-contaminated service lines, we need Congress to pass the additional investments from the Build Back Better Act. Only then can we make truly historic progress and get the lead out of our communities once and for all.”
THE ALLIANCE FOR ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES IS URGING THE EPA FOR A #CLEANRIDE4KIDS: Chispa proudly joins partners in the Alliance for Electric School Buses in urging the EPA to craft an equitable Clean School Bus program that prioritizes students, workers, and clean air. Check out Chispa’s post and letter HERE.
28 INCUMBENTS FOR CONGRESS: This week, LCV Action Fund announced its first round of incumbent endorsements in the 2022 election cycle for the U.S. House. The 28 pro-environment candidates from key districts included: Chairs Kathy Castor (FL-14) and Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), and Reps. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-02), Greg Stanton (AZ-04), Darren Soto (FL-09), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Dan Kildee (MI-08), Debbie Dingell (MI-06), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Angie Craig (MN-02), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Dina Titus (NV-01), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Donald McEachin (VA-04), Don Beyer (VA-08), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), and Kim Schrier (WA-08). Read more about the background and impact these pro-environment candidates will make HERE.
OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “LCV Action Fund is all in to defend and expand the pro-environment majority in the House, and we are thrilled to support this diverse group of climate champions – representing states from across the country and key committees and caucuses across Congress – for election to the U.S. House.”
REDISTRICTING IN NC: Last Friday, North Carolina’s Supreme Court decided in favor of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and it’s co-plaintiffs to overturn the state’s partisan redistricting maps, citing voting rights violations and racial gerrymandering.
OUR TAKE: Voting Rights Program Manager Diana Youssef Faraj said, “LCV is thrilled that the North Carolina Supreme Court made the just and fair decision on Friday to overturn partisan maps that misrepresent communities and dilute the voices of voters. The vast majority of communities and voters across the aisle in both urban and rural communities support environmental protections and care about the state of their land, air, and water. Voters should be choosing their elected officials, not the other way around. We know that we can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy, and North Carolinians deserve to elect leaders who will represent their concerns.”
NCLCV TAKE: NCLCV Executive Director Carrie Clark said, “Today the Supreme Court ruled that our state constitution guarantees North Carolinians the right to elect their leaders in free and fair elections, something the General Assembly denied them when they drew their unconstitutional gerrymandered maps. This is the justice we sought when we filed this lawsuit. With new, constitutional maps, North Carolinians will have a fighting chance to elect a government that fulfills their desire for environmental justice and climate action.”
WHEELER REJECTED VA: This week, the Virginia Senate voted to block the nomination of Andrew Wheeler, Governor Glen Youngkin’s extreme pick for the state’s secretary of natural and historic resources. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist and was head of the EPA under Trump where he presided over an unprecedented reversal of environmental laws and regulations.
VALCV TAKE: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Michael Town said, “Wheeler’s track record of environmental degradation and catering to big polluters made him unfit for this post from the outset, and we applaud Senate Democrats for preventing his confirmation. With evidence now that he lacks the votes to push this nominee forward, we hope Youngkin will see reason and appoint a Natural Resources Secretary who will prioritize protecting the lands, air and water of the Commonwealth.”
ART IN AZ: On Friday evening, Chispa AZ and the League of Conservation Voters are teaming up with Artist Daniel González to draw attention to the urgent need for climate action to protect our communities and our climate, and the critical need to safeguard our democracy. The “papel picado” inspired installation calls attention to the community’s call for climate justice, immigration reform and voter protection. The exhibit will be on display at the Phoenix Indie Film Festival free event, where the groups are also showing a short film that is part of a new series by The Redford Center about Chispa Arizona’s fight to electrify school buses. To learn more, follow Daniel González @printgonzalez, chispa AZ @chispaarizona, and check out @chispalcv’s post on the event HERE.
CHISPA AZ X ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY DAY: This past Wednesday, Chispa AZ and leaders took park in Arizona’s Environmental Lobby Day by speaking to their elected officials on issues they are affected by, like climate, lands, access to parks, housing, and much more! Check out the reel they created to amplify the issues Arizonians care about HERE.
MAINERS WANT BBB!: On Tuesday, Maine Conservation Voters, Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, and Maine Service Employees Association (SEIU 1989) published an op-ed calling for Maine’s Senator Collins to join Senator King in supporting the most comprehensive Build Back Better bill possible, saying “We need to pass the most comprehensive Build Back Better Act possible to address the climate crisis at the scale and speed that science and justice demand; to bring much needed relief to Maine families, childcare providers, and educators; and to create good-paying, union jobs in our growing clean energy economy. The U.S. Senate has a chance to deliver for every single person in Maine and we need to encourage Senator King to keep up the good fight and Senator Collins to get on board.” Read the entire article HERE.
SO DO NEW YORKERS: Also on Tuesday, New York League of Conservation Voters and NY State Laborers’ Organizing Fund wrote a joint piece that ran in Crain’s New York calling on both state and federal leaders to prioritize preparing for and preventing the worst impacts of climate change. “New Yorkers have felt the brunt of the flooding caused by extreme storms, but it is lawmakers who will truly feel the effects at the ballot box if they do not make resiliency a priority. It’s time to refocus our climate agenda.”
FROM THE FIELD: Across the nation, LCV’s field team continues to hear that communities across the country want climate action now – we’ve knocked on over 500,000 doors and have activated over 30,000 people to advocate for the critical climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. And, over 23,000 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too.
ALL OF FEBRUARY – Black History Month
FEBRUARY 14 – Texas Primary Early Voting Begins
MARCH 1 – President Biden’s State of the Union address
MARCH 1 – Texas Primary Election
MARCH 11 – Government funding expires