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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – FEBRUARY 18, 2022

Feb 18, 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:

“Regardless of who you are or where you come from, you have a right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in an environment free from harmful pollutants.”

— Representative Donald McEachin (VA-04) tweeted this message after he spoke at the Environmental Justice For All Act (H.R. 2021) held by the House Natural Resources Committee and led by Rep Grijalva (AZ-03). To see the statement in response to the event from the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, a coalition of environmental justice and national environmental groups, go HERE.

“Any community like ours that has fought against or addressed environmental contamination has to pay attention to the long-term generational affects. You wonder will they be next?”

— Reverend Rose Johnson, the executive director of the Newtown Florist Club, on the effects of environmental racism in the predominantly Black Newtown neighborhood of Gainesville, Georgia, in a recent analysis from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which found that neighborhoods near Superfund sites are more likely to be Black and lower income.

The time is now to make the changes. The legacy impact of those decisions – and the laws and policies that are on the book that reinforced those decisions – are very much still in play. That’s how you can have somebody today be lead poisoned in a home.

Ohio Climate Justice Fund board member SeMia Brey, speaking on lead poisoning in Cleveland’s communities of color in the wake of the OCJF’s partnership with the NAACP Cleveland Branch to create a series of public discussions, called Un-Design Environmental Injustice, with the goal of sparking change in Cleveland neighborhoods.

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ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE FOR ALL ACT (H.R. 2021): On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021), which would create equitable policies for communities of color and low-income communities disproportionately impacted by high environmental and public health risks.

OUR TAKE: The Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, a coalition of environmental justice and national environmental groups that includes LCV, said, “We offer our strong support for the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021) and urge House Natural Resources Committee members to confront the legacy of environmental racism in the United States by advancing this important legislation. High concentrations of toxic pollution, persistent and systematic racial discrimination and lack of access to economic opportunities, have created disproportionately high environmental and public health risks in communities of color and low-income communities. We must confront environmental racism head-on by prioritizing solutions that reduce pollution in environmental justice communities at a scale needed to significantly improve public health and quality of life. We urge lawmakers to develop equitable policies that reduce toxic pollution in all its forms. We commend the environmental justice advocates who contributed to this legislation along with Chair Grijalva and Representative McEachin, who led the community-driven process to incorporate the needs and perspectives of environmental justice communities into this Act.”

UNITED STEELWORKERS WANT BBB!: On Monday, Roxanne Brown, LCV board member and International Vice President at Large for the United Steelworkers (USW), published an editorial in The Hill highlighting how the Build Back Better agenda would significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing processes and decarbonize facilities. To read the full article, click HERE 

OIL AND GAS REFORM NOW: On Monday, leading national and western-based environmental and conservation groups announced the formation of the Coalition for Oil and Gas Reform with the launch of a microsite and digital ads in Washington, D.C. Representing millions of people across the country, the groups have come together to support the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) proposed reforms to bring the broken and antiquated federal oil and gas program into the 21st century so the nation’s public lands can better serve everyone. 

OUR TAKE: In a statement to press, the coalition said, “Frontline communities, public lands, taxpayers, and wildlife deserve better than the status quo. The Department of the Interior’s recommendations on how to reform the outdated federal oil and gas program must be followed by immediate action. With oil and gas lease sales on more than 700,000 acres of public lands on the horizon, reforms have never been more important– we need both the Biden administration and Congress to act now. We won’t rest until the program is brought into the 21st century and taxpayers, public lands, and wildlife are prioritized over the oil and gas industry.Too much is at risk for us to remain silent.”  

FOREST CONSERVATION = CLIMATE STRATEGY:  On Tuesday, more than 70 environmental groups launched a campaign calling on President Biden to protect mature and old-growth trees and forests from logging across America’s public lands as a cornerstone of U.S. climate policy. Protecting older forests both reduces  greenhouse gas emissions and ensures these forests continue to store vast amounts of carbon, a win-win climate change solution. For more information, visit the campaign’s website HERE and read the coalition’s full statement HERE.

INDUSTRIAL DECARBONIZATION ANNOUNCEMENT: On Tuesday, the White House announced a series of federal actions that will contribute to industrial decarbonization by catalyzing clean manufacturing and procurement and promoting responsible deployment of new clean energy technologies.  

OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate Sara Fontes said, “We are happy to see the Biden-Harris administration getting to work on implementing the crucial federal sustainability executive order announced in December as well as key provisions of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA). Today’s announcement marks important progress toward decarbonizing our industrial sector, which comprises nearly a third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing its toxic water and air pollution, which disproportionately harm low-income and communities of color. It further cements President Biden’s whole of government approach to combating the climate crisis and commitment to leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government to do so. We applaud the administration’s efforts to ensure that deployment of new technologies–particularly carbon capture and sequestration and clean hydrogen–is focused on industrial applications and done in an equitable way that does not further impact communities who are overburdened by pollution and the most harmed by climate change, and supports good, union jobs.”

ADMIN ON THE ROAD: This week members of the Biden-Harris Administration hit the road to talk climate, water, and justice. EPA Administrator Regan visited Portland, Maine to talk about water infrastructure investments. DOI Secretary Haaland and CEQ Chair Mallory visited communities across the country that hold a significant piece of the Civil Rights Movement – including Selma, Alabama and the Emmet Till site in Mississippi – as the administration continues the work to designate national historic monuments and landmarks throughout our country. As Secretary Haaland said, this is how “we can tell a more complete story of America.” Additionally, President Biden was in Ohio Thursday to announce federal restoration funding for the Great Lakes – read more about LCV and our state partners’ response below. And today, Secretary Haaland visited Arizona to talk about drought in the West.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

BIDEN VISITS LAKE ERIE TO RESTORE GREAT LAKES: President Biden visited the shores of Lake Erie this week to announce the EPA’s investment of $1 Billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to significantly accelerate cleanup and restore the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh surface water on earth and supply drinking water for tens of millions of Americans. Read a statement from LCV and our state affiliates Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Illinois Environmental Council, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund, and New York League of Conservation Voters  HERE

CHISPA AZ ORGANIZES GARDENERS FOR FOOD JUSTICE: On Saturday, Chispa Arizona organized a gardening event for volunteers at Spaces of Opportunity, an organization “working to transform a food desert to a food oasis in South Phoenix through the coordination of a 10-acre incubator farm, gardens and an on-site farmers market.” Visit Chispa Arizona’s post on the event HERE and learn more about their work HERE

CHISPA AZ IN CONVERSATION WITH INTERSECTIONAL LEADERS: On Friday, Chispa Arizona hosted a Black History Month event focused on intersectional leaders. The event hosted business owners, health advocates, and housing equity advocates who shared how environmental justice shapes their lives and perspective. Visit Chispa Arizona’s post on the event HERE to learn more. 

CHISPA TX, PROGRAM DIRECTOR IN TEXAS MONTHLY: On Monday, Texas Monthly released an article, “How Texas is Rescuing Europe From the Russians,” in which Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillio discussed the environmental impacts of fracked gas. Texas is exporting a rapidly growing supply of liquefied natural gas to Europe as the continent is experiencing an energy crisis. European countries heavily rely on imported gas from Russia, the region’s largest gas supplier, which has proven to be unreliable, especially in the face of precarious geopolitical conditions. Now, Texas is increasingly meeting European demand.. Elida discusses the environmental concerns of fracking in Texas, saying “the impacts to our health, environment and economy are greater than any benefit that fracked gas can provide.” Read the full article HERE

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 508,000 doors and have activated over 30,000 people to advocate for the critical climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. And, over 23,500 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too. 

COMING UP:

ALL OF FEBRUARY – Black History Month 

MARCH 1 – President Biden’s State of the Union address

MARCH 1 –Texas Primary Election 

MARCH 11 – Government funding expires