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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – JANUARY 19, 2024

Jan 19, 2024

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:

“The climate crisis is not just about carbon emissions. It is about equity.”

Rachel Cleetus, policy director with the climate and energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, following the announcement that John Kerry will be leaving his post as climate envoy, on what his successor should prioritize in the role.

“We must hold the Supreme Court accountable to defend our democracy and operate in the best interest of our citizens. And that is why, beyond today’s case, it is so important that Congress commits to reform the Supreme Court.”

Congresswoman Delia Ramirez (IL-03) at a rally hosted by United for Democracy outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning ahead of oral arguments in the cases Relentless Inc v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo. 

“Let’s quit playing political games and get the damn thing done.”

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) on the appropriations process following Congress’ passage of yet another short term funding patch.


BIDEN’S THIRD ANNIVERSARY: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S FIRST THREE YEARS

To commemorate the third anniversary of President Biden taking office, we’re looking back at some of the Biden administration’s biggest climate-related wins from the past three years.

HISTORIC INVESTMENT IN CLIMATE AND CLEAN ENERGY: In August of 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) into law, making the single largest investment in climate and clean energy in U.S. history. In the year and a half since the IRA became law, the legislation has created 210,000+ new clean energy and manufacturing jobs and spurred nearly $600 billion in new investment. Thanks to the IRA, the U.S. is on track to cut our emissions by half by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

SETTING CONSERVATION RECORDS: In his first three years in office, President Biden has:

  • Conserved (or is in the process of conserving) more than 24 million acres of public lands across the country.
  • Set records for conservation funding, directing more than $18 billion toward federal, state, local, and Tribal land conservation projects across all 50 states.
  •  Designated five new national monuments and restored protections for two national monuments who saw their protections rolled back under Trump.

IN NATIONAL NEWS: 

SCOTUS HEARS ORAL ARGUMENTS IN CASES SEEKING TO OVERTURN CHEVRON DOCTRINE: The Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in the cases Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo. The right-wing lawyers for these cases are seeking to overturn the Chevron doctrine, a bedrock legal precedent established in Chevron v. NRDC which states that if there is ambiguity in a federal statute administered by an expert agency (such as the way the EPA administers the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act), courts are supposed to defer to the agency’s reasonable interpretation of the statute. Learn more about the cases and implications of SCOTUS ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on the Power Source Blog. And, watch a recording of a webinar on the cases hosted by Demand Justice and the American Constitution Society with representatives from Public Justice, the Student Borrower Protection Center, and our own Doug Lindner.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “After gutting EPA authority on climate and clean water, the MAGA justices on our captured Supreme Court are now threatening to overturn the fundamental Chevron doctrine and take even more power from federal agencies like EPA that protect the people from powerful special interests. This relentless power grab not only benefits Big Polluters, it also comes at the behest of Charles Koch and his massive, oil-funded political operation that bankrolled this case. If the Koch-backed lawyers get their way, the MAGA justices on the Supreme Court will take power not just from EPA scientists and experts, but also from political leaders and the voters who elect them.

“Congress must pass the Judiciary Act to add four seats and rebalance the Supreme Court with justices who will protect our rights and uphold the law, instead of grabbing power to serve their billionaire friends and polluter allies. We need the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act to ensure the nation’s highest court does not operate with the lowest ethical standards. And we need President Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate to continue filling every vacancy on the federal bench with qualified, diverse judges of integrity, who work for the people–not the polluters.”

LCV also joined a United for Democracy, a coalition of over 130 state and national organizations, for a rally outside the Supreme Court ahead of the oral arguments on Wednesday morning. The rally, emceed by our own Doug Lindner, hosted a variety of speakers who called out the cases for what they are: A relentless power grab by the Supreme Court’s MAGA majority on behalf of their wealthy benefactors and special interests. Check out these photos from the rally!

TAKE 2: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “No matter what happens in this Relentless case, we know these MAGA justices will continue attacking our environmental protections. It’s not because of how they interpret the law. It’s because of how they manipulate the law. It’s because they have the power. It’s because they work for big oil and big coal. They work for the Federalist Society. They work for the vote suppressors. They work for the anti-abortion extremists. They work for Leonard Leo and Harlan Crow and Mitch McConnell. They work in bad faith. And they do not work for the American people.”

UNITED FOR DEMOCRACY TAKE: United for Democracy Campaign Director Stasha Rhodes said, “United for Democracy was on the Supreme Court steps today because it’s time to call this Supreme Court term out for what it is: a relentless power grab by MAGA justices pushing  an agenda that favors huge corporations and extreme, right-wing billionaires. Relentless and Loper Bright offer the MAGA majority on the Supreme Court the chance to undermine the authority federal agencies use to protect Americans from powerful special interests – leaving workers more vulnerable to unsafe conditions, communities more vulnerable to weak environmental protections, and consumers more vulnerable to price-gouging by greedy multinational corporations.”

LCV JOINS 100+ ORGANIZATIONS URGING SENATE TO APPOINT DIVERSE NOMINEES TO JUDICIAL VACANCIES: LCV joined 107 organizations in signing onto a letter led by The Leadership Conference to the Senate’s Democratic Caucus urging the body to prioritize filling all judicial vacancies with diverse nominees committed to civil and human rights.

COALITION TAKE: From the letter, “In 2024, the Senate must make it a priority to fill every vacancy on our federal courts with individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, possess diverse professional experiences including public interest work for social and economic justice, are fair-minded, possess a progressive vision of the law and Constitution, and are reflective and representative of the vast and rich diversity of our country. With nearly 100 lifetime judicial vacancies across the nation, the work of building an equal justice judiciary must accelerate.”

COALITION CALLS OUT AUTOMAKERS FOR EFFORTS TO DELAY CLEAN TRUCK TRANSITION: LCV joined more than 40 environmental and advocacy groups from around the world on coalition letters sent to the CEOs of automakers Volvo and Daimler Truck calling out the companies for their attempts to hinder and delay the transition to clean trucks in the U.S.

COALITION TAKE: From Evergreen Action’s landing page for the letters, “Behind closed doors, Volvo Trucks USA and Daimler Truck North America have been fighting tooth and nail against common sense clean air and clean truck standards in the USA. This is in direct contradiction to the stated values and commitments of their parent companies, Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG.”


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

LCV NEW HAMPSHIRE CO-HOSTS YOUTH CLIMATE FORUM: League of Conservation Voters’ New Hampshire team joined forces with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, the Irving Institute for Energy & Society, and a group of local and national industry and climate leaders for a youth forum on the climate crisis ahead of Tuesday’s upcoming presidential primary election in New Hampshire. The forum drew over 200 students from across the state. Learn more in this article on the event from the Granite Post!

CHISPA MD HOLDS FIRST CANVAS OF THE YEAR: Chispa Maryland leaders successfully held their first community canvas of the year. In spite of frigid temperatures and snow, 14 members joined staff in knocking on doors in Wheaton, MD. Check out some pictures of the canvas here.


NEW ON THE POWER SOURCE BLOG AND SOCIALS:

ON THE BLOG: Another week, another roundup of Good Climate News on the Power Source Blog!

ON OUR SOCIALS: Our social content this week focused on some of the biggest cases on the Supreme Court’s docket, Relentless v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, which SCOTUS held oral arguments for on Wednesday. Across our socials, we shared an explainer on the cases, photos and info on the rally outside the Supreme Court, as well as info on a webinar which featured LCV’s Doug Lindner as a panelist.


COMING UP:

JANUARY 21: 14th anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision

JANUARY 23: New Hampshire presidential primary election

JANUARY 25: Chispa AZ to participate in Environmental Lobby day at the Arizona capitol. Check out their informational Instagram live session inviting Chispa AZ members to join them.