This Week In Climate Action


Jan 27, 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.


“We’re talking about basic rights… These communities have been burdened time and time again by industry. The legislation that we will be seeing today and tomorrow brought forth by Republicans opens the door once again to unchecked, unmonitored, and unprotected actions that negatively will continue to affect these communities. The environment, climate, the need for remediation, and the need for involvement by all communities, and the resolution of the issues we face around climate, requires that environmental justice communities long left off the discussion, long ignored in the history of this nation…need to be at the table.”

Representative Raul Grijalva speaking on the harmful effects that H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, would have on environmental justice communities. In lieu of H.R. 21, Rep. Grijalva called for passing the Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act.

“When we talk about the safety and security of AAPI communities, we must start centering the impact of gun violence. As the past week alone has emphasized – with horrific gun violence in Fort Pierce, Monterey Park, Baton Rouge, half Moon Bay, Des Moines, and more – no community in America is immune to gun violence, including ours. We need lawmakers at all levels to pass policies to prevent gun violence and help put a stop to the never ending horror and fear that we’re facing.”

Stop AAPI Hate’s statement in response to the gun violence inflicted on the Asian-American community this Lunar New Year. 

“Today, climate collapse disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups such as Atlanta’s Black communities. Rather than investing in solutions to the environmental crisis, governments are investing in heavier policing, especially of those disadvantaged groups.”

Activists speaking on the ongoing fight to defend Atlanta’s South River Forest from the construction of a law enforcement training village. The development they were protesting would demolish one of Atlanta’s largest remaining green spaces in an under-resourced, predominantly Black area. 


LCV STATEMENT ON ANNIVERSARY OF JUSTICE 40 Initiative: Today is the two year anniversary of President Biden’s historic climate Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which committed the administration to a whole-of-government approach to tackling environmental injustice.

OUR TAKE: Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “We are grateful to the Biden-Harris administration for the historic commitment he made two years ago today to put environmental justice at the center of his administration’s agenda, including the Justice 40 Initiative. While much progress has been made over the past two years, much critical work remains. We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to continue prioritizing  communities living on the fenceline of polluting sources and providing them with more technical support and capacity building to successfully access the federal investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act. We are also looking forward to the release of the first Environmental Justice Scorecard, a critical tool to hold federal agencies accountable for assessing progress on benefits felt by communities through this initiative.”

LCV APPLAUDS RESTORED ROADLESS PROTECTIONS IN TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST: The Biden-Harris administration restored roadless protections to 9.37 million acres of roadless areas in the Tongass National Forest on Wednesday.

OUR TAKE: LCV’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld stated, “We are thrilled that the Biden-Harris administration restored the Roadless Rule in the Tongass – the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. Reinstating protections for 9 million acres in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest will ensure that this natural wonder, massive carbon sink, and crucial resource for many Alaskan communities remains intact and protected.

These traditional homelands of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples are home to abundant wildlife and are critical to local tribes’ way of life. The logging and destructive development that the Trump administration invited would have destroyed the region’s robust tourism, fishing, and recreation economies. We look forward to continuing our work with the administration to enshrine crucial protections for all Alaska communities.”

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TAKE: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated, “As our nation’s largest national forest and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, the Tongass National Forest is key to conserving biodiversity and addressing the climate crisis. Restoring roadless protections listens to the voices of Tribal Nations and the people of Southeast Alaska while recognizing the importance of fishing and tourism to the region’s economy.”

LCV STATEMENT ON HOUSE GOP PASSAGE OF HARMFUL SPR ACT: Today’s Republican-led House passage of the Strategic Production Response Act  is a clear gift to Republicans’ polluter allies – oil and gas execs swimming in record profits earned on the backs of regular families suffering inflated energy prices.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Shame on House Republicans for voting to put our treasured public lands at risk under the guise of ‘energy security.’ This bill is a clear gift to Republicans’ polluter allies – more drilling on public lands would perpetuate the climate crisis, put our health at risk, and do absolutely nothing to lower energy costs. In addition to the harm the SPR Act would cause if enacted, pro-fossil fuel policies are bad politics. The vast majority of voters want to see our country move to a clean energy future; Republicans vote against the environment at their own peril. We appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s issuance of a Statement of Administration Policy in strong opposition to this bill.”

LCV JOINS GROUPS OPPOSING STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE BILL: On Tuesday, LCV joined environmental groups in a letter to Congress opposing H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act. The bill would require that non-emergency drawdowns of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) be accompanied by a plan to lease a percentage of federal lands for fossil fuel production in line with the percentage of oil scheduled to be released from the SPR, capped at 10%. Granting the fossil fuel industry additional, unnecessary access to public lands would jeopardize our transition to our clean energy future, pose a severe climate risk and deny the opportunity to manage our public lands for climate resilience, cultural importance, and other conservation values. Read the full letter here.

ENVIRO GROUP TAKE: In the letter, groups said: “True energy security for all Americans means transitioning to a 100% clean energy future, not promoting fossil fuel development. This bill isn’t about energy security. It’s about capitalizing on global events to give away more lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry.”

LCV AND CONSERVATION MINNESOTA APPLAUD PROTECTION OF BOUNDARY WATERS FROM NEW MINING: On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced it will protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from new mining via an administrative 20 year withdrawal.

OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to keep this toxic industry away from our most visited Wilderness. This action is overwhelmingly supported by Minnesotans and furthers the administration’s America the Beautiful conservation goals while laying groundwork for efforts to ensure this pristine wilderness is permanently protected.”

MN LCV TAKE: Conservation Minnesota Executive Director Paul Austin said, “This is great news for the Boundary Waters and for all Minnesotans who cherish it. It only makes sense to protect our nation’s most visited wilderness similar to other national treasures like Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Canyon.”

A ROADMAP TO CLEAN POWER: This week, Evergreen Action and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a roadmap with the critical steps needed to achieve the Biden Administration’s commitment to 100% clean power by 2035. Watch their explainer video here, and download the full report here. In short, the Inflation Reduction Act was only step one. We need President Biden to expedite strong environmental rulemaking across the administration, such as oil and gas industry, power plant, appliance, car, and truck standards, in order to meet his climate goals.



100% CLEAN ENERGY BILL PASSES MINNESOTA HOUSE: On Thursday, the Minnesota state House passed a bill to commit to 100% clean electricity by 2040. The fast-moving legislation could be voted on in the senate as soon as next week.

CM TAKE: Conservation Minnesota Executive Director Paul Austin said, “The Minnesota House of Representatives brought us one step closer to our biggest action ever to address the climate crisis. This historic piece of legislation will expand our economy, reduce dangerous pollution, and protect our Great Outdoors for future generations. We applaud House members for making this one of their top priorities this legislative session, and we look forward to the Senate passing their 100% bill in the coming days.”

TACKLING STATE ACTIONS ON ANNIVERSARY OF JUSTICE 40: Two years ago today, President Joe Biden signed the executive order that launched the Justice40 Initiative. In a recent blog post, National Resources Defense Council Community Solutions Advisor Mikyla Reta lays out how the Justice 40 initiative kicked off a whole-of-government approach to integrating equity and justice into all federal spending on tackling the climate crisis by laying out the goal that 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean energy investments should be directed to “disadvantaged communities.” A large portion of investments will be directed to states, territories, and localities, leaving it to them to ensure federal funds are distributed in line with Justice40 goals and principles to deliver real benefits to communities. Read the NRDC’s full blog post, “How States Can Help Implement the Justice40 Initiative,” here, and check out Maine Conservation Voters’ webinar with our very own Lashelle Johnson, LCV State Equity Policy Director, to learn more about how the Justice40 Initiative guides the equitable implementation of federal climate and clean energy investments.

ICYMI: COALITION CALLS FOR WI ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER APPOINTMENT TO BE RESCINDED: Last week, a coalition of Wisconsin organizations advocating for voting rights, including Wisconsin Conservation Voters, called for Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Robert Spindell’s appointment to be rescinded after making comments celebrating the systemic and racist disenfranchisement of voters in Wisconsin. Other organizations who joined the statement included All Voting is Local Wisconsin, The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, Common Cause Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Interfaith Voter Engagement Campaign.

WI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION TAKE: A statement from the coalition stated, “We are extremely disappointed to read Commissioner Spindell’s comments rejoicing over tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters casting fewer ballots than in previous elections. As a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Commissioner Spindell should seek to deliver the promise of American democracy to every single person in this state, regardless of party affiliation. What is even more alarming is that he celebrated the fact that the majority of those casting fewer ballots were Black and Brown voters, whose communities were specifically targeted and impacted through concentrated efforts to erect barriers to the ballot and the spreading of disinformation regarding voting and elections in the last several years.”

VA DEFEATS POLLUTERS ATTEMPTED POWER GRAB: On Tuesday, the Virginia Senate defeated a bill backed by Governor Glenn Youngkin that would have withdrawn the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), putting polluters and their profits over Virginians. RGGI is a  multistate, market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce climate pollution by requiring electricity producers to buy allowances for the carbon they emit.

OUR TAKE: Virginia LCV Executive Director Michael Town said, “We are grateful to our champions in the Senate for doing the right thing for Virginians and climate action by rejecting this misguided repeal effort, but also know our work isn’t over. We have to continue to defend this program from the Youngkin Administration’s ongoing attacks as they seek to override the legislative process and put polluters ahead of what’s best for our state.”

MAINE GROUPS SUPPORT NEW OFFSHORE WIND BILL: This week, Maine Conservation Voters joined various labor and conservation groups to introduce legislation that would require the state to purchase 2.8 gigawatts of wind energy over the next 12 years – enough to power 980,000 homes. The bill also includes high environmental, equity and labor standards and would position Maine as a leader in floating offshore wind energy. Currently, a proposal to build the first floating offshore wind array in the US in the Gulf of Maine is under consideration and the project cleared the initial step in the approval process last week. 

NRC ME TAKE: Natural Resources Council of Maine Climate and Clean Energy Director Jack Shapiro said, “Using technology built right here in Maine and guided by the best available research and data, we can generate clean reliable electricity, create thousands of good-paying jobs for Maine people, and protect the Gulf of Maine’s unique ecosystem and the people and wildlife that depend on it.”

MCV TAKE: Maine Conservation Voters Energy Justice Manager Kelt Wilska said, “This bill will foster an equitable transition to renewable energy, ensuring union job opportunities and economic benefits are available to all Mainers, from the coast to our rural inland communities.”

MN GOVERNOR PROMOTES CLIMATE FUNDING IN PROPOSED BUDGET: On Tuesday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz proposed a budget that puts 100% clean energy and implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act at the forefront. The budget includes a new goal to achieve  carbon-free energy by 2040, through actions including building out electric vehicle infrastructure, encouraging solar power and helping people weatherize their homes. The proposal also includes nearly $64 million to restore more than 6,000 acres of grasslands and wetlands on public lands, supporting reforestation efforts and bolstering habitat for wildlife.  

MAINE CALLS FOR STRONGER FEDERAL CLEAN CARS STANDARDS: Maine Conservation Voters sponsored a news conference on Wednesday calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set strong emissions standards for passenger vehicles manufactured in 2027 – when current regulations will expire – and beyond. In 2021, President Biden restored the Obama administration’s federal Clean Cars Rule that was rolled back under the Trump administration, but these standards only cover cars manufactured through 2026. Event speakers included Representative Lori Gramlich, chair of the Maine House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Adam Lee, board chair of Lee Auto Mall, the state’s largest car dealership, and Dr. Rebecca Boulos, executive director of the Maine Public Health Association. The EPA plans to announce new Clean Cars regulations by March.

MCV TAKE: Maine Conservation Voters Senior Director of Policy and Partnerships Kathleen Meil said, “Maine is seeing the results of a rapidly changing climate as our winters get warmer, our storms become more severe, and average temperatures in the Gulf of Maine increase. With Maine’s Climate Action Plan and Clean Transportation Roadmap, we’ve set bold targets for reducing the transportation emissions that are adding to the climate crisis. Now we need the Biden Administration to move forward with strong, nationally consistent clean car standards to cut climate-changing pollution.”


FEBRUARY 7: State of the Union 

MONTH OF FEBRUARY: Black History Month