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“Minnesotans spoke clearly this last election, and they expect all of us to do just that: get things done. The era of gridlock in St. Paul is over. Minnesotans have chosen. They chose hope over fear. They chose fact over fiction, and they chose action over excuses. Our path is clear. It’s time to lead.”
— Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, during his second inaugural speech, in which he highlighted the major changes to education, health care and climate policy that the state government will enact with the state’s new Democratic trifecta. Governor Walz also highlighted Minnesota’s goal of making the state’s electricity carbon emission-free by 2040.
“I implore you to take action and charge in this long but necessary fight for our democracy, for our country. Vote. Support DC statehood. Make sure those around you understand its importance as well. The more we do now to ensure the future of our country is bright, the farther we are from violent attacks that we saw two years ago.”
— D.C. Youth Mayor Addison Rose at the Our Freedoms Our Vote rally commemorating the 2-year anniversary of the violent January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“All environmental issues are human rights issues. Even when you look at [something like] sustainable fashion – and the impact that the fashion industry has on our planet and on our climate – you also look at the impact it has on people. It’s mostly women of color that are put in dangerous work environments, and their rights aren’t being fought for on a larger scale.”
— Sustainable clothing designer and animator Maya Penn, who this week was one of eight young climate activists spotlighted on the cover of Vogue magazine.
REMEMBERING JANUARY 6TH: On the two-year anniversary of the violent January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, LCV reflected on the broader assaults the event had on our democracy. To see a video of Arndrea Waters King speaking at a rally outside the Capitol, click here.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Two years later, we reflect on the horrific insurrection members of Congress, their staff, and those who work to protect and maintain Capitol Hill endured on January 6, 2021. On this day, we also acknowledge the broader assaults on our democracy. MAGA Republicans’ anti-democratic extremism is especially dangerous for people of color, Indigenous people, young people, and people who have disabilities – the same communities that bear the greatest burdens of environmental injustice. While voters across the nation rightfully rejected most extremist candidates who ran on ‘the Big Lie’ last November, many of the same election overthrowers who supported the violent January 6 insurrection continue to hold positions of power in this country jeopardizing voting rights and undermining the rule of law. LCV is more committed than ever to fighting for racial and environmental justice, and a robust, equitable democracy for all.”
PROPOSED SOOT POLLUTION STANDARD MISSES THE MARK: Today the EPA proposed to slightly tighten only the annual Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standard (and not the daily standard), missing an opportunity to adequately slash soot pollution.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs and former EPA health scientist Matthew Davis said, “This draft rule misses the mark and does not adequately slash soot pollution, protect public health, or prevent premature deaths. We urge the Biden-Harris administration to follow the best science and longstanding legal foundation and finalize an annual standard of 8 micrograms per meter cubed (ug/m3) and a 24-hour standard of 25 ug/m3 to adequately safeguard public health and deliver on environmental justice. EPA has a massive opportunity to strengthen this standard and build a future with cleaner, healthier air for our children, especially for communities of color and low wealth communities disproportionately near polluting coal power plants, industrial facilities, truck depots, and freight corridors.
“Particulate matter, or soot pollution, primarily from burning coal and diesel fuel, cuts short the lives of over a hundred thousand people in the U.S. each year, disproportionately communities of color and low wealth communities, and damages children’s developing bodies in countless tragic ways. Our members and people around the country are counting on the EPA to deliver the maximum health benefits as we transition to a clean energy economy.”
CONSERVATION VOTERS CELEBRATE SEN. STABENOW: News broke this week that Senior Senator Debbie Stabenow – the first woman elected to represent Michigan in the U.S. Senate – will retire at the end of her term in January 2025.
MILCV TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “Senator Debbie Stabenow’s career in Washington will be defined by her deep, steadfast commitment to protecting our Great Lakes – the lifeblood of our state. We congratulate Senator Stabenow on a decorated career working to make the lives of Michiganders better and protecting our natural resources. In Congress, she showed up for Michigan’s water time and again, authoring and protecting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, working to stop the spread of invasive species, banning oil and gas drilling in our Great Lakes and so much more.”
OUR TAKE: League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said, “Senator Stabenow is a tireless climate, clean energy, and Great Lakes champion. We are so grateful for her leadership over more than two decades in Congress, especially her relentless advocacy for the strongest climate, jobs, and justice bill in U.S. history. From her commitment to provide relief to families poisoned by lead in Flint, to helping bring thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs to Michigan autoworkers, to ensuring agriculture is part of our climate solutions, Senator Stabenow is a fighter for people and the planet and we look forward to continuing to advance our shared priorities together over the next two years.”
CRITICAL CLEAN WATER PROTECTIONS RESTORED: Last week, the Biden administration finalized the Revised Definition of the “Waters of the United States” and repealed – once and for all – former President Donald Trump’s catastrophic rollback of critical clean water protections. Environmental groups, legal experts, and clean water advocates responded here.
OUR TAKE: Deputy Legislative Director for the League of Conservation Voters Madeleine Foote said, “With today’s announcement, the Biden administration has moved closer to fulfilling the president’s campaign promise to ensure everyone has access to clean, safe water. We greatly appreciate the administration ridding us of Trump’s dangerous Dirty Water Rule once and for all and thank the EPA and the Army Corps for engaging in a transparent and inclusive rulemaking process. This is a good step toward advancing environmental justice for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities that have historically borne the brunt of water pollution.”
ELECTRIC VEHICLE TAX CREDITS ANNOUNCEMENT: Last week, the Treasury Department and IRS released key details to help consumers access new electric vehicle tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “This is history in the making! We are thrilled to see the Biden-Harris administration’s quick work to implement the Inflation Reduction Act and kick off the new year by speeding the transition to electric vehicles and ensuring these cars and trucks are more accessible for all. Importantly, today’s announcement will help more school districts purchase electric school buses, the cleanest and healthiest option for kids. More electric vehicles on the streets will mean cleaner air for our children and families and major progress toward our climate goals. We look forward to continued work with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure the landmark climate law is implemented boldly, swiftly, and equitably.”
MULTIMEDIA CAMPAIGN TELLS LAWMAKERS TO “PROTECT OUR MONTANA CONSTITUTION”: The Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund launched a new multimedia campaign designed to activate Montanans to assure their right to a clean and healthful environment as guaranteed in the Montana Constitution. Titled “Protect our Montana Constitution,” the campaign includes a brief video spoofed off Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m just a Bill,” as well as a take action opportunity for Montanans to directly email their legislators.
MCV TAKE: Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund Executive Director Whitney Tawney said, “The grandeur of Montana’s mountains and vastness of our rolling plains did not happen by accident. Montana’s Constitution protects our public lands, air and water, but our rights are under attack. It’s up to us to protect the Montana Constitution and stand against any and all threats to our outdoor way of life.”
OP-ED: DUKE ENERGY’S FAILURE SHEDS LIGHT ON NEED FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY: North Carolina League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Carrie Clark authored an op-ed this week highlighting lessons from the Christmas storm: Gas and coal aren’t always dependable in extreme weather, while renewable energy with battery storage is more reliable. The Inflation Reduction Act makes clean energy cheaper than more than 90% of proposed gas plants, and Duke Energy could most economically meet the carbon reduction targets mandated by the law by tripling the proposed solar on its grid by 2030. Read the full op-ed here.
JANUARY 10: White House rally to deliver over 100,000 comments opposing ConocoPhillips’ dirty and dangerous Willow project
Who: The Alaska Wilderness League, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Evergreen Action, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, SILA, Sunrise Movement American University, Zero Hour and others
When: Tuesday, January 10, at 12:00 PM,
Where: Lafayette Square
MONTH OF FEBRUARY: Black History Month