“Congress not only has the power, but a sworn constitutional duty, to bring transparency and accountability to a Supreme Court that has been captured by wealthy and well-connected special interests and to ensure equal justice under the law.”
– More than 90 grassroots organizations in a coalition letter led by United for Democracy and including LCV, urging lawmakers to conduct investigations and enact a binding code of ethics on the Supreme Court.
“Despite the record-setting heat, extreme weather events, drought, and wildfires plaguing Americans, House Republicans have proposed an Appropriations bill that completely debilitates our response to climate.”
– Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-01), ranking member of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee on the House Republicans’ Interior Appropriations bill.
“The climate crisis is manmade and it is reversible, but in order to make progress we need to move away from burning coal.”
– Representative Seth Magaziner (RI-02), member of the House Committee on Natural Resources on the record-high temperatures recorded this week.
VP HARRIS ANNOUNCES $20 BILLION FOR GREEN BANK: On a stop on the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America tour in Baltimore, Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the launch of two new grant competitions under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, often referred to as the “green bank.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “It was thrilling to hear Vice President Harris talk about the significant progress this administration has made so far in tackling the climate crisis and advancing environmental justice. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is critically important to investing in climate solutions in communities facing disinvestment or formerly left out of the clean energy transition, and the launch of the program’s National Clean Investment Fund and Clean Communities Investment Accelerator grant competitions by the Vice President is one more milestone for the rollout of historic investments from the affordable clean energy plan.
“Funding from these grant competitions, totaling $20 billion, will serve as leverage for private investment and a launching pad for tens of thousands of clean technology projects, and will help to bring good jobs and affordable, clean energy to low income and disadvantaged communities, including communities of color. The Biden-Harris administration’s affordable clean energy plan is changing the energy landscape in this country, cutting emissions, and uplifting historically underserved communities, thanks in large part to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. While House Republicans play politics and attempt to cut funding for this important and popular program against the interests of their districts, the Biden-Harris administration continues to focus on solutions to the climate crisis ravaging communities across the country.”
NORTH CAROLINA MOBILIZES AROUND FARM BILL AND AFFORDABLE CLEAN ENERGY PLAN: This week, North Carolina LCV’s Climate Action Team tabled at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market to chat with folks about why the Farm Bill matters for community food aid, climate and conservation, and supporting local farmers. At the event, the team also spoke to community members about how the Farm Bill and the affordable clean energy plan’s climate investments could make use of Indigenous farming techniques to support climate-resilient, regenerative agriculture across the state of North Carolina.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL: MAGA Republicans in the House have released their Interior Appropriations bill, which features dramatic cuts to the EPA and the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy plan, among a slew of other provisions that would push the country backwards on conservation and blatantly undermine equity and racial justice in our country.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “As extreme heat, wildfires, flooding and other effects of the climate crisis threaten people across the country and the world, MAGA Republicans in the House are responding by burning down the firehouse.
“There are too many terrible provisions to mention them all, but lowlights include: cutting EPA funding to the lowest levels in more than 30 years; explicitly cutting programs meant to address environmental racism; restricting agencies with MAGA racist and homophobic ideology; slashing clean air protections; mandating dirty energy lease sales; cutting clean water and environmental clean-up programs; and dooming critical species like the gray wolf and sage grouse to extinction. And just like everything else this narrow House majority has done, it once again targets popular elements of the administration’s affordable clean energy plan – this time with more than $9 billion in cuts, including to the critical Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
“Despite cuts in the deal on the debt limit earlier this year, extreme MAGA Republicans are showing they will never be satisfied. Congress should be treating Speaker McCarthy’s own spending deal as the floor instead of seeking even more harmful cuts that will have real world impacts. Immediately reneging on their own deal is a one-way ticket to a completely avoidable MAGA government shutdown.”
David Shadburn also appeared this week in the Washington Post’s Climate 202 on the federal contractor rule.
TAKE TWO: “Republicans spend all this time saying they’re for the free market, but it’s the market that’s demanding this information. The reason we’re even having these conversations is because investors — and in this case the federal government on behalf of our taxpayer dollars — want to know what these climate risks are.”
REP. GRACE NAPOLITANO ANNOUNCES HER RETIREMENT: Representative Napolitano (CA-31) announced this week that she will be retiring at the end of her current term. Napolitano has been a strong ally in the environmental movement for over 30 years.
OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Since joining the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, Representative Grace Napolitano has been a champion for clean air, clean water, and healthy communities in Southeastern Los Angeles County and across the country. She earned a perfect 100% score in 2022 and a 91% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard. As a longtime member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and leader on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, Rep. Napolitano has distinguished herself as a true champion for ensuring that everyone has access to safe, clean water, renewable-powered transit, and a healthy environment for their families. We are grateful for her life-long commitment to public service and wish her the best in her well-earned retirement.”
SENATE CONFIRMS XOCHITL TORRES SMALL AS DEPUTY SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Xochitl Torres Small as the deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture. Torres Small is an environmental champion who has spent her career fighting for a healthy environment in New Mexico and the rest of the country.
OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Congratulations to Xochitl Torres Small on her confirmation as deputy secretary of Agriculture! Torres Small has been an active defender of public lands and waters throughout her career, first as an attorney practicing water and natural resources law, through her time in Congress, and most recently in her role as under secretary of agriculture for rural development. USDA, and particularly the popular conservation programs and climate-smart practices boosted last year by the Inflation Reduction Act, couldn’t be in better hands. As Congress begins work on the Farm Bill, we are thrilled to have an environmental champion like Torres Small in this position.”
ENVIRONMENTAL COALTION’S AD CALLS ON BIDEN ADMIN: “DON’T SPEND BILLIONS ON POLLUTION”: A coalition of environmental groups including Clean Air Task Force, Evergreen Collaborative, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, and Union of Concerned Scientists placed a full page ad in the Washington Post on Friday calling on the Biden administration to ensure public funds from the administration’s clean energy bill are being used appropriately. See the ad here.
COALITION TAKE: The coalition released the following statement on the ad: “The Biden Administration should not allow clean energy tax credits for hydrogen that increase carbon pollution. A hydrogen industry that comes at the cost of a dirty grid will not be clean at all. The implementation of these tax credits should be focused on cutting carbon pollution and tackling the climate crisis, as Congress intended.”
LCV’S DOUG LINDNER TALKS SUPREME COURT, ETHICS, AND ENVIRONMENT: This week, LCV Senior Director of Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner appeared on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-RI) podcast Making the Case with End Citizens United/Let America Vote President Tiffany Muller and Brady Campaign President Kris Brown. The episode, “Special Interests; Special Decisions,” highlighted Supreme Court ethics and dark money in the courts, voting and gun laws, and recent Supreme Court environmental decisions in West Virginia v. EPA and Sackett v. EPA. Listen to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
DOUG’S TAKE: “A number of their significant tools that, by a regular reading of the Clean Air Act, should have been available to the EPA, no longer are available because these justices just didn’t want them to be. This is in part because they know that the fossil fuel industry is their friend and helped them get the power they have. They are using that power to take authority away, not just from the scientists and experts at the agency, but from the Congress that passed those laws, from the president that was elected to run that agency, and from the voters that elected them.”
NEVADA GOVERNOR WITHDRAWS NEVADA FROM BIPARTISAN U.S. CLIMATE ALLIANCE: On Thursday, Governor Joe Lombardo withdrew Nevada from the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of more than two dozen governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Lombardo is the only governor elected last year to withdraw their state from the alliance. Just last week, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs became the Alliance’s newest member. The alliance aims to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2030 – an objective that is more important than ever as Nevada and the nation face yet another summer of record-breaking heat and other extreme weather events. By withdrawing Nevada from the Climate Alliance, Lombardo is ceding the state’s leadership on clean energy and climate, while aligning himself with extremist Governors Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Greg Gianforte of Montana.
NEVADA CONSERVATION LEAGUE TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg said, “We are outraged by Governor Lombardo’s nonsensical withdrawal of Nevada from the U.S. Climate Alliance. He took this action without consulting everyday Nevadans, advocacy groups, or leaders within the environmental community, and it contradicts his own administration’s goals of economic diversification through clean energy. The actions and goals outlined through the Climate Alliance are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and staving off the worst impacts of the climate crisis. While Nevada is being hit hard with record temperatures and soaring energy bills, Lombardo is putting utilities and their profits first. This is a step backwards and undermines the voices of Nevadans who consistently support clean energy and climate action.”
CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Director Estefany Carrasco-Gonzalez said, “Governor Lombardo’s decision to withdraw Nevada from the U.S. Climate Alliance is putting the health of Latino families at risk. We are already experiencing the worst impacts of climate change, including extreme heat that right now makes it unbearable to work or spend time outdoors. Climate change is worsening air and water pollution, increasing lung and heart disease, and raising the costs of basic necessities. Our community needs a governor who puts the well-being of our environment and the future of our children and our children’s children first. We have been disappointed in Governor Lombardo’s lack of leadership.”
FLORIDA GOVERNOR REJECTS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis used a line-item veto to turn down $346 million from the affordable clean energy plan that would have made energy efficiency improvements more accessible to Floridians. Earlier this month, DeSantis vetoed legislation to electrify government vehicle fleets. The bill, which passed both houses in the Florida Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, would have required the state government and local governments to base vehicle purchases on overall cost of ownership rather than fuel efficiency, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
FEDERAL AGENCY CONSIDERS LEASES FOR CONSERVING PUBLIC LANDS: The Bureau of Land Management leases federal land for a variety of uses and, earlier this year, proposed a new rule to allow leases for conserving land. For western states that contain large swaths of federal land, this rulemaking would help achieve state conservation goals. Conservation Colorado has joined other environmental groups in support of the new rule.
CONSERVATION COLORADO TAKE: Conservation Colorado Public Lands Campaign Manager Brien Webster said, “Administrative boundaries [separating state-managed and federally-managed land] are largely artificial when it comes to the concerns of wildlife. This rulemaking is going to provide us the opportunity to restore mule deer habitat in one section and sage grouse habitat in another. In one area, it can help us deal with the impacts of a wildfire that threatens water quality for a local community.”
ALL OF JULY: Disability Pride Month
JULY 15: Start of Latino Conservation Week
AUGUST 16: 1 year anniversary of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act
AUGUST 16: 60th Anniversary of March on Washington
SEPTEMBER 30: Government Funding Expires