“Rage keeps me from tears. Resolve keeps me from despair. We will not allow a future of climate disaster. I believe in the power of the Green New Deal. The power of young people. I am with you. We will not give up.”
– Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) stated in response to news that Senator Joe Manchin would not support climate action in reconciliation bill talks
“We’ve crafted the legislation necessary to avert climate catastrophe. It’s time for you to pass it…Our country is nearing the end of a two-year window that represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass transformative climate policy. The silence on expansive climate justice policy on Capitol Hill this year has been deafening.”
– Over 200 Congressional staffers anonymously wrote in a letter to Democratic members of Congress regarding a climate reconciliation bill.
“We find that the US is on track to reduce emissions 24% to 35% below 2005 levels by 2030, absent any additional policy action. This falls significantly short of the US’s pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.”
– A study by the Rhodium Group released July 14 reads.
“LCW [Latino Conservation Week] was created as a way to support the Latino community getting involved in the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources…We focus a lot on breaking down different barriers of access that our Latino community has historically faced when it comes to being involved in outdoor recreation.”
— Hispanic Access Foundation Conservation Program Manager Jessica Godinez said of Latino Conservation Week.
SENATE CLIMATE TALKS: On Thursday night, Senator Joe Manchin reportedly walked away from supporting climate, clean energy and fair tax measures in the Senate reconciliation deal, a devastating blow to communities and future generations who are counting on bold environmental action to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change.
OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “There truly aren’t words for how appalled, outraged, and disappointed we are. Senator Manchin had every opportunity to stand up for climate, jobs and justice, and save families money when they need it most, but instead he is choosing to stand with polluters. We urge him to reconsider – our children’s future depends on it.”
CALLING ON BIDEN TO END NEW OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS LEASING: Following the news that Senator Joe Manchin has pulled back from climate talks in the Senate reconciliation bill, LCV and Chispa LCV signed onto a joint statement calling on President Biden to use his power to take executive action and direct federal agencies to take action on climate, including by finalizing an offshore drilling plan that offers no new lease sales. Earthjustice, Oceana and the Sierra Club were among other co-signers.
OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: The coalition partners jointly stated, “The unwillingness of Senator Manchin and every single Republican Senator to pass a reconciliation package that includes needed climate action shows that they would rather deliver for the fossil fuel industry than ensure a livable climate for ourselves and future generations. Budget reconciliation is one critical component of President Biden’s bold climate agenda. It’s more important than ever for President Biden and the Department of Interior to finalize a Five-Year Program that contains no new offshore drilling leases. The climate impact of permanently ending new leasing could be the equivalent of taking every car in the country off the road for 15 years. Communities in the Gulf and Alaska see offshore drilling for what it is: a menace to public health, a constant threat to their local economies and livelihoods, and a major driver of the extreme heat, superstorms and flooding that are destroying the places where they live. President Biden must make good on his campaign promises by taking this first major step to put offshore drilling in the past. This is progress his administration can make on its own, and we do not have any more time to waste tackling the climate crisis.”
HOUSE PASSAGE OF NDAA: Also on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2023. LCV commends Chairman Smith and House leaders for taking important steps in this bill to tackle the climate crisis by including critical provisions to protect our public lands, safeguard our clean air and water, and fund climate research and resiliency efforts.
OUR TAKE: Senior Government Affairs Advocate Ben Alexandro said, “The significant funding for cleaning up dangerous PFAS chemicals, along with important reforms to limit air and water pollution, protect military members and their families, and hold polluters accountable, are important victories for the health and safety of all communities. We also applaud the inclusion of provisions to protect millions of acres of public lands — including sections of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, Grand Canyon Protection Act, Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, facilitating protections and cleanup for Texas’ Castner Range, expanding California’s Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, clarifying protections for sensitive landscapes in the California desert, and establishing the Cerro de la Olla Wilderness in New Mexico. These provisions will help communities access parks and public lands, safeguard national treasures and nearby tribal communities from dangerous mining operations, and protect vital ecosystems and wildlife corridors. While the bill takes a step forward on the path to meet the Biden administration’s goal of 30GW of offshore wind by clarifying that wind lease sales can occur off the southeast coast, we are concerned that maritime crewing restrictions in the bill could jeopardize the growth of this vitally important nascent sector in our clean energy future.
As we look to a conference with the Senate, we urge negotiators to preserve critical provisions that invest in healthy and safe communities, tackle climate change, and protect our public lands and waters from Big Polluters in the final package.”
STOPPING THE WILLOW PROJECT: Late on July 8, the Bureau of Land Management released their Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement addressing the implications of ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in America’s Western Arctic. The statement outlines several different scenarios for the project, but no final decision. Last month, LCV launched digital ads in Washington, DC calling for an end to the project due to the massive amount of climate pollution the project would emit. LCV and its members have also sent in comments to the DOI not to approve this massive drilling project in the Western Arctic.
OUR TAKE: Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “We are counting on the Biden administration to undertake a more careful and comprehensive review of this project because every new fossil fuel project–particularly one as massive as this one–makes it that much harder for us to do what we need to truly tackle the climate crisis and protect communities. ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project would lock us into decades more of dirty, dangerous, and costly fossil fuels that despite their lies, would have no impact on gas prices today. The oil lobby knows that the writing is on the wall for a transition to clean energy, and they are working tirelessly to lock-in as much dirty energy as they can in the meantime. We cannot allow ConocoPhillips to destroy this pristine region – which is already warming three times faster than the rest of the world due to climate change – and harm communities while they rake in massive profits at our expense and set back desperately needed climate progress.”
TIGHTENING EPA SOOT STANDARDS: LCV joined over 100 environmental advocacy groups nationwide in calling on the EPA to strengthen its daily and annual soot exposure standards through a jointly-signed letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on Monday. The letter urges the EPA to strengthen its soot standards to the strictest levels identified in the recommended range by an agency advisory committee.
OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: The coalition wrote in the letter, “Millions of Americans are depending on EPA to protect their right to clean air, and we urge you to move quickly to finalize stronger, more protective standards, for both annual and short-term particle pollution…Stronger standards are necessary for righting long-standing environmental and health injustices faced by fenceline communities.”
CONFIRMING DAVID UHLMANN: In another joint statement on Monday, LCV urged the Senate to prioritize confirming David Uhlmann as the EPA’s next enforcement chief, saying that he will help enforce climate rules at the EPA after the Supreme Court’s recent decision to limit the agency’s regulatory options on reducing climate pollution at power plants. Other co-signers include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice and the Environmental Defense Fund.
OUR COLLECTIVE TAKE: Members of the coalition wrote, “As leaders of the largest environmental groups in the United States, we join together to urge the United States Senate to prioritize floor time to confirm David M. Uhlmann to serve as the Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at EPA.”
PROTECTING BRISTOL BAY: The vital waterways of Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska are under threat by the proposed Pebble Mine project. Home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world, Bristol Bay is guarded by Indigenous leaders and is responsible for providing over 15 thousand jobs and $2.2 billion in economic revenue. Yet, if created, Pebble Mine would be the largest mine in all of North America, polluting the Bay and threatening the salmon population. Indigenous communities have been fighting to protect the bay, with over 71% of locals opposing the project and calling for its end. Read the full LCV article about Bristol Bay here.
LATINO CONSERVATION WEEK: Next week, LCV and its Chispa program are celebrating Latino Conservation Week!
CHISPA ARIZONA: Chispa Arizona is hosting a trip to the Grand Canyon, where many community leaders and staff can explore and learn more about the canyon and how it is tied to the place of origin for the Navajo, Hopi, Paiute, and Zuni peoples and holds sacred significance for 11 tribes.
CHISPA NEVADA: Chispa Nevada is ready for the week ahead! Chispa Nevada is kicking off Latino Conservation Week up in Mt. Charleston, where members will get to explore the mountains in Nevada and celebrate the access to open spaces in the community. The celebration continues with the Nevada team and leaders. On July 21st, community members can learn about gardening while conserving water with Chispa Nevada organizers and staff. They will have additional fun activities for all ages, including face painting, coloring, and balloon art.
CHISPA FLORIDA: On July 26th, the Florida team will be hosting a Clean Buses Webinar with support of Forth, inviting school districts to learn more about the EPA’s Clean School Bus program funds. Check out their post for more information here.
CHISPA MARYLAND: Chispa Maryland will celebrate in community at the Wheaton Regional Park from July 16th through the 24th. There will be opportunities to hike, fish, and enjoy the outdoors with families and friends. Check out their post for more information here!
LCV: Our Congressional Champions Project is hosting a Twitter Q&A with champions from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) honoring Latino Conservation Week and lifting up their leadership for equitable access to the outdoors and impacts on Latino communities across the country.
JULY 16-24: Latino Conservation Week
JULY 21: Twitter Q&A With CHC Champs on Latino Conservation Week
JULY 19: Maryland Primary Election
AUGUST 2: Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington Primary Elections
AUGUST 4: Tennessee Primary Election
AUGUST 9: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin Primary Elections
AUGUST 13: Hawaii Primary Elections
AUGUST 16: Alaska and Wyoming Primary Elections
AUGUST 23: Florida Primary Election
SEPTEMBER 13: Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island Primary Elections
SEPTEMBER 20: Massachusetts Primary Election
NOVEMBER 8: Election Day