This Week In Climate Action


Mar 1, 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.


“We’re not going to go backwards on feeding people, and we’re not going to go backwards, by the way, on the climate conservation money that we also have there that is so critical.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow on Republican demands in the ongoing Farm Bill negotiations.

“They have proven time and again that they cannot govern and will do anything in their power to undermine the progress that Democrats and the Biden-Harris administration have made.”

— Representative Jennifer McClellan on the voting records of House Republicans during the LCV 2023 Scorecard Press Conference.

“There is no greater freedom or more fundamental right than the right to vote.”

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the reintroduction of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.


LCV RELEASES 2023 SCORECARD: On Wednesday, LCV released its 2023 National Environmental Scorecard at a virtual press conference featuring Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-DE) and Representative Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04).

WATCH: 2023 Scorecard Press Conference

This year, the Scorecard highlighted how MAGA-led chaos and dysfunction led to gridlock in Congress, in stark contrast with the previous Congress, which successfully passed the largest climate bill in the nation’s history. Read more on The Power Source Blog, and check out the full LCV 2023 National Environmental Scorecard, available online in English and Spanish.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Following the most productive Congress in history for climate action, 2023 was not only the hottest year on record, it was one of the least productive legislative years ever because of MAGA House Republicans’ extreme leadership. The last Congress showed that transformational change that works for both our communities and our planet is possible when our elected leaders come together to pass meaningful legislation that will tackle the climate crisis and environmental injustice. In 2023, the near record number of House votes included underscores that the new House Republican majority did the bidding of Big Polluters and sought to undo the Biden-Harris administration’s historic leadership on climate change. We appreciate our allies in the House who consistently opposed these attacks and, thanks to champions in the Senate and the President’s steadfast leadership, these attempts to undermine the historic affordable clean energy plan were unsuccessful.”

CARPER TAKE: Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said, “The fight to protect our one and only planet has never mattered more – there is no Planet B. All of us have a role to play in cleaning up our air and water, protecting our communities from harmful chemicals, and tackling climate change. The League of Conservation Voters has been a critical partner in this fight for many years — working alongside Congress and highlighting our progress each year. I’m grateful to be recognized for these efforts once again.”

MCCLELLAN TAKE: Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04) said, “For nearly two decades I fought for environmental justice and climate action as a state legislator, passing landmark legislation like the Virginia Clean Economy Act and Environmental Justice Act. Now as the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress, I am building that legacy. I am honored to receive a perfect 100% score on LCV’s 2023 National Environmental Scorecard. I will continue fighting against Republicans’ extreme efforts to roll back our progress and undermine the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic actions. Together, we will continue to build a healthier, more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”

SCORECARD ON SOCIAL: The Scorecard release was all over our socials this week. In addition to uplifting posts from members of Congress who got 100% scores, our very own Senior Government Affairs Advocate Sara Fontes introduced the Scorecard to Instagram viewers, inviting them to check out their members’ scores. We also posted a thread celebrating members of the Tri-Caucus who led on democracy and climate issues in 2023.


DOE TO INVEST IN ENERGY IMPROVEMENT IN REMOTE AND RURAL COMMUNITIES: The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will invest $366 million in 17 energy infrastructure improvement projects in remote and rural areas. The selected projects – which include installation of microgrids, electric vehicle charging stations, and renewable energy generation and storage – will serve 20 states and 30 Tribal nations and communities.

This is one of the first tranches of funding of the Biden administration’s $1 billion Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas program, which aims to support energy infrastructure improvement in communities of up to 10,000 people.

EPA IS CLEANING UP SUPERFUND SITES: EPA has released $1 billion in funding to clean up 110 abandoned hazardous waste sites across the country. This funding is the final installment of the $3.5 billion for Superfund cleanup designated by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. To date, this funding has launched clean-up operations at more than 150 sites listed on Superfund National Priorities List.


JOHN R. LEWIS VOTING RIGHTS ADVANCEMENT ACT REINTRODUCED IN SENATE: Senators Dick Durbin, Rev. Raphael Warnock, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, Laphonza Butler, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer led the reintroduction of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the Senate, which was announced at a press conference on Thursday.

OUR TAKE: LCV Democracy Program Director Justin Kwasa said, “We are thrilled for the reintroduction of this critical bill to protect the freedom to vote for every voter — no matter their race, language, ability, or zip code. Extremist MAGA Republicans have led relentless attacks on Black and brown voters’ right to govern themselves, from far-right Supreme Court Justices gutting the bedrock Voting Rights Act of 1965, to voter suppression measures pushed by extremists at the federal, state, and local levels, to a deadly assault on the United States Capitol.

We cannot have a healthy environment without a democracy that works for every community across our country, especially those who have faced generations of racist voter suppression. We urge Congress to protect our fundamental right to vote from existential threats by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and other crucial voting rights legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act and D.C. Statehood.”

GCV TAKE: Georgia Conservation Voters Executive Director Brionté McCorkle said, “Georgians know our right to vote is precious and must be protected. Representative John Lewis fought all his life to ensure not just some, but all of our voices could be heard. Today, with leaders like Senator Rev. Warnock we can live up to that legacy by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This bill helps ensure everyone has equal access to the ballot so we can elect leaders who will deliver on the issues we care about most.”

LCV also joined a coalition including Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Clean Water Action, The Climate Reality Project, Greenpeace USA, Earthjustice, Interfaith Power & Light, Memphis APRI, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), National Wildlife Federation, Ocean Defense Initiative, PODER, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), WE ACT for Environmental Justice, West End Revitalization Association – Mebane, NC, and Young, Gifted & Green (Formerly Black Millennials 4 Flint) to celebrate the reintroduction.

COALITION TAKE: From the coalition statement, “We are calling on Congress and President Biden to stand up to the extremists who are undermining our nation’s basic freedom to vote by swiftly passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act at the earliest possible opportunity. When everyone’s voices are heard, we can make real progress on addressing the climate crisis, protecting the environment, and advancing justice for all.”

EPA FINALIZES RISK MANAGEMENT PROGRAM RULE: EPA has released their final Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) rule, which updates the Risk Management Program (RMP) rule requiring facilities using hazardous chemicals to prepare for chemical disasters under the Clean Air Act.

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “The Biden-Harris administration has taken an important step to ensure facilities that use extremely hazardous chemicals are working to better prevent, prepare for, and respond to chemical disasters. Today’s updated rule will help frontline communities who bear the brunt of health and environmental impacts caused by chemical disasters by increasing access to information, facilitating more timely notification and emergency response to chemical releases, and pushing more companies to implement safer processes. We applaud the administration for continuing to make progress on addressing issues like this that disproportionately impact environmental justice communities, and we will keep working to make sure that every facility across the nation is required to implement the strongest practices that will protect the health of every community and workers from hazardous and preventable chemical releases.”

EPA TO TAKE COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO EXISTING GAS POWER PLANTS: EPA announced it would delay a final rule limiting carbon emissions from existing methane gas power plants so that it could take a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to reducing emissions from those plants, partly in response to environmental justice groups pointing out that the initial rule didn’t do enough to protect frontline communities. Next month, EPA will finalize carbon pollution standards for existing coal plants and new methane gas plants.

EPA TAKE: EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, “As EPA works towards final standards to cut climate pollution from existing coal and new gas-fired power plants later this spring, the Agency is taking a new, comprehensive approach to cover the entire fleet of natural gas-fired turbines, as well as cover more pollutants including climate, toxic and criteria air pollution.”

LCVVF: 6 THINGS WE WISH WE COULD FORGET ABOUT TRUMP’S RECORD (BUT WON’T): LCV Victory Fund put out a memo detailing six things we wish we could forget about Trump’s record (but won’t), including how he rolled back approximately 100 environmental protections, manipulated climate science and drove scientists out of the administration, used the COVID-19 crisis to justify letting polluters violate the law, disproportionately hurt communities of color, opposed PFAS legislation, and refused to accept the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Read the full memo here.


SOUTH CAROLINA BILL WOULD GIVE UTILITIES “BLANK CHECK” FOR DANGEROUS GAS PLANT: Conservation Voters of South Carolina joined other environmental advocacy groups at the State House to protest H.5118, a bill that would weaken utility oversight and regulation, and fast-track a proposed gas mega-project in Colleton County. H.5118 is similar to legislation passed in 2007 that forced South Carolina ratepayers to foot the $9 billion bill for a failed nuclear power plant, which customers are still paying off nearly two decades later.

CVSC TAKE: Conservation Voters of South Carolina Energy Policy Director John Brooker said, “We’ve been here before. Utilities are selling a joint gas mega-project as a silver bullet to our energy problems. But it is not. This same song was sung in proposals for V.C. Summer that lost $9 Billion of ratepayer funds.”

MICHIGAN REDISTRICTING COMMISSION APPROVES NEW LEGISLATIVE MAPS: Michigan’s independent redistricting commission voted this week to adopt the Motown Sound FC E1 Map. The new legislative map will now go to a three-judge panel for review.

MLCV TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters Democracy for All Director Brooke Harris said, “Michiganders overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 to make drawing legislative districts an open and transparent process done by Michiganders, not politicians behind closed doors. Once again, in drawing new maps, the commission held public hearings and did their work in a way where Michiganders could agree. The Motown Sound E1 Map that was selected by the Commission should be the map moving forward. It’s critical that the maps that we use moving forward are drawn and decided upon by the people of Michigan.”

NEW MEXICO CREATES FUND TO MATCH CRITICAL FEDERAL FUNDING: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation to create a state match fund to allow state, local, and Tribal governments, and other entities in the state, to access federal funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This will increase New Mexico’s competitiveness in federal grant processes and unlock millions of dollars for critical projects. The state budget also allocated $75 million for the NM Match Fund and is awaiting the governor’s signature.

CVNM TAKE: Conservation Voters New Mexico Climate & Energy Director Samantha Kao said, “It’s not every session that you see legislation this impactful, with near unanimous bipartisan support, get signed into law. The NM Match Fund will help unlock millions in once-in-a-generation federal funding to meet the needs of new and existing projects around the state, including renewable energy and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, benefitting our communities in a multitude of ways. The Fund sends the message that New Mexico is poised to maximize federal dollars for a clean energy transition. The $75 million appropriated for the fund in the state’s budget is a major milestone in helping thousands of state and local agencies compete for and take advantage of unprecedented funding at the federal level. We applaud the Governor for signing HB 177 into law and for her ongoing support of this groundbreaking legislation. We also express thanks to the many legislators, including Rep. Dixon, Rep. Armstrong, Rep. Herrera, Senator Campos, and Senator Woods, who championed this policy during the session.”


ON THE BLOG: This week, we published our monthly Top 5, including stories on President Biden’s decision to pause new liquefied methane gas exports, the deployment of electric school buses, offshore wind partnerships in New England, Tom Suozzi’s victory in NY-03, and the magic that happens when of federal policy and local action come together to make clean energy progress. Read the full stories on The Power Source Blog!

ON OUR SOCIALS: In addition to Scorecard content, including this meme depicting what we should all be doing right now, this week, LCV’s social team celebrated Black democracy leaders from our state affiliates, and posted an Instagram reel calling attention to Donald Trump’s… interesting perspective on what it means to be an environmentalist, complete with (windmill? lawn mower? fax machine?) sound effects!


MARCH 5: Super Tuesday

MARCH 7: President Biden’s State of the Union address.

MARCH 8: New government funding deadline for the first six bills.

MARCH 14: LCV’s Climate Smart Ag Expo. Stay tuned for more information!

MARCH 20: LCV Capital Dinner, featuring House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

MARCH 22: New government funding deadline for the second six bills.