“I started to think about the parallels between climate change and this war and it’s clear that the roots of both these threats to humanity are found in fossil fuels. Burning oil, gas and coal is causing warming and impacts we need to adapt to. And Russia sells these resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries are dependent upon these fossil fuels, they don’t make themselves free of them. This is a fossil fuel war. It’s clear we cannot continue to live this way, it will destroy our civilization.”
— Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist, calling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “fossil fuel war” in a recent Guardian article.
“The only way to protect the United States over the long term is to become energy independent. That is why the president has been so focused on investing in clean energy technologies – so that we can rely on that, and not President Putin, to set the price of gas.”
— Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a recent video breaking down what President Biden’s Russian oil ban means for Americans and how the administration is taking steps to mitigate the pain American families feel at the pump.
“Fortunately, there is a path forward that simultaneously cuts the lifeline to fossil-fuel despots like Putin, stabilizes energy prices here at home, and creates a safer, more sustainable planet. We must wean ourselves off our oil and gas dependence and make transformational investments in cleaner renewable energy technologies, like those in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Build Back Better Act and the Competes Act, and we must do it now. The fossil-fuel industry has had hold of the microphone for far too long. It’s time we let the facts speak for themselves.”
— House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva in an op-ed in which he criticized oil and gas lobbyists for using Ukraine to push for a drilling free-for-all in the U.S.
“Oil and gas companies are certainly not hurting. Can you explain at a time like this why Shell would prioritize payouts to shareholders rather than working to increase our oil supply?”
— Senator Cortez Masto at the most recent Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing, asking why oil and gas companies are using profits to increase payouts to shareholders instead of increasing our domestic oil supply.
WE CAN’T DRILL OUR WAY OUT OF HIGH GAS PRICES: On Tuesday, President Biden announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports as part of measures to toughen the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “The need to ban Russian oil in response to Putin’s unlawful attack on Ukraine is a sobering reminder of why we must end our addiction to fossil fuels. As families suffer from rising gas prices as a result of this conflict, oil and gas CEOs will continue to exploit the situation to enrich themselves. The truth is we can’t drill our way out of high gas prices. The only real solution to high, unreliable energy costs is investing in clean, renewable energy and technologies. Now is the time for transformative investments in clean energy, jobs, and justice. The Senate must move swiftly to pass the comprehensive climate solutions that the House has already passed. Moving to a clean energy economy will provide greater economic stability, lower energy costs, and protect our national and climate security.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT CLEAN ENERGY: As oil and gas companies reap record profits while families shoulder the cost of high gas prices, President Biden, prominent Democrats in Congress, and Democratic Governors are aligned in their push for transformative investments in clean energy, which are key to our country’s security and energy independence. Read the highlights of what we’re hearing from key elected officials on clean energy independence HERE.
GOOD NEWS FOR CLEAN VEHICLES AND TRANSIT: On Monday, the Biden-Harris administration announced continued actions to deliver clean transit, school buses, trucks, and clean air to communities. The proposals included strategies for reducing diesel truck pollution, shifting faster to emissions-free electric transit and school buses and delivery trucks, and distributing funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and regular appropriations for clean, electric buses.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “As international conflict drives up the price of oil, announcements and proposals like these that help end U.S. reliance on dangerous, dirty and unreliable fossil fuels are welcome news. The Biden-Harris administration’s continued actions to deliver clean transit, school buses and trucks are great news for children, families, workers, and the planet, but they must move even more swiftly. We look forward to the EPA strengthening their proposals for the final rule to deliver health-improving pollution reductions and electric trucks and buses faster. We eagerly await the further investments in electric trucks and school buses from President Biden’s infrastructure law and are counting on the Senate to enact the House-passed $555 billion investments in climate, clean energy and environmental justice into law.” For more responses to specific announcements offered on Monday, click HERE.
ANOTHER WIN FOR CLEAN VEHICLES: The Biden-Harris administration reversed part of Trump’s anti-environmental cars policy this week, reaffirming states’ authority to adopt stronger than federal clean vehicle standards.
OUR TAKE: Former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner said, “The Biden-Harris EPA’s decision to restore states’ ability to strengthen clean car standards is especially welcome news as international conflict drives up the price of oil and gasoline. We’re thrilled that Administrator Regan and the Biden-Harris EPA listened to the public and will restore the ability of states to set stronger emissions standards than the federal ones. Comprehensive clean car standards make it possible for states — and in turn, the whole country — to drive down vehicle pollution which unfairly burdens vulnerable communities in high traffic congestion areas, end U.S. reliance on dangerous, dirty and unreliable fossil fuels, and build a more just and equitable clean energy future.” Read more HERE.
AND…EPA PROPOSES EMISSIONS LIMITS AT POWER PLANTS AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES IN 26 STATES: To fulfill their statutory requirement to ensure downwind states are able to achieve or continue to meet federal air quality standards for smog pollution, today the EPA proposed a Federal Implementation Plan for 26 states, requiring fossil fuel-burning power and industrial facilities to cut their smog-forming emissions.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “With this strong proposal to cut smog pollution, EPA Administrator Regan is wrapping up a blockbuster week of actions that will deliver cleaner air to millions of people across the country. The Biden-Harris administration’s impressive proposal requires minimal effort from most facilities, yet would deliver over $15 billion in total public health benefits each year, and prevent over 1,000 premature deaths and a million asthma attacks per year. This commonsense rule underscores the EPA’s important role as a federal backstop when states do not fulfill their responsibilities to protect communities from fossil fuel-burning power and industrial facilities. The huge health benefits of this rule are a critical reminder that we must rapidly transition away from damaging, life-shortening fossil fuels to a clean renewable energy future.”
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SEND MESSAGES OF SUPPORT TO PROTECT AMERICA’S LANDS AND WATERS: The Biden-Harris administration closed the public comment period this week on the proposed American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, a tool that will play a key role in determining how lands and waters are conserved and restored in our country as part of the Administration’s goal of protecting 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030. Throughout the 60-day comment period, LCV members sent thousands of messages in support of ambitious actions to protect our lands and waters. Learn more about the Atlas HERE and read some of the Conservation Voters Movement strong messages of support on our blog HERE.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING BILL PASSES HOUSE AND SENATE: On Thursday, the House and Senate passed the government funding bill that will provide $1.5 trillion to fund the federal government through September 30, with very modest increases for environmental programs over the last year of the Trump administration.
OUR TAKE: Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis said, “This bill will begin to get the country back on track after more than four years of anti-environmental, bare bones funding levels set by the Trump administration and a decade of draconian spending caps. Passing the omnibus is certainly an improvement over a detrimental year-long continuing resolution. This increased funding is a good start and will help agencies better protect people and the planet – but it is critical for a future budget to adequately fund federal agencies to protect access to clean air, clean water, public lands, and implement President Biden’s all-of-government approach to combating the climate crisis and environmental injustice. In addition to providing adequate funding, the Fiscal Year 2023 budget must also finally remove harmful measures that impede agencies’ missions to protect public health and the environment, including bad provisions prohibiting the listing of the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species and forcing EPA to disregard science and treat biomass as a carbon-neutral fuel source.”
ENGEL, LANDSMAN, RYAN, SCHOLTEN, SYKES, AND VASQUEZ FOR CONGRESS: This week, LCV Action Fund, which works to elect pro-environment candidates, announced five endorsements for the U.S. House and one endorsement for the U.S. Senate Read more about the background and impact these pro-environment candidates will make: Kirsten Engel (AZ-06), Greg Landsman (OH-01), Representative Tim Ryan (OH), Hillary Scholten (MI-03), Emilia Sykes (OH-13), and Gabe Vasquez (NM-02).
CHISPA WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH SERIES: This week, Chispa made its first post in a series dedicated to highlighting its female leadership. This series is meant to honor Women’s History Month and spotlight Chispa’s national team, which is made up entirely of women. The posts quote the team on what it means to be a woman of color in the environmental movement and why they are a part of the movement. To view the first post in the series, click HERE.
CHISPA TEXAS LAUNCH: OnTuesday, Chispa Texas officially launched and celebrated with a virtual launch party. The launch featured Chispa National Director Estefany Carrasco, Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo, and music from local artist Bidi Bidi Banda. Elida closed the event by saying, “the issues that we face are great but our hearts are bigger. We are resilient people, and we are going to fight for what is best for our families.” Follow Chispa Texas on Instagram HERE, Twitter HERE, and Facebook HERE.
NEW ENGLAND PULLS THE PLUG ON PROPOSED GAS PLANT: This week, the electrical grid operator, ISO-New England, released the results of the annual auction detailing the region’s future power sources. Notably, this did not include the proposed Killingly gas-fired power plant in what may be a fatal blow to the contentious project. Originally planned to be operational in eastern Connecticut this summer, the project has never broken ground, falling years behind schedule. Last November, the ISO asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to cut its contract with the plant and the request was approved in January. Due to a temporary hold ordered by the U.S. District Court of Appeals, the ISO conducted the auction with two scenarios, with and without Killingly. The power plant owner lost their appeal recently, allowing the ISO to release the final auction results, excluding the gas plant.
CTLCV TAKE: Connecticut LCV Executive Director Lori Brown said, “this was a multi year effort by many advocates. There were marches, hearings, press events, lobby days and protests in all kinds of weather at many locations. The big wins don’t come every day, but this shows that the endurance of advocates can prevail over deep-pocketed industry lobbyists!”
MARYLAND CLIMATE BILL: In Maryland, the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 was passed out of committee and will now head to the Senate floor. The legislation would commit the state to transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2045 through advancing clean energy, electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet, creating net-zero schools, and retrofitting buildings. As the world watches a devastating humanitarian crisis continue to unfold in Ukraine, cities and states across the country face rising gas prices – investing in clean energy will help break our dependence on volatile fossil fuels, provide greater economic stability, and result in cleaner, healthier communities.
BUSINESSES FOR OFFSHORE WIND: New England for Offshore Wind (NE4OSW) – a coalition including all LCV state affiliate organizations in the region – launched a new initiative, Businesses for Offshore Wind, to highlight the role of businesses in advancing the offshore wind industry. Business leaders are an obvious collaborator in the development of an industry that will bring jobs and investments and drive sustainable economic development in the region. As part of the launch, coalition members sent a letter to the six New England Governors calling for deeper collaboration between their administrations, highlighting offshore wind as a critical shared resource to address climate change, grow the economy, and control energy costs.”
NE4OSW TAKE: In a letter sent to New England governors, the Businesses for Offshore Wind founding members stated, “offshore wind is the single biggest lever we can pull to address the climate crisis, meet our energy needs, and grow our economy simultaneously. Harnessing its economic potential could help drive economic growth by creating thousands of jobs, establishing our region as a hub for clean-tech development and deployment, expanding the market for local renewables, and saving ratepayers billions of dollars.”
CHISPA ARIZONA PACK THE ROOM EVENT: This Thursday, Chispa Arizona members showed up to the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to protest a voter-suppression bill that would add unnecessary obstacles to the voter registration process. This event was in partnership with Progress Arizona and provided community members opportunities to testify and text bank as well. To view Chispa Arizona’s Instagram post announcing the event, click HERE.
CHISPA AZ PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS ACTION: This week, Chispa Arizona hosted an email campaign calling on the Arizona House of Representatives to protect the 30×30 plan. This plan would permanently protect the Grand Canyon from Uranium mining as well as preserve habitats in the Great Bend of the Gila. The House is proposing an opposing bill which would undermine these preservation efforts. To view Chispa Arizona’s Instagram post about this action in English, click HERE, and in Spanish, click HERE.
FL GUTS ROOFTOP SOLAR DESPITE OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT: The Florida legislature passed an anti-solar bill to severely curb the main incentive for rooftop solar – net metering. The bill, written by the fossil fuel-driven utility, Florida Power & Light, guts the credit solar owners receive for the electricity they provide to the grid, which the utility then sells to other customers. Net-metering makes rooftop solar affordable by reducing the solar owner’s electricity bills as they’re able to sell the excess energy their panels produce back to the utility. This is an attack on energy freedom, an obstacle to the clean energy transition and a serious threat to the booming rooftop solar industry in the state which generates $18 billion in economic value annually and currently supports 40,000 jobs. Net metering is also popular, a recent poll showed that 84% of Florida voters support net metering and 68% think public utilities should make it easier for customers to install solar on their homes. The legislation is now headed to Governor DeSantis’s desk where opponents hope it will be vetoed.
CHISPA FL SOLAR PHONEBANK: Chispa Florida hosted a phone bank urging Floridians to call Governor DeSantis in opposition to an anti-solar bill described above. To view Chispa Florida’s Instagram post about the event, click HERE.
NYLCV ORGANIZES ART ACTIVATION ON CLIMATE ACTION: In case you missed it, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (NY-52) and Brooklyn neighbors joined the New York League of Conservation Voters Saturday in front of the Brooklyn Public Library to call for government action on climate change from a symbolic podium made of melting ice.
OUR TAKE: Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said “New York State took action and passed the boldest climate legislation in the country and it’s time for the federal government to follow New York’s lead and make transformative investments in climate, jobs and justice – our opportunity to do so is melting away. Moving to a clean energy future is better for public health and clean air, and it does not rely on volatile fossil fuels, which are subject to geopolitical economics.”
MARYLAND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES COMMIT TO CLIMATE ACTION: On Tuesday, ten candidates for Maryland governor participated in a climate forum sponsored by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and other environmental organizations. Candidates laid out their plans for slashing carbon emissions, building mass transit projects, protecting the Chesapeake Bay and improving air quality. Read more about their commitments to climate action HERE.
IN THE FIELD: Across the nation, communities want climate action now. LCV’s field team has knocked on over 522,000 doors and has activated over 31,000 people to advocate for the critical climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act. Over 24,500 businesses are displaying their support for climate action, too.
ALL OF MARCH – Women’s History Month
MARCH 16 – New Jersey League of Conservation Voters hosts green infrastructure webinar with faith communities