Mar 15, 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.


“It’s good for red states and it’s good for blue states, but I say what we’re trying to do is make all states green.”

— John Painter, organic dairy farmer from Pennsylvania, during an LCVEF and NSAC roundtable on the benefits of USDA conservation funding for farmers.

“I passed the biggest law in history to combat climate change. Now we’re rebuilding America.”

President Joe Biden speaking on what he has accomplished during his time in office.

“Fast-tracking of oil and gas infrastructure projects threatens neighboring communities, the local environment, endangered species and Tribal sovereignty, and contributes to the climate crisis.”

— Excerpt from a letter written by Senators Merkley, Booker, Warren, Whitehouse, Markey, and Sanders sent to the Army Corps of Engineers urging them to eliminate a permitting system that has been used to fast-track oil and gas pipelines.


PRESIDENT BIDEN RELEASES FY25 BUDGET PROPOSAL: As Congress struggles to pass last year’s budget, President Biden has laid out his vision for the FY25 budget, which includes unprecedented investments in tackling the climate crisis and advancing environmental justice.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “President Biden has made clear once again just how committed he is to advancing a clean energy future, environmental justice, and conservation. The president’s budget includes additional historic investments in a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis and pollution through substantial investments in safe drinking water, zero emissions vehicles, the clean energy workforce, clean air and water enforcement, biodiversity, and more than a billion dollars in environmental justice efforts across the administration.

While extreme MAGA Republicans push for draconian cuts to environmental programs and giveaways to Big Polluters, the Biden-Harris administration wants to end subsidies for Big Oil and make corporations and the wealthy finally pay their fair share in taxes. We commend the Biden-Harris administration’s forward-looking budget.”

BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION RELEASES PLAN TO HELP ELECTRIFY TRUCKING: The Biden-Harris administration released the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, a plan to expand charging infrastructure for zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and help accelerate their adoption.

OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate for Climate & Clean Energy Darien Davis said,  “We applaud the Biden-Harris administration’s launch of the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy to advance the adoption of electric trucks and buses. This whole-of-government approach will ensure that busy freight corridors across the country have the infrastructure needed to support zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Today’s announcement is a major step forward in the movement to tackle climate change and pollution from the transportation sector in every community. We look forward to further actions from the Biden administration that will help to accelerate the manufacture and adoption of zero-emission trucks and buses.”

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Senior Director Estefany Carrasco-González said, “We welcome the National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy as a next step in moving our transportation system closer to zero-emission trucks and buses. As improved sustainable solutions for clean air for all are implemented, especially in Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities dealing with heavy contamination from dirty diesel in their neighborhoods, our frontline communities that deal with the worst air pollution must be engaged at every step of the process to ensure this corridor truly delivers.”

BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION INVESTS OVER $3 BILLION TO HEAL NEIGHBORHOODS CUT BY HIGHWAYS: The Biden-Harris administration will invest over $3 billion to reconnect and rebuild communities that have been divided by previous infrastructure projects in more than 40 states. The projects funded by these grants include constructing new transit routes with pedestrian-friendly features such as bridges, bike lanes, and walkways and will support the administration’s commitment to racial equity and sustainable transportation.

BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION TO INVEST $2 BILLION IN LOW-CARBON MATERIALS: The Biden-Harris Administration has launched the Low Carbon Transportation Materials Program offering reimbursement and incentive funding for cleaner construction materials used in transportation projects.

The program’s first phase will allocate $1.2 billion to states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to support initiatives to reduce pollution and carbon emissions through low-carbon materials. In the second phase, $800 million will be available to cities, Tribes, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and other non-state applicants. The program aims to reduce air pollution and promote sustainable transportation, while building the demand for cleaner U.S. manufacturing of steel, cement, and other materials.


PRESIDENT BIDEN SECURES DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION: President Biden has secured enough delegates for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the November election.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “LCV Action Fund congratulates President Biden for clinching the nomination tonight as expected. The general election is on, and we’re all in to help President Biden win. Elections are about choices, and this one couldn’t be more clear — President Biden has done more than any president in history to address the climate crisis, deliver transformational progress, and transition our nation to a more equitable and just clean energy future. While President Biden will continue to prioritize climate progress at every step, Trump was the most anti-environmental president ever, and by far. The need for four more years of the Biden-Harris administration is clearer than ever.”

NATION’S FIRST COMMERCIAL OFFSHORE WIND PROJECT COMPLETED: New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that construction was completed on the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project, South Fork Wind, on Wednesday. The project is now fully operational, with 12 turbines generating enough clean electricity to power more than 70,000 homes in New York.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “We are thrilled that the US’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project is fully operational. The completion of South Fork Wind is a milestone that supplies New York’s Long Island communities with reliable clean energy while creating good-paying jobs and building on President Biden’s commitment to achieving our climate and emission goals. Offshore wind energy projects like South Fork are an essential part of the clean energy transition that the strong tax incentives of Biden’s clean energy plan are supercharging to address the climate crisis at the scale and pace science and equity require.”

NYLCV TAKE: New York LCV President Julie Tighe said, “Today marks a major step in New York’s transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future with less air pollution choking our communities. After years of planning and countless hours of labor and construction – many of those union hours – South Fork Wind is complete and delivering clean electricity from offshore wind to New York homes and business. We congratulate Governor Hochul, Orsted and Eversource on this remarkable first-in-the-nation achievement. With the governor’s bold climate leadership, and with smart and innovative companies that are committed to developing – and capable of delivering – large-scale renewable energy projects, New York’s clean energy future is bright.”

LCVEF, NSAC HOST CLIMATE-SMART AG EXPO AND ROUNDTABLE: LCVEF and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) hosted a Climate-Smart Ag Expo featuring Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and USDA Under Secretary of of Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, as well as seven farmers from six states who spoke to members of Congress and their staff on the importance of federal funding for conservation and climate-smart agricultural practices. The event took place one day after the USDA announced it will invest $138 million in 138 climate-smart agriculture projects nationwide.

OUR TAKE: LCVEF Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “It’s important to hear from the farmers and ranchers themselves about how these important programs not only benefit them, but also improve water quality and soil health, and increase the resiliency and productivity of our food system. These popular programs are continually oversubscribed, so it is critical to strongly fund them so that every farmer that wants to engage in climate-friendly practices is able to do so.”

NSAC TAKE: NSAC Policy Director Mike Lavender said, “Today’s expo shows exactly why USDA conservation programs are so popular – from supporting livelihoods and productivity to cleaner water and climate mitigation, farmers and ranchers nationwide can realize an array of benefits from implementing climate-smart agriculture practices. That’s why it’s critical to continue to protect the immensely popular climate and conservation funding within the Inflation Reduction Act.”

STABENOW TAKE: Senator Debbie Stabenow said, “Farmers know robust funding for the popular, voluntary conservation practices that were on display today is critical to the future of their farms. The climate crisis is hitting their bottom line, devastating rural communities, and threatening the future of American agriculture. I am committed to protecting this funding and providing farmers and rural communities with the tools they need to confront the climate crisis.”

BONNIE TAKE: USDA Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie said, “We want to make sure producers know, whether they measure their farm in square feet or acres, or they farm in the country or in the middle of the city, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has conservation assistance. Through the historic funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for climate-smart agriculture, USDA is increasing access to its oversubscribed conservation programs, which will help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land. These funds will provide direct climate mitigation benefits and will expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land. We will maximize climate-smart benefits through the funds provided through the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as through our existing farm bill conservation programs, utilizing the latest science, expanded capacity, and coordination with critical and new partners, all the while continuing to advance the voluntary and locally led nature of NRCS conservation assistance. We encourage all who have natural resource concerns, including producers who haven’t worked with us before, to consider applying.”

SENATE HOLDS HEARINGS ON VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION: On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Rules Committee held hearings on a slew of voting rights and election administration issues.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “From MAGA judges rolling back the Voting Rights Act, to MAGA politicians targeting voters of color for voter suppression and gerrymandering, to continued extremist election subversion in service of the Big Lie, our freedom to choose our own leaders and govern ourselves is at risk. We need Congress to answer President Biden’s call in last week’s State of the Union by acting on voting rights. Every eligible voter — no matter their race, language, ability, or zip code — has a fundamental right to make their voice equally heard at the ballot box without undue burden, dilution, or suppression. Congress must stand up for every eligible voter across the country by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and ensuring our state and local election offices have the support they need to serve their communities.”

TIME OFF TO VOTE: Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) led 11 Senators in reintroducing the Time Off to Vote Act, a bill aimed at ensuring every eligible voter is able to exercise their right to vote without fear of lost wages or workplace retaliation.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “The League of Conservation Voters applauds Senator Hirono for reintroducing the Time Off to Vote Act to ensure every eligible voter can exercise their right to vote, regardless of their work schedule and without fear of retaliation or lost wages. To protect our environment and democracy, we need to protect every voter’s freedom to cast their ballot.”

EPA FINALIZES RULE TO REDUCE CANCER RISK FROM TOXIC EMISSIONS: EPA has announced its final rule to cut emissions of ethylene oxide to reduce cancer risks for communities living near commercial sterilization facilities. Thanks to this rule, commercial sterilizers will have to reduce their emissions by more than 90%, meaning cleaner, safer air for communities historically overburdened by pollution.

LCVAF ENDORSES SLOTKIN FOR U.S. SENATE: LCV Action Fund has endorsed Representative Elissa Slotkin for the U.S. Senate race in Michigan.

OUR TAKE: LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Representative Elissa Slotkin has been a leader in protecting our precious clean water, building more resilient infrastructure and a clean energy future for communities across Michigan and the country. LCV Action Fund is thrilled to endorse Representative Elissa Slotkin to continue fighting for clean air and water, clean energy, and good-paying jobs for our communities and future generations.”

MLCV TAKE: Michigan League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “From her leadership on fighting against toxic pollution that threatens our water and health to her advocacy for good-paying clean energy jobs, Representative Elissa Slotkin has put Michigan families first during her time in Congress. Elissa Slotkin knows our water and Great Lakes are part of who we are in Michigan and she will continue fighting to protect our incredible natural resources and our right to clean air and water as our state’s next U.S. Senator.”


PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES STRONG CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD: Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro unveiled a proposal for a new Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard this week requiring 35% of the state’s energy to come from clean sources, including solar and wind, by 2035.

CVPA TAKE: Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Executive Director Molly Parzen said, “Passing this legislation is essential to ensure that Pennsylvania is able to successfully compete for the clean energy jobs of the future. We must not lose momentum as other states and nations lead in growing clean energy industries like wind and solar. We’re calling on swift action from the legislature to make this proposal a reality. An expanded renewable energy standard is particularly critical to seize the momentum generated by President Biden’s affordable clean energy law and will ensure that Pennsylvania is able to leverage its fair share of federal funding to create union jobs installing solar panels, building wind turbines and upgrading our electric grid.”

NEW JERSEY LCV RALLIES FOR 100% CLEAN ENERGY: Environmental groups, public health advocates, labor groups, and justice leaders rallied outside the New Jersey State House on Monday in support of a bill that would direct the state to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035. See New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak’s post on X/Twitter with photos from the rally.

NEW JERSEY LCV TAKE: New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “Enshrining this commitment into law to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035, I believe is one of the most important pieces of legislation we can do to protect the environment and our future.”

UTAH VOTERS FIGHT FOR MAIL-IN VOTING: Utah is one of only a handful of states – and the only red state – that has a universal mail-in-ballot system. Vote-by-mail has strong bipartisan support in Utah and is utilized by the vast majority of voters in the state. This year, the state legislature struck down attempts to weaken mail-in voting despite misinformation spread by far-right conspiracy theorists following the 2020 election, going against the trend in many Republican-led states to restrict ballot access. Rural Utah Project Executive Director TJ Ellerbeck was quoted in an article on Utah’s voting system in support of protecting vote-by-mail.

RURAL UTAH PROJECT TAKE: Rural Utah Project Executive Director TJ Ellerbeck said, “Most average voters in Utah don’t think that there’s anything wrong [with mail-in-voting] that needs to be fixed. The ideas that are put forth by a handful of legislators in states across the country [opposing vote-by-mail] just really don’t reflect what people actually think about our voting system.”

CONSERVATION COLORADO AND U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY ON POLLUTION: Protégete Colorado, a program of Conservation Colorado, Strategic Partnerships Coordinator Rebeca Medrano joined U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on a panel discussing the disproportionate impact of pollution on Latino communities. Medrano stressed the importance of including community members affected by pollution in discussions to develop solutions. Check out Protégete’s Instagram post sharing the news clip from Fox 31 Denver!

CONSERVATION COLORADO TAKE: Protégete Colorado Strategic Partnerships Coordinator Rebeca Medrano said, “I’d like to see more conversations like this happening, but also having actual lived experience at the table. Protégete believes that lived experience is expertise. We do that through our Climate Justice Leadership Academy Program, where we are talking to folks that want to be at these tables, that deserve to be at these tables, that are experiencing the consequences of all of these harms.”

CHISPA MD LOBBY FOR A BETTER FUTURE: On International Women’s Day, grassroots leaders, or promotoras, with Chispa Maryland lobbied state legislators in support of air quality permits and the governor’s budget proposal to allocate $17M for electric school buses. Through training and empowering and amplifying the voices of women community leaders, Chispa MD highlights women’s crucial role in environmental stewardship. Check out Chispa MD’s lobby day post here!


ON THE BLOG: Check out this week’s round-up of Good Climate News on The Power Source Blog!

ON OUR SOCIALS: So basically, the LCV and NSAC Climate-Smart Ag Expo was a huge success, South Fork Wind is fully online, and the GOP is still racist and divisive.


MARCH 18: Light projection art installation at the Department of the Interior celebrating the one year anniversary of Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range national monument designations at 7:45 pm.

MARCH 20: LCV Capital Dinner, featuring Vice President Kamala Harris and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

MARCH 21: One year anniversary of Avi Kwa Ame and Castner Range national monument designations.

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

MARCH 22: World Water Day.