QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“The Squaxin Island Tribe – the People of the Water – is pleased that the EPA recognizes our capacity and commitment to implement water quality standards and certification programs. As stewards of the waters within our jurisdiction, we greatly appreciate this first step toward developing water quality standards that will protect the Tribe’s cultural and economic well-being and support sustainable fisheries.”
–Kris Peters, chairman of the Squaxin Island Tribe commenting on being granted authority to manage and protect all surface waters within its reservation and trust lands by the EPA under the Clean Water Act.
“People tell us that they are suffering without access to breathable air. Every summer we know this is coming and nothing changes.”
–Julia Solomons, senior policy social worker at Bronx Defenders, a public defender nonprofit, speaking about a recent study that is one of the first to link the climate crisis and prison mortality. The study examined deaths in both state-run and privately run prisons during the summer months, and found that increased temperatures were linked to an increase in deaths.
“[Norfolk Southern] won’t do anything to address the people’s concerns, to address legitimate problems. They have such a cavalier attitude: ‘This is our track, our business.’ It’s discomfiting to know that anything can happen, with practically no repercussions. You can live your own life as clean as you want, but these guys can destroy everything you’ve done to keep it clean for yourself.”
– Ron Stidmon, a garlic farmer in lamenting the neglect from the Southern railroad company in addressing people’s safety and the community’s recovery from the February 3rd derailment. The derailment continues to concern residents from communities in Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.
2022 SCORECARD ANALYZES BEST YEAR EVER FOR CLIMATE ACTION: On Tuesday, LCV released the 2022 National Environmental Scorecard at a virtual press conference with Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (MI), Representative Joe Neguse (CO-02), and Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14). The Scorecard has been the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress since 1970. LCV also analyzes the leadership of the Tri-Caucus in the Scorecard, whose overwhelmingly high scores and leadership have been crucial to advancing environmental and democracy policy solutions. This leadership, featured in the Champions Of Color Leading The Way section, are also highlighted in this thread. Find our Scorecard and check out a recording of the press conference here.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “What a year of historic progress! In 2022, pro-environment majorities in the House and Senate showed the world what’s possible when leaders are committed to delivering the action on climate, clean energy, jobs and justice voters demand. In a year that saw more suffering from the climate crisis and more pain at the pump as oil and gas companies raised energy costs, environmental champions in Congress took transformative climate action to begin to insulate the U.S. from volatile fossil fuel prices and build an affordable clean energy future. This year, we are all in to support the swift, effective, and equitable implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, work with champions in Congress to continue to fight for popular action on climate and environmental justice and block attempts to roll back environmental safeguards, and support the Biden-Harris administration’s finalization of critical health and climate protections across the agencies.”
$250 MILLION TO FUND INNOVATIVE PROJECTS TACKLING CLIMATE POLLUTION: This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the availability of $250 million for grants to states, local governments, Tribes, and territories to help develop innovative strategies to cut climate pollution and build a clean energy economy. These important investments are made through the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants program created in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, and are an important step forward in eliminatingelimating environmental injustice and helping to ensure everyone has access to clean air and a safe, clean energy future. , which are the first tranche of funding made possible by the $5 billion Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG) program created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, are transformational investments for the states, local governments, Tribes, and territories working to protect people from pollution and advance environmental justice.
EPA TAKE: EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “We know that tackling the climate crisis demands a sense of urgency to protect people and the planet. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act is a historic opportunity to provide communities across the country with the resources they need to protect people from harmful climate pollution and improve our economy. These Climate Pollution Reduction Grants are an important first step to equip communities with the resources to create innovative strategies that reduce climate emissions and drive benefits across the country.”
HOUSE PASSES ANTI-ESG CRA; PRO-POLLUTER COMMITTEE ACTIVITY: This week, in a litany of activity, the Republican-led House attempted to undermine our environmental and public health safeguards and increase the country’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels, which included passing a Congressional Review Act resolution that puts retirement savings at greater risk. LCV and the Environmental Defense Fund led a coalition letter to representatives in opposition to this harmful measure.
OUR TAKE: Federal Advocacy Campaigns Director Leah Donahey said, “Republicans prop up big polluters at their own peril. Rather than delivering for their constituents who deserve clean water, a healthy future, and the freedom to decide where to invest their hard-earned retirement savings, this anti-environment House majority is captive to their Big Oil donors and MAGA extremists. House Republicans are completely out of touch with the vast majority of voters who support affordable clean energy and want stronger public health safeguards for their families.
If any of the pro-polluter legislation that came up in the House T&I, Natural Resources, and E&C Committees today were to be signed into law, it would exacerbate the climate crisis, perpetuate environmental racism, jeopardize our clean water, and undermine U.S. economic and national security by prolonging reliance on dirty, dangerous, and volatile fossil fuels. It is also disgraceful that Republicans are using their slim majority to try to take away retirees’ freedom to invest their life savings where they choose, and to consider all types of financial risks, including climate risks. We appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s strong Statement of Administration Policy pledge to veto the anti-ESG resolution and expect the Senate to protect people’s retirement savings and reject the dangerous Congressional Review Act resolution first.
On the heels of today’s release of our 2022 National Environmental Scorecard, the contrast of this extreme pro-polluter House activity with the historically productive second session of the 117th Congress that delivered the popular affordable clean energy plan could not be starker.”
FOLLOWING HOUSE PASSAGE, SENATE PASSES CRA: The slim Senate passage of the Congressional Review Act resolution will prolong our reliance on dirty, fossil fuels and put retirement savings at greater risk.
OUR TAKE: Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “This attack on our retirement savings is a favor for Republicans’ Big Oil donors at the expense of hardworking people. As the popular, affordable clean energy future takes hold, fossil fuels are getting beat in the free market fair and square. Today’s Senate vote is another desperate attempt to prolong reliance on dirty, dangerous, volatile fossil fuels by forcing retirement plan managers to disregard financial risks that don’t match Republicans’ worldview, like those from climate change. This same approach is already causing financial harm in Red states that have tied the hands of asset managers across the country – Republicans block responsible investing at their own peril. We look forward to President Biden’s veto of this harmful Congressional Review Act resolution.”
PROGRESS REPORT ON STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY AND PROMOTING VOTING ACCESS: In honor of the two-year anniversary of President Biden’s Executive Order Promoting Access to Voting and the 58th anniversary of Selma, this week a coalition of 53 organizations released the report Strengthening Democracy: A Progress Report on Federal Agency Action to Promote Access to Voting. This progress report involved a diverse coalition of organizations – including voting, health, immigration, faith, labor, environmental, education, housing, justice reform, and other groups – and evaluated 10 key agencies on how well they are meeting the goals of the Executive Order. While a few federal agencies are on the right track to implementation, the report shows that several others have fallen behind and risk not achieving the Voting Access Executive Orders’ potential before the end of 2024. Read more here.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS LEAD LETTER URGING STRONG EMISSIONS STANDARDS: On Wednesday, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-07) and Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Alex Padilla (D-CA), sent a letter with 54 of their colleagues to the EPA Administrator Michael Regan, urging the agency to swiftly issue new proposed rules for light- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards for model year 2027 and beyond. These rules are critical for the U.S. to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and protect environmental justice communities.
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Advocate for Climate and Clean Energy Darien Davis said, “Now that historic investments in electric vehicles have jumpstarted transportation decarbonization, strong cars and trucks regulations are needed to finish the job. We applaud these members of Congress for urging the Biden-Harris administration to enact the most stringent vehicle standards possible to deliver on our shared clean air and climate goals.”
LETTER: OPPOSING BUILDER ACT: This week, LCV joined a letter strongly opposing the BUILDER Act. The bill would vastly weaken NEPA, which serves as a fundamental way to ensure communities have a say in the federal democratic processes in the permitting process. Read the full letter here.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
ORANGE COUNTY FLORIDA PUBLIC SCHOOLS ROLL OUT OUT FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS FLEET IN THE STATE: In a pilot program, Orange County is testing the effectiveness of an all-electric bus fleet. Learn more about Florida’s first electric-bus pilot program here and check out Chispa Florida’s post here.
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH COMMUNITY IN FLORIDA: This week Chispa Florida joined Twice as Good and Women Encouraging Women to celebrate Black History month with a community movie night uplifting the story of Malcom X. Check out Chispa Florida’s post here.
WEEK OF MARCH 6: Conservation Voter Movement Fly-in
MARCH 6: Environmental Justice Day
MARCH 7: 50th Anniversary of March on Selma
MARCH 8: International Women’s Day
MID MARCH: Keep an eye out for LCV’s new website!
ALL OF MARCH: Women’s History Month