“This area is very important to our tribe, a lot of resources and really special areas for us going back millennia. There’s a lot of things to protect up there. To hear people say the name, it’s a good feeling.”
— Leland Kinter, treasurer of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, speaking about the push for President Biden to incorporate Molok Luyuk into the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.
“If we want to make sure people in this country are safe, we need to make sure they aren’t breathing smog, or drinking contaminated water, or being exposed to chemicals like PFAS… we need to make sure we are cutting down on pollution, not cutting funding.“
— Chair Patty Murray discussing the need to tackle the critical issues that are threatening our environment, our economy, and our communities, and the importance of getting the EPA the resources it needs to keep our country safe and healthy.
“To see real, true environmental justice, we need all forms of justice. We would need to think about economic justice, employment, housing justice and affordability, and educational justice and making sure these resources are equitable.”
— Kate Jackson, professor in Lehigh’s College of Health, commenting on the importance of environmental justice initiatives in nearby South Side Bethlehem. South Side Bethlehem qualifies as an “environmental justice community” because it is more exposed to environmental hazards.
ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER MONTH READING: May is Asian American Pacific Islander Month. In “Asian American Pacific Islanders in the Environmental Movement: Rhymes, refractions, and reflections,” an essay published in the Sierra Club’s magazine, Aparna Rajagopal brings together a constellation of stories from various AAPI individuals to talk about their myriad experiences in the environmental movement. Read the full piece here.
APARNA RAJAGOPAL TAKE: Aparna Rajagopal said, “ ‘AAPI’ is not the only label with which we have a tenuous relationship. The term environmentalist doesn’t resonate for most of us, and in fact the environmental movement has actually harmed some of our communities. Through Jack, I learned that the modern environmental movement was born from the primarily white antiwar movement, which spun off from the civil rights movement in the 1960s as the “white flight of social movements” during deteriorating race relations. Helena reminded me of another troubling piece of history, that of environmentalists using the planet’s carrying capacity as an alarm bell to justify coercive reproductive practices that have negatively impacted marginalized communities. Former Sierra Club board president Allison has to hold the tension of identifying strongly as an environmentalist but also acknowledging its complex colonial legacy.”
SENATE PASSES RESOLUTION ON SOLAR TARIFFS: On Wednesday, the Senate passed S.J. Res 15, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution which aims to end the pause on tariffs for solar components imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
OUR TAKE: Government Affairs Advocate Art Terrazas said, “Unfortunately, this bill could slow down efforts to speed the production and deployment of solar panels, creation of family-supporting solar construction jobs, and getting closer to achieving our climate goals. We thank President Biden for his commitment to veto this bill. Right now we need to be focused on implementing the Biden-Harris administration’s affordable clean energy plan, which is already shifting our country to cleaner and fairer supply chains, creating jobs and supporting the rapid deployment of clean energy that will lower energy costs, create healthier communities and meet the urgency of the climate crisis.”
RETIREMENT OF CLIMATE ACTION CHAMPION SENATOR BEN CARDIN: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) announced on Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2024. Senator Cardin has been an environmental champion for over five decades and will be sorely missed.
OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Senator Ben Cardin has been a tireless advocate for climate action, clean water for all and protecting the iconic Chesapeake Bay. Marylanders and all Americans are better off for his service to our country, especially his tenure on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. With an impressive 93% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, Senator Cardin leaves a tremendous legacy of fighting for a healthy environment and a healthy democracy and the Old Line State’s next U.S. Senator must continue his commitment to a sustainable future for all Maryland families. We look forward to working with Senator Cardin for the rest of this Congress to ensure we are improving our water infrastructure, implementing the historic climate investments of the Inflation Reduction Act he helped pass, and more.”
NEW YORK PASSES BUDGET THAT TAKES ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: New York Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature passed New York’s FY24 state budget this week, which takes action on climate change by including a commitment to zero-emission buildings and our country’s clean energy transition. Read NYLCV’s full statement here.
MAY 10TH: Dia de Las Madres
MAY 14: Mother’s Day