“This attempt to declare the Grand Canyon a national monument is very historical because all the tribes once again have come together to unite in one voice and one mission.”
— Carletta Tilousi, Tribal coalition spokesperson and former Havasupai Council member, after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s visit to the Grand Canyon and Havasupai Tribal land.
“A corrupt SCOTUS majority just undid decades of Clean Water Act progress to benefit big polluters. This extremist, far-right activist Court is legislating from the bench. If we’re going to fight back and protect our communities and environment, we have to expand the Court!”
–Representative Rashida Tlaib on the Sackett v. EPA SCOTUS decision, a devastating blow to water protections in our country.
“With carbon emissions posing the number one threat to the health of our planet, we put Minnesota on a path to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. In doing so, we are restoring our state as a leader in fighting climate change and clean energy jobs.”
—Minnesota State Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (D), speaking at a press conference on the state’s historic legislative session, which includes a budget with tens of millions of dollars in targeted investments for clean energy such as electric vehicle tax credits and solar reforms. The budget bill is a huge win for Minnesota’s transition to a just and clean energy future. Minnesota became a Democratic trifecta in last year’s midterm elections.
EJ LEADERS ADVISE PRESIDENT BIDEN AGAINST HARMFUL PERMITTING RIDER IN MUST-PASS DEBT CEILING LEGISLATION: This week, LCV joined as an ally on a letter led by a group of environmental justice leaders urging President Biden to reject House Republican demands to include a harmful permitting rider in must-pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling.
EJ LEADERS TAKE: In the letter to President Biden, environmental justice and allied groups said, “The nation is finally waking up to the plight of environmental justice communities demanding fair treatment after Decades of unequal protection from dangerous environmental pollution. The disparity experienced by communities lacking access to clean water, clean air, and healthy local environments is not random nor coincidental; it is by policy design and its impact is pernicious. Environmental racism crises will continue in communities around the United States until Congress acts to provide communities with the tools and resources to achieve equitable and just outcomes for overburdened and historically marginalized communities. The permitting changes proposed by House Republicans do not provide our country with the tools and resources to achieve environmental justice nor address climate change. The permitting provisions accelerate the climate crisis and environmental racism by railroading more fossil fuels projects through our communities without their consent.”
WHAT THE AFFORDABLE CLEAN ENERGY PLAN MEANS FOR COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY: This week on the Power Source blog, we discuss what implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) affordable clean energy plan means. LCV’s 18-month long nationwide campaign that helped push passage of the bill through Congress last year was only a step to advancing climate action and environmental justice. Since then, alongside our 30+ state affiliates in the Conservation Voters Movement and our partners, LCV has been working to ensure that the affordable clean energy plan is swiftly, effectively, and equitably implemented so that the plan’s real-world benefits make their way to families, businesses, and communities across the country. Read our piece here to learn more about IRA implementation and what’s at stake if our movement doesn’t remain committed to defending and driving this process.
THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS MAINE’S STORM OF THE CENTURY: Maine Conservation Voters’ Senior Director of Policy and Partnerships Kathleen Meil wrote an op-ed this week highlighting how the Mills administration’s four-year climate plan, and the much-needed support at the federal level made possible by the Biden-Harris administration’s clean energy plan, is providing the support Maine needs to fight the climate crisis. Read her entire piece here.
ASIAN AMERICAN, NATIVE HAWAIIAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH READING: The Pacific Remote Islands (PRI) have a rich history and culture and are home to biodiversity hotspots with several unique and endemic species. New on the Power Source blog, this piece celebrates the PRI and the steps being taken to protect this region.
In 2009, the PRI National Monument was established to protect the PRI and its resources. In 2014, President Obama expanded the Monument’s boundaries, but the surrounding waters remain largely unprotected. The Biden-Harris administration, with the support of 23 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island Indigenous leaders, has proposed establishing a nearly 770,000 square mile National Marine Sanctuary to add protections for the region’s unique and pristine marine ecosystems. If finalized as proposed, establishing the sanctuary will accomplish the Biden-Harris administration goals to protect 30% of U.S. waters by 2023.
ACTIVIST TAKE: PRI Coalition member and Hawaiian fisherman William Aila Jr. said, “Now is the time to preserve these islands for our future, and to honor the sacrifices of Native Hawaiians in the past. We are encouraged to see the outpouring of support from so many Pacific Island descendents who answered the call to protect this special region. We know that this wahi pana cannot be protected without their voices and are hopeful that their comments will allow us to protect the PRI for generations to come.”
SUPREME COURT ELIMINATES WATER PROTECTIONS: The Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA puts polluter profits above public health by eliminating clean water protections for most of the country’s wetlands that keep our communities safe from flooding and filter our drinking water.
OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Today the captured Supreme Court once again decided to put the profits of polluters ahead of what’s best for our health and environment. Since the Clean Water Act’s passage, polluters and their allies have tried to undermine the EPA’s ability to protect the waters our families depend on, and now this extremist court has disregarded science, the law, and basic common sense to grant them their wish. By allowing polluters to destroy our critical wetlands and other important waters, this decision will increase flooding and lead to more pollution, jeopardizing the health of our communities, especially the health of communities of color and low-wealth communities who are disproportionately impacted by water pollution. Congress must fix the damage done by this Supreme Court by passing new legislation to safeguard our waters, and to expand and rebalance the Supreme Court.”
CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Director Estefany Carrasco-Gonzalez said, “Everyone, no matter their race, zip code, or income, deserves access to clean water. Clean and healthy waterways are vital for our comunidades, especially Indigenous communities and communities of color who face the greatest burdens from pollution, lack of water infrastructure investment, and environmental injustice. The Supreme Court siding with polluters instead of our families will have broad implications for our ability to protect water for generations to come. Congress must take immediate action to strengthen the Clean Water Act to prioritize the health of people, not the profits of polluters.”
HOUSE PASSES TRUCKS CRA: On Tuesday, the House voted to overturn the EPA’s 2022 rule to limit health-harming heavy-duty truck emissions. President Biden has pledged to veto the resolution. The EPA rule will drastically cut truck emissions over the existing two decades-old standards and improve public health, particularly in communities of color and low wealth communities near busy roadways and freight routes.
OUR TAKE: Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “We are disappointed that all but one House Republican and four House Democrats chose to prop up fossil fuel polluters, enabling their record profits without regard for the millions of asthma attacks and thousands of premature deaths that will be prevented by EPA’s trucks rule. The cleaner trucks rule that House Republicans are trying to overturn doesn’t just cut health-harming pollution, it also provides billions of dollars in yearly public health benefits. LCV will continue to fight against corporate polluters and their allies and work with the Biden-Harris administration and EPA Administrator Regan to strengthen and finalize their recent proposal to cut climate pollution from trucks.”
SECRETARY HAALAND VISITS PROPOSED BAAJ NWAAVJO I’TAH KUKVENI GRAND CANYON NATIONAL MONUMENT: This week, Interior Secretary Haaland visited the greater Grand Canyon watershed, which is home to tribal-led conservation efforts.
OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director America Fitzpatrick said, “Secretary Haaland’s visit builds on the decades of Tribally-led efforts to strengthen protections for the cultural, ecological, and recreational resources in the Grand Canyon region. LCV appreciates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to locally-led conservation and urges President Biden to move quickly to protect the greater Grand Canyon watershed.”
CHISPA TAKE: Chispa AZ Advocacy Deputy Director Vania Guevara said, “We commend Secretary Haaland for her visit to the Grand Canyon, which builds on Tribally-led efforts to protect this cherished region. A national monument designation would secure the ecological integrity of the Colorado River watershed, support endangered wildlife, and advance climate justice for frontline communities. Chispa Arizona urges President Biden to prioritize the protection of the Grand Canyon.”
SENATE EPW CHAIR TOM CARPER ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT: Senator Tom Carper of Delaware announced this week that he will not be running for reelection. Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Senator Carper has been a champion for environmental protections and climate action.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We are so grateful to Chair Carper for his tireless leadership. As both Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Carper has been a leading voice for clean air and water and for addressing the climate crisis for his home state of Delaware, the country, and the planet.
He has championed the life-saving benefits of the Clean Air Act and led the charge against congressional and administrative attacks on our bedrock environment laws and climate progress, including playing a pivotal role in the passage of the most significant climate legislation in history, the Inflation Reduction Act, and Senate ratification of the Kigali Amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). He has held countless polluters and their allies accountable, perhaps none more notorious than Scott Pruitt, whom Carper put the spotlight on when Pruitt served as EPA administrator during the Trump administration.
As he said this morning, Senator Carper still has ‘miles to go,’ and we look forward to his continued leadership as EPW Chair for the remainder of this Congress.”
MEMO: LCV STATE PARTNERS ARE FIGHTING TO STRENGTHEN OUR DEMOCRACY: As state legislative sessions close, LCV and its state affiliates, collectively called the Conservation Voters Movement (CVM), are continuing to prioritize the fight to strengthen our democracy for all communities across the country. This year, LCV announced an initial half-million dollar investment in key states to advance state policies that promote an equitable and just democracy and defend against anti-democracy legislation. The investments that LCV’s state affiliates are making are critical for the health and safety of all communities, especially those historically excluded from the electoral process who are also most impacted by the climate crisis, pollution, continued systemic racism and voter suppression. Read more here about the most important initiatives states in the CVM are fighting for this legislative session to expand access to voting, protect voting rights, and fight voter suppression and attacks on ballot initiatives. States are working to:
CLEAN ENERGY CHAMPIONS WIN ALASKA UTILITY BOARD RACES: Last Friday, customers of Chugach Electric Association – Alaska’s largest electrical utility – turned out in record-breaking numbers and elected two candidates endorsed by the Alaska Center to serve on the utility’s board of directors. Both newly-elected board members ran on campaigns centered on renewable energy.
AK CENTER TAKE: Chantal De Alcuaz, Co-Executive Director at The Alaska Center said, “This year’s Chugach Electric Association utility board elections demonstrate that ratepayers want decisive, urgent action to add more clean energy to the grid. We are elated by the election of two of our endorsed candidates to the Board of Directors and we hope the entire Board of Directors will honor the message of its member-owners: address the climate crisis, capitalize on unprecedented federal funding opportunities, and expand low-cost renewable power generation options. We are equally excited about the tremendous voter turnout in this election. At The Alaska Center we believe that every Alaskan should have a voice in deciding their leadership; be it state, local or utility cooperative. The record-breaking turnout shows a growing wave of people invested in the transparency and direction of the utility cooperatives producing their energy.”
LEGISLATORS AND ADVOCATES PLAN FOR MICHIGAN’S CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: On Tuesday, Michigan LCV joined state lawmakers at a press conference in support of the Clean Energy Future Plan – a comprehensive bill package introduced by Michigan senate Democrats in April that includes legislation to transition to 100% clean energy by 2035. Legislators who spoke at the event reiterated that climate action is a top priority and highlighted other key pieces in the package including decarbonizing buildings, growing a renewable energy workforce and expanding the scope of the Michigan Public Service Commission to consider affordability, reliability and climate impacts in utility regulation. This is especially relevant after ice storms left hundreds of thousands of Michigan customers without power for days earlier this spring. The conference also elevated the importance of taking advantage of federal funding opportunities provided by the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Read more about the event from Michigan LCV here.
MLCV TAKE: In his remarks at Tuesday’s press conference, Michigan League of Conservation Voters West Michigan regional coordinator Wesley Watson said, “Michigan has an opportunity like never before to invest in its citizens, protect its air and water, create jobs and tackle issues of climate change and environmental justice…Taking action on climate change is truly a kitchen table issue. It means upgrades across the state, especially in low-income communities, lowering costs, putting money back in people’s pockets and reducing energy usage to lower costs for families, creating good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. It means protecting our health and protecting our future for all of us, regardless of income, or regardless of zip code.”
CREATING A CLIMATE ROADMAP IN CONNECTICUT: Connecticut LCV hosted a lobby day and press conference at the state capitol Wednesday with partner organizations and turned out over 50 community members to advocate for their priority climate legislation. The state legislature is considering a bill to create a decarbonization roadmap and establish sector-specific emissions reductions targets, as well as declare a climate crisis. This is critical to get Connecticut on track to meet its climate goals and enact its 100% clean energy commitment passed last year. The state is also considering legislation to strengthen its environmental justice regulations. Read CTLCV’s statement on these priority bills here.
ALL OF MAY: Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
ALL OF MAY: Jewish American Heritage Month
ALL OF MAY: Asthma Awareness Month