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.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“We are mourning. Black people sought and slaughtered in Buffalo. Children and teachers gunned down at a school in Uvalde. Persistent racism and gun violence throughout the nation. And today, we remember George Floyd, who should be alive raising his daughter.”
— Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, addressing the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder and the racism and violence that continue to terrorize our communities
“I don’t have a lot of words today, except to say that there is a concerted effort right now to convince you that ‘nothing can be done.’ It is designed to make you give in to the exhaustion of this moment. Don’t believe it. It’s a lie. We have power if we mobilize it.”
— Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, following the devastating violence at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“I ask my Republican colleagues, what’s more important to you? Your political power or your humanity?”
– Senator Mazie Hirono, expressing frustration over Senate Republicans’ prioritization of politics over the legislative solutions our country desperately needs, especially after the violence at Robb Elementary School this week
“There are two types of people in Washington. The ones who ask, “why didn’t we do something sooner” when it’s too late, and the ones who recognize that we must act now. Wildfires. Record Heat Waves. Drought. The signs are clear for Nevadans. We must act on climate now.”
– Representative Susie Lee, advocating for Congress to act on climate
UVALDE, TEXAS: For the second week in a row, our country has experienced a mass shooting, leaving our communities to cope with overwhelming devastation – we mourn the victims of the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. These patterns of fear and violence will not be broken with inaction, and as an organization that builds political power for people and the planet, we will fight for safe and healthy surroundings for all of our children.
CHISPA TX RESPONSE: In response to the shooting, Program Director of Chispa Texas Elida Castillo said, “Today, we learned of yet another mass shooting, and this one hit closer to home. Multiple children, a teacher, a grandmother, and the gunman are dead, and at least 18 more are injured. Chispa Texas stands in solidarity with our familia in Uvalde, Texas who is suffering an unbearable tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families who were likely making plans for the summer and are now left to plan funerals instead.
We failed our children today. Our politicians should be creating opportunities and putting books in our children’s hands instead of guns. This will not change until we demand better, because our children deserve better. We need to offer our students more than school shooter drills; we need to offer them safe schools and healthy environments in which to learn and grow.
It’s up to Texas leaders to listen to our communities and give them a better future.”
PRIMARIES AND RUNOFF ELECTIONS: On the same day that our country and the Uvalde community faced devastating tragedy, voters went to the polls in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia and Texas – leadership of our country and communities matter. Repeatedly, these awful days are reminders of why we desperately need leaders who will fight against the threats to our children’s lives and work to protect our communities. In Georgia’s 6th District, primary voters have chosen their general election candidate, U.S. Representative Lucy McBath, who, after her son’s murder, vowed to “spend the rest of her life fighting to prevent more parents from the heartbreak of losing a loved one.” Our kids are worth fighting for.
Also in Georgia, LCV Action Fund-endorsed candidates Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and U.S. Representative Nikema Williams won their primaries. In Texas’ 28th Congressional District, it remains too close to call in the Democratic primary runoff between LCV Action Fund-endorsed candidate Jessica Cisneros and her opponent, U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar.
JUSTICE40 WEEK OF ACTION: This week, during the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice 40 Week of Action, they submitted a report to Congress that outlines the administration’s response to and implementation of recommendations of the first-ever White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, rolled out a new website that gathers all of the administration’s environmental justice priorities in one place, announced $500 million for electric and low-emissions school buses, and more.
EPA’S CLEAN SCHOOL BUS PROGRAM LAUNCH: This week the Chispa familia and LCV were proud to join other Alliance for Electric School Buses members in Virginia for the Environmental Protection Agency’s launch of the Clean School Bus Program, funded by President Biden’s infrastructure law. The EPA is making available $500 million in funding to assist school districts with purchasing up to 25 new electric school buses each. Check out our post and learn more about the program here.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
FUEL PRICE GOUGING ADS IN ME, NV, NM: At a time of excessive price gouging by oil and gas companies, Maine Conservation Voters, Nevada Conservation League, and Conservation Voters New Mexico launched a new digital ad campaign on Tuesday to support efforts to drive a clean energy economy in their states. All three states are committed to 100% zero-carbon energy, and recognize the opportunity presented by clean energy to generate jobs, diversify their economies, and fight climate change. Last week, the U.S. House passed legislation to crack down on oil industry price gouging. The bill now moves to the Senate.
MAINE TAKE: Maine Conservation Voters Deputy Director Rani Sheaffer said, “Conservation leaders in Maine’s Legislature understand that the only lasting solution to high, unreliable energy costs is reducing our dependence on foreign oil and investing in clean, renewable energy.”
NEVADA TAKE: Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg said, “Transitioning our state off of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas and investing in renewable energy like solar, wind, and geothermal will diversify Nevada’s economy while creating the next generation of jobs, promote energy independence, and finally fight the effects of climate change.”
NEW MEXICO TAKE: Conservation Voters New Mexico Executive Director Demis Foster said, “As the second largest domestic oil and gas producer, New Mexico needs to lead the way in developing the framework for the transition to an equitable renewable energy economy that supports workers and communities, and provides a path forward to a diverse and thriving economy.”
ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUS BILL PASSES NJ ASSEMBLY: On Thursday, the New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill that would direct the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a program to transition to electric school buses. The bill is now moving to the state Senate for consideration.
NJLCV TAKE: Following the vote, New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak tweeted, “Here at the statehouse for an important bill to get dirty diesel buses off the roads. Passed Assembly, children are one step closer to breathing more freely. Nice work @NJLCV @NJSierraClub @EnvironmentNJ @NJEJAlliance and all those working hard for a healthier environment.”
SNAKE RIVER DAY OF ACTION: In Washington state, four dams on the Snake River threaten salmon populations toward extinction. Through treaties, the United States government has formally promised that salmon populations would remain abundant for Indigenous people that rely on the fish.This week, a coalition of Northwest tribal governments, organizations, businesses and activists came together to call on Congress and the Biden administration to honor these commitments and remove the dams.
VIRGINIA CLEAN ENERGY EVENT: On Thursday, LCV’s Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo joined Virginia LCV, BlueGreen Alliance and IBEW Local 666 for a press conference with Representative Donald McEachin (VA-04) and state Senator Jennifer McClellan to discuss opportunities for federal and state investments in clean energy, especially electric vehicles. Speakers at the event highlighted the urgency for the U.S. Senate to invest $555 billion in climate, jobs and justice, which has already passed in the House.
LCV TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “Real progress is on display right here in this IBEW Local 666 union hall — with highly trained, unionized workers leading in the electrification of our transportation sector underscores what we know to be true — we don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong economy powered by family-sustaining jobs — we can and must have both.”
CHISPA FLORIDA SPLIT OAK FOREST EVENT: Chispa Florida has been fighting the construction of a toll road through Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area outside of Orlando over the past month. If built, the road would threaten wildlife and impact communities around the area. Over the weekend, Chispa Florida held a community picnic at Split Oak to enjoy and learn more about the area. Check out Chispa’s Instagram post about the event here.
HANDS ACROSS THE SAND FLORIDA: On Saturday, Florida LCV and Chispa Florida joined partners and community members at the Hands Across the Sand event at Indian Rocks Beach. Hands Across the Sand is a nation-wide day of action that brings people together to stand up against offshore drilling and other fossil fuel development that threatens our oceans and beaches and support a clean energy future. Check out Chispa Florida’s Instagram post about the event here.
CHISPA ARIZONA COMMUNITY DAY OF ACTION: On Sunday, Chispa Arizona collected signatures for the Arizonans for Fair Elections and Predatory Debt Collection Act ballot initiatives. For more check out their post here.
ALL OF MAY: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
ALL OF JUNE: Pride Month + Immigrant Heritage Month