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This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – NOVEMBER 12, 2021

Nov 12, 2021

Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230

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 and Twitter.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“We’re not just somebody to look at…You’re talking about our land, you’re talking about our water, you’re talking about our trees for carbon offsetting … you should be talking to the Indigenous people, because that’s whose land it is.”

— Chief Judy Wilson of Neskonlith Indian Band, speaking to CNN on the exclusion of Indigenous voices at COP26, ‘We’re not just somebody to look at.’ Sidelined groups complain of racial tokenism at COP26 climate talks.”

“You can’t relocate your grandparents’ graves. You can’t relocate your ancient sacred sites. You can’t adapt to the places that are lost due to climate change. This past year, when I was forced to watch our sitka, our salmon dying in our streams of heatstroke, it was heartbreaking.”

— Ruth Miller, a climate youth activist who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, speaking on their experience in Glasgow in an NPR interview, “Indigenous activists say the legacy of colonialism has limited their access to COP-26.”

“For me and basically everyone I know, it’s just normal not to drink the water.”

— Toya Lampkin, who has felt for decades that Jackson’s water wasn’t safe, stating that she doesn’t let her children drink tap water and relies on bottled water to live in a Washington Post article, “‘Nobody should have to live like this’: Black residents hope infrastructure bill will fix city’s water woes — if state allows it.”

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Yahoo News: Congress passes Biden infrastructure plan, the largest climate change investment in U.S. history
E&E News: Democrats cheer reconciliation vote, but big fights remain
Politico: Morning Energy: The House in Scotland

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

LCV’s affiliates are hard at work protecting the environment and fighting climate change in the states. Here’s what people are reading across the country:

Orlando Sentinel (FL): What’s at stake for socially disadvantaged communities in the redistricting process in Florida?
Vail Daily (CO): Statewide report identifies economic, environmental concerns as top priorities among Colorado Latinos
The Denver Channel (TX): How do wind farms change small towns?
Orlando Sentinel (FL): Build Back Better Act would help in climate crisis | Commentary
The Nevada Independent (NV): Minority communities fear redistricting overlook: ‘You can’t ignore us’
Daily Montanan (MT): Environmental groups, tribes sue DEQ for lack of ‘bad actor’ enforcement against mining company
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY): NYC school bus electrification legislation becomes law
KXLF (MT): Build Back Better Plan effect could spend money on wildfire mitigation
Colorado Newsline (CO): Colorado to receive billions from infrastructure bill for climate-resiliency projects
Spectrum News 1 (NY): Conservation groups: Make it easier to buy an electric car in New York
Insider NJ (NJ): New Jersey Senate Committee Passes Bill to Save Appliance-Users Money and Reduce Pollution

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HONORING INDIGENOUS VOICES: Ahead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October, LCV state affiliate The Alaska Center, Native Peoples Action, and Cup’ik Indigenous activist, Sophie Swope, unveiled a video, “Inextricably linked to this land: Our Home. Our future. Our Alaska,” which was projected onto a 9,000 pound ice sculpture of a salmon jumping out of water to highlight how the climate crisis is impacting Indigenous Alaskan communities. As we have seen from the exclusion of Indigenous people in sessions at COP 26 and testimonies from around the world, it’s past time to listen to the voices of Indigenous peoples to address the climate crisis and environmental injustices.

A BIF DEAL PASSES!: Late on Friday evening, the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (to be signed by President Biden on Monday) and advanced the rule for the Build Back Better Act, bringing the Build Back Better Act one step closer to becoming law. Now, it’s time for Congress to finish the job and pass the Build Back Better Act. Our communities, especially the communities of color and communities with low wealth, are seeing the impacts of the climate crisis now — Congress can no longer wait to make once-in-a-generation investments to address environmental injustices and cut pollution in half by 2030. Read LCV’s full statement HERE, and see our memo highlighting climate priorities in the Build Back Better Act HERE.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld stated, “While today was not the historic day we hoped it would be, the House made important progress by passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in tandem with the rule to advance the Build Back Better Act. We are now one step closer to passing the transformational climate and justice bill we need, the Build Back Better Act, and we expect all Democrats to support its passage…Now it’s time to finish the job, pass the Build Back Better Act and quickly get it to the president’s desk. We are out of time to tackle the climate crisis — Congress must seize this historic opportunity to make the investments needed to put the U.S. on track to cut climate pollution in half by 2030, create good jobs, and advance justice.”

MEMBERS REPORT BACK FROM COP26: Fresh off of their trip to Glasgow for COP26, which concludes tomorrow and has included a number of multilateral climate announcements, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor, Representative Sean Casten, and Representative Joe Neguse joined LCV and Climate Power today for a virtual press conference about the urgency and importance of meeting the goal of cutting climate pollution in half by 2030 by passing the Build Back Better Act. Last week, the House came together to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and a rule to advance the Build Back Better Act — it’s time for Congress to finish the job and deliver on this once-in-a-generation opportunity for climate and environmental justice investments that will create good-paying jobs, reduce costs for families, and slash pollution, especially in the communities that have historically been left behind. Watch a recording from the event HERE.

CHAIR CASTOR TAKE: House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor stated, “We are committed to doing the hard work necessary to Build Back Better. That’s why we have worked for many months, actually several years, to hammer out those pathways for a clean energy future. It’s one where consumers and families will save money on their electric bills, it will create millions of jobs across America. This next step on Build Back Better that we intend to pass next week is absolutely vital. It is the hallmark of us being able to deliver on President Biden’s pledge to cut pollution by 50% by 2030.”

REPRESENTATIVE NEGUSE TAKE: Representative Joe Neguse stated, “The time to do something is right now and the solution is a clear one: It is passing the Build Back Better Act, which we certainly intend to do in the coming days in the House, and we trust in our colleagues in the Senate will recognize the urgency of the moment and do the same. When we are able to get that across the finish line, we will have secured over a trillion dollars in climate investments, a transformational investment in our country’s history, and one that ultimately, I believe, will meet the moment as we do our part to save our planet.”

REPRESENTATIVE CASTEN TAKE: Representative Sean Casten stated, “The way that we say not only is the United States focused on what is scientifically necessary but we actually deserve to be in a position of leadership. Because we are going to show not by our words but by our feet that we are committed to this. The way that we do that is by passing the Build Back Better Act. And we will then be at a point where we can look ourselves in the eye, much as the rest of the world is looking themselves in the eye after COP, and say that we in the US have now made the single biggest commitment to tackling climate change in our history.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfield said, “We can and we must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity for climate, jobs, and justice. And when we do, when the Build Back Better Act becomes law, in the years ahead we’ll save $500 a year on energy bills, send our kids off to school in clean electric school buses, drive affordable electric cars, breathe clean, healthy air, suffer less from health problems caused by polluted air and water, and stave off even more devastating, costly extreme weather and other catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis.”

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Chair of Center for American Progress & co-founder of Climate Power John Podesta stated, “The stakes couldn’t be higher for our planet. We have the opportunity to get this right, we need to deliver the promise of a habitable world, our voters and our future are demanding it and we are demanding it. We need to finish the job.”

ADS TO FINISH THE JOB & BUILD BACK BETTER!: This week, LCV and Climate Power launched new digital ads calling on Representatives Ed Case, Stephanie Murphy, Kathleen Rice, and Kurt Schrader to deliver on their pledge to pass the Build Back Better Act with historic and transformative investments in climate, jobs, and justice by the week of November 15. In addition to the new digital ads, LCV, Climate Power and the NRDC Action Fund are continuing to run the “Delivering” TV ad in 10 key House districts. The ad thanks the members for fighting for good paying jobs, lower utilities, and climate action for their constituents and urges them to pass the Build Back Better Act and get this done.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith stated,  “Passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was only step one — now it’s time for Congress to finish the job, pass the Build Back Better Act, and put the U.S. on track to cut our climate pollution in half by 2030. This overwhelmingly popular bill is Congress’ opportunity to save their constituents $500 a year on their energy bills, create good-paying union jobs, and build a healthy, more equitable clean energy future, all while slowing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.”

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes stated, “A vote against the Build Back Better Act will be a vote against climate action, job opportunities, environmental justice, and the future of our nation. Every week we delay is another week where communities are suffering from extreme droughts, devastating wildfires and unprecedented storms. Communities of color on the frontlines are still plagued by toxic pollution and waiting for something to be done. Congress needs to finish the job by passing the Build Back Better Act the week of November 15 to deliver for the American people.”

NRDC ACTION FUND TAKE: NRDC Action Fund Executive Director Kevin S. Curtis stated, “This is it. The Build Back Better Act is a chance to secure a brighter future for generations to come, and an opportunity like this won’t come around again anytime soon. Now is the moment to act, to show leadership and to do the right thing for our children and grandchildren.”

BIDEN IN BALTIMORE: On Wednesday, President Biden was in Baltimore highlighting the infrastructure investments that passed through Congress. In response, LCV launched an ad campaign in the Baltimore area to tell President Biden to “finish the job” and get the Build Back Better Act passed. The ads emphasize the importance that both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act be passed in tandem in order to ensure record investments to combat the climate crisis.

NEW MONUMENTAL NOMINATION!: This week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it is seeking public comment for the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California, which was nominated by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council in 2015 and would be the first tribally nominated sanctuary. The area is ecologically and culturally rich, and includes now submerged villages where Chumash ancestors were laid to rest. Protecting these sacred lands and waters is critical to California’s coastal biodiversity and cultural preservation of Chumash heritage.

INTERIOR SECRETARY TAKE: Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stated, “This proposal demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to lifting up community-led efforts to conserve our lands and waters and strengthen our economy. Local voices, Indigenous knowledge, and collaborative stewardship will be integral to our efforts to bolster community resilience, protect our natural resources, and build a clean energy economy.”

CEQ CHAIR TAKE: White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory stated, “The recent oil spill in California is a costly and harmful reminder that we need to do more to protect our coastal communities from the threats that our ocean is facing. The Chumash Heritage sanctuary proposal and the Morro Bay wind energy area provide an opportunity for communities to help shape how we both protect the region’s extraordinary marine and cultural resources and harness the ocean’s clean energy potential.”

NOAA TAKE: NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. stated, “The proposed sanctuary will recognize and preserve Chumash tribal heritage, protect the area’s rich biodiversity, and build resilience to changing ocean conditions. This special section of coast supports a way of life for many communities that rely on commercial fishing and enjoy recreational fishing, kayaking, surfing, diving, and wildlife watching. NOAA heard strong support from tribal leaders, a diverse set of groups, state officials, and several members of the California congressional delegation for moving forward with this proposed national marine sanctuary.”

CLIMATE MIGRANTS FACE CONTINUED ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE: This week, Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez spoke with NowThis, connecting how migrants who are already fleeing the impacts of the climate crisis and pollution in their home countries continue to face environmental injustices in the U.S. Communities of color and communities with low wealth see the impacts of the climate crisis every day, from extreme weather, to polluted air and water, to astronomically high utility bills.

CHISPA TAKE: Chispa National Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez stated, “We also see it in low-income communities where, because it’s so hot, your electricity bill, your utility bill through the summer where it’s 120 degrees — and you have a family of five, and you’re making $30,000 a year, and your electric bill is $700 to $1,000. It’s insane, and it’s something that should not be happening, but that also makes us think about where we are in terms of clean energy and where we should be moving towards. Yet, because of politics, we’re not there yet. And then the people who are suffering those consequences are people who can’t afford those utility bills.”

URGING BIDEN TO TACKLE EMISSIONS: LCV and Chispa joined 20 other environmental groups in writing a letter to President Biden this week, urging him and the EPA to swiftly impose the most stringent emissions standards possible to put cleaner heavy-duty vehicles on the road and reduce truck pollution, especially in underserved communities.

OUR TAKE: In the letter, LCV, Chispa, and other environmental groups wrote, “History and current technology developments show that manufacturers are capable of stepping up and making vehicles that are significantly less toxic to our lungs, air, and water. The issue here is political and economic will. We urge the administration to prioritize public health over industry calls for relaxed standards. Trucks have contributed a disproportionate amount of pollution in overburdened communities for far too long.”

TOYOTA GREENWASHING CLIMATE ACTION: This week, LCV, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and Moms Clean Air Force released a new website, Pollutamotor.com, highlighting how Toyota’s greenwashing has limited progress for a transition to electric vehicles. Toyota continues to lobby against a provision in the Build Back Better Act that would expand the federal electric vehicle tax credit, which is backed by labor unions, major automakers, over a hundred House democrats, and environmental organizations. Toyota is helping to fuel the climate crisis and pollution instead of finding solutions for a clean-energy future. See the facts HERE.

OUR TAKE: League of Conservation Voters Senior Director of Government Affairs Matthew Davis stated, “From lavishing money on January 6th insurrectionists, to fighting tooth and nail against regulations to clean up our air quality, to lobbying to obstruct historic investments in zero emissions vehicles in the Build Back Better Act, Toyota is stuck in reverse. We need to advance the clean transportation system of the future — electric vehicles will help tackle climate change and toxic air pollution — and Congress should swiftly pass the Build Back Better Act to fulfill that equitable and safe future.”

RIVIAN MUST WORK WITH UNIONS TO BUILD A CLEAN & JUST FUTURE: This week, ten environmental organizations, including LCV, issued a public statement to Rivian, an electric vehicle start-up, ahead of their initial public offering. In August, the same environmental advocacy organizations reached out privately to Rivian to start conversations about working together with labor leaders to build a clean energy future with good jobs and rights for automotive workers, yet they received no response.

COALITION TAKE: The environmental advocacy organizations, including LCV, Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Blue-Green Alliance, Center for American Progress, Center for Biological Diversity, Elders Climate Action, Friends of the Earth, and 350.org sent a letter to Rivian, writing, “Addressing the climate crisis is an opportunity to create millions of good paying jobs and rebuild our communities with jobs that allow families to thrive. Union workers at many major auto manufacturers earn family-sustaining living wages, with quality health care, paid time off, and can count on their workplace safety and civil rights to be better protected. A priority for our movement is ensuring that manufacturing critical to the clean energy economy creates quality jobs where workers have a voice through a union…Labor, the environmental movement, and business can work closer together to meet the challenge of climate change and quality jobs while adding even greater value to companies like Rivian. This is essential to meeting the nation’s climate commitments and building the clean energy future we all need.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

COMMITMENTS TO REDUCE EMISSIONS IN NEW JERSEY: On Wednesday, New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak joined a press conference with Governor Phil Murphy to announce the state’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions  50% by 2030. The announcement follows the Governor’s 2018 executive order which set a goal to reach 100% clean energy and reduce GHG emissions 80% by 2050. Watch a recording of the event HERE.

GOVERNOR TAKE: Governor Phil Murphy said, “We must meet the devastating impacts of global warming and climate change, with bold intentional action. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and electrifying our transportation sector, we are taking the critical steps to solidify New Jersey’s clean energy future, while also improving air quality in our underserved communities.”

NJLCV TAKE: New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Potosnak stated, “New Jersey LCV was the first environmental organization to endorse Governor Murphy because he has led the way with the most ambitious agenda to fight climate change and address environmental injustice in the nation. There’s still more to be done, and today’s announcement of a 50% greenhouse gas reductions by 2030 benchmark is an important step and another example of Governor Murphy’s strong leadership and bold climate and justice agenda. We look forward to working with him and the legislature to build a stronger, fairer, and more resilient state for our children and grandchildren.”

🏈FROM THE FIELD🏈: LCV’s visibility and mobilization field program continues to show that communities across the country want climate action now! Organizers have knocked on nearly 355,000 doors across 12 states and D.C., talking with people about the Build Back Better Act and its critical climate provisions. Through our canvassing, we’ve recruited over 20,000 people to take action, over 15,000 households to place a sign in their yard, and over 13,000 businesses to display support. Every day we hear from community members that would like to see tangible steps taken toward mitigating climate change — over 3,000 people we’ve talked to have called their member of Congress in favor of the Build Back Better Act.

BUILDING BACK BETTER IN FLORIDA: As Florida Conservation Voters continues to advocate for their congressional delegation to support the Build Back Better Act, Executive Director Aliki Moncrief published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel about what this legislation means for Florida. In the piece, she notes that while the infrastructure package recently passed by Congress contains necessary investments to help Florida respond to extreme weather events, much more is needed to confront their causes. Along with addressing important environmental justice issues, Moncrief explains that the Build Back Better act also brings economic opportunities and benefits.Over 75% of Floridians support climate action. It’s time for their representatives to deliver and pass the Build Back Better Act.

FCV TAKE: Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director Aliki Moncrief wrote, “It’s not enough to just respond to extreme weather — we need to cut the pollution driving it in the first place. That’s why Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act, the most transformational climate and jobs legislation in our nation’s history. By investing in clean energy and things like electric vehicles and more energy-efficient homes and businesses, we can stop making the problem worse and avoid a growing disaster.”

TOXIC BUS TOUR IN FLORIDA PREVIEW!: On Saturday, pro-environment organizations, including Chispa Florida, will hold a bus tour to warn communities about the effects of climate change in Florida, starting in Tampa. Stay up to date on their Twitter page.

CHISPA FLORIDA TAKE: Chispa Florida Director Maria Revelles stated, “All the territory of Florida that is below three feet of climb the water will disappear both Cayos and Miami as the same cities that are in the Tampa bay will be be underwater if we don’t stop global warming.”

 

COMING UP:

NOVEMBER: Indigenous Peoples’ Month