“After a summer of smoke-reddened skies choking the air, waves of outages, and news of climate-driven tragedies from all over the country and our world, the time to act has never been more clear or more urgent.”
– Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, on the state legislature’s passage of a 100% clean energy bill package.
“It’s hard to be a kid when the air I breathe gives me headaches and asthma attacks.”
– Samara Johnson, an 11 year old Detroit resident who is calling on President Biden and the EPA to find solutions for pollution.
“I was so happy because finally I had a sturdy roof, and my house was finally beautiful. But now — this is the first time I’ve been able to cry — I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
– Estela Sandoval Díaz, a resident of Acapulco, Mexico’s forgotten “sunken neighborhood” where Hurricane Otis left nearly 100 people dead or missing and destroyed thousands of homes.
LCV RELEASES REPUBLICAN CLEAN ENERGY HYPOCRISY REPORT: This week, LCV released a comprehensive report detailing 12 Republicans in Congress who have supported clean energy funding from the Inflation Reduction Act in their home district despite voting against the bill. Since its passage in August 2022, House Republicans have voted over 27 times to repeal provisions of the IRA, including as recently as today when they passed a FY24 Interior-Environment appropriations bill that slashes billions of dollars from critical clean air, clean water, and environmental justice programs and investments from the IRA. See the full report here.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “The stunning hypocrisy from these Representatives showcases the fact that their unwavering allegiance to Big Oil is in conflict with what is actually beneficial to their district; on the one hand, they want to be seen as bringing jobs and investments to their district but on the other, they have to appease their fossil fuel donors. We must hold Republicans in Congress accountable for their votes putting polluters over people and for lying to their constituents about their role in trying to block legislation that has brought jobs and investment to their districts.”
LCV OPPOSES FY24 INTERIOR AND TRANSPORTATION APPROPRIATIONS BILLS: LCV led two coalitions of environmental groups this week in letters sent to members of the House of Representatives opposing H.R. 4821, the House Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, and H.R. 4820, the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024.
HOUSE PASSES EXTREME, DAMAGING INTERIOR APPROPRIATIONS BILL: House Republicans passed an irresponsible and absurd FY24 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which includes poison pill racist, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-environmental riders and would obliterate funding for environmental protection, all while making it easier for Congress to do the bidding of polluters.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “Speaker Johnson is earning his title of ‘MAGA Mike’ by making Big Oil’s agenda his first priority in Congress and leading House Republicans to vote for one of the most extreme and damaging Interior and Environment appropriations bills ever. This bill would eviscerate critical environmental protections for our lands, water, and air, zero out funding for communities facing environmental injustice, undermine historic climate progress in the Inflation Reduction Act, make it easier to pollute and for Congress to do the bidding of Big Polluters, and green-light poison pill racist, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-environmental riders. By passing this irresponsible bill with the threat of a government shutdown looming, MAGA extremists in the House have shown once again that they care more about doing the bidding of their fossil fuel donors and gutting environmental safeguards than protecting people and the planet or doing their job.”
SENATE PASSES APPROPRIATIONS MINIBUS WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT: The Senate passed its FY24 minibus, a spending package containing Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, and Transportation-HUD appropriations bills, with strong bipartisan support, bringing the futile spending fights taking place in the House into sharp relief.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “The Senate’s bipartisan passage of this minibus stands in stark contrast to the unreasonable extreme House Republicans who are continuing to push harmful bills that put polluters over people. Even after the hottest summer on record, extreme weather, and climate-related disasters across the country, MAGA House Republicans are doing everything they can to roll back funding for the historic progress on climate from the Inflation Reduction Act and the many programs that will help protect communities, all while forcing through racist and anti-LGBTQ+ policy riders and giveaways to their Big Polluter allies instead of taking their responsibility to govern seriously. House Republicans must stop their extremist, unpopular efforts to pass spending bills with draconian, anti-environment spending cuts, and work with the Senate to avoid a harmful and completely avoidable government shutdown.”
REPRESENTATIVE BLUMENAUER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) announced this week that he will be retiring at the end of the 118th Congress. Blumenauer has been a tireless advocate for climate and environmental issues throughout his career and boasts an outstanding 96% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “For five decades, Congressman Blumenauer has been a dedicated public servant with nearly the last thirty years serving as a trailblazing member of Congress leading on climate action and creating more livable communities. Blumenauer’s impressive environmental legacy includes authoring several of the transformative clean energy tax credits included in the Inflation Reduction Act that will help advance our clean energy transition, protecting Oregon’s beautiful and sacred places, including Mt. Hood and its surrounding wilderness, and advocating for the successful passage of the Superfund Tax to hold big polluters accountable and advance climate justice. The ubiquitous presence of his iconic bike lapel pins in the halls of Congress is a testament to his lifelong championing of biking, walking, and transit policies to ensure safer streets and livable communities for our children. LCV thanks Rep. Blumenauer for his leadership and service, and celebrates the inspirational environmental legacy he leaves for the next generation of climate champions.”
OLCV TAKE: Oregon League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Lindsey Scholten said, “From advocating for the protection of Mt. Hood and the surrounding areas, to fighting for climate justice and safer, more livable communities, and playing an instrumental role in advancing polluter accountability and the clean energy transition, Representative Blumenauer has been a tireless champion for climate and environmental issues, and for the people of Oregon, for over 50 years. We are grateful for all he has done for Portland and communities across the country and look forward to working closely with him over the remainder of his time in office and into the future.”
NATION’S LARGEST OFFSHORE WIND PROJECT ANNOUNCED OFF VIRGINIA COAST: The Biden-Harris administration approved a proposal from Dominion Energy to build the nation’s largest offshore wind project to date off the coast of Virginia Beach. Once completed, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will add 2,600 megawatts of clean energy to the grid, or enough energy to power nearly 1 million homes. Additionally, the project is expected to create 900 construction jobs and an estimated 1,100 annual jobs once operational.
OUR TAKE: LCV Government Affairs Senior Advocate David Shadburn said, “We’re thrilled for the addition of the nation’s largest offshore wind project yet! This announcement builds on progress by the Biden-Harris administration to stay on track to meet their goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and create even more good paying clean energy jobs in our country. We applaud this new milestone to continue building a clean energy economy and transition away from dirty fossil fuels.”
VALCV TAKE: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Michael Town said, “Virginia’s truly reached a clean energy milestone and we wouldn’t be here without the Biden Administration’s leadership on renewable energy and the visionary policies enacted by the General Assembly in 2020 and 2021 – policies that Governor Youngkin and his allies have repeatedly tried to weaken or repeal, despite the clear economic and environment benefits of advancing a clean energy future. This project is a milestone, but is hopefully the first of many to come – we must do everything we can to transition to a clean and just energy future and offshore wind will play an outsized role as we commit to 100 percent clean electricity by mid-century.”
PROGRESSIVE GROUPS CALL FOR SENATE ACTION ON SCOTUS CORRUPTION: LCV joined Stand Up for America and several other progressive groups on the steps of the Supreme Court for a press conference calling on the Senate to investigate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and pass a binding code of ethics for Supreme Court justices. Following the press conference, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that it will seek subpoenas for Harlan Crow, Robin Arkley, and Leonard Leo, who have all been key influence-peddling figures in the investigation into SCOTUS ethics. Watch a recording of the conference here!
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary and Democracy Doug Lindner said, “Our nation’s highest court cannot continue operating with the lowest possible standard of ethics. Those who interpret the law cannot place themselves above it. The people deserve a Supreme Court we can trust. Congress must act to deliver it.”
LCV APPLAUDS THE APPOINTMENT OF LAURA DANIEL-DAVIS AS ACTING SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: Following the resignation of former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau, the Department of the Interior announced that Laura Daniel-Davis will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “This is great news for the Department of the Interior and for our country! Laura Daniel-Davis is a dedicated public servant and proven leader. In her role as acting assistant secretary of Lands and Minerals Management she has been a major force for historic progress, from the designation of new national monuments to new protections in the Arctic. We look forward to working with Laura Daniel-Davis in her new role as acting deputy secretary on the many conservation, climate, and clean energy issues that are vitally important to our nation.”
LCV RELEASES GUIDE TO 2023 STATE AND LOCAL ELECTIONS: Election Day is just around the corner for a number of critical state and local races, which will have significant impacts on clean energy progress and holding the line against attacks on our democracy. On Thursday, LCV released a guide to key legislative, mayoral, and local supreme court elections taking place next week.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Before Congress passed the historic clean energy investments in the Inflation Reduction Act the majority of climate progress in the last decade was the result of state and local action. Because of that leadership, 40% of the country now lives in a place committed to 100% clean energy. Furthermore, much of the success of the IRA’s investments are now in the hands of these local leaders. We need mayors, city councils, and state legislators who understand the importance of implementing climate action.”
MICHIGAN COMMITS TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: Last night, the Michigan House passed the Clean Energy Future bill package requiring the state to get 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2040 – one of the fastest timelines in the nation. The legislation also directs the state to judge utility plans on a strong array of environmental justice criteria, secures prevailing wage standards for clean energy workers, and creates a first-ever Office of Worker & Community Transition. The state Senate will review changes made to the bills in the House before sending them to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is expected to sign them into law.
Michigan LCV played a key role in this victory. The League’s Climate Champions Program knocked on over 80,000 doors, made more than 133,000 phone calls to constituents, ran TV and streaming advertising in 22 districts with 7 million impressions statewide, and engaged volunteers to attend over 48 coffee hours held by lawmakers.
MILCV TAKE: Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “This Clean Energy Future Package puts Michigan on the path to have some of the fastest buildout of renewable energy like wind and solar in the nation – rapidly cleaning up our air and protecting our Great Lakes and drinking water. Democratic lawmakers passed legislation that empowers the Michigan Public Service Commission with more tools than ever before to hold utility companies’ feet to the fire regarding pollution impacts on health and safety, especially in communities of color.
“This climate package was done the Michigan way, with labor partners at the table to help ensure we put Michigan workers first – including requirements that projects include prevailing wage and project labor agreements, along with commitments from the utilities that they recruit, train and hire people from low-income communities to do energy efficiency upgrades.”
OFFSHORE WIND DEVELOPER PULLS OUT OF NEW JERSEY: Offshore wind company Ørsted announced that it is canceling both of its projects off the coast of New Jersey, citing high interest rates, inflation, and supply chain issues. The decision was met with anger and frustration from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy who called it “outrageous” and said it “calls into question the company’s credibility and competence.”
NJLCV TAKE: New Jersey LCV Executive Director Ed Postosnak said, “I expect Ørsted to make good on their payment obligation due to their failure to finish the much needed clean and reliable offshore wind projects. Every new industry has its setbacks, and while New Jersey didn’t lose a penny to Ørsted, we did lose the good paying jobs, improved health outcomes, and the energy independence the offshore wind projects would have provided.”
COSTUMES, CANDY, AND CLIMATE ACTION: Climate Action PA and Friends of Malcolm X Park co-hosted a Halloween-themed park clean up in West Philadelphia where costumed participants picked up trash, enjoyed arts and crafts, and, of course, collected some candy.
COLORADO ADOPTS CLEAN CAR STANDARDS: This week, Colorado partially adopted California’s Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) standards, setting increasing targets for new electric vehicle sales through 2032, when it will require 82% of new cars sold to be zero-emission electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. The state stopped short of adopting the full program by omitting the ultimate goal of achieving a 100% EV market by 2035. Colorado will consider adopting the full ACC II rules – including the 100% EV goal – by no later than 2029.
PENNSYLVANIA COURT BLOCKS REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled this week that it is unconstitutional for the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative program between all states from Virginia north to Maine to cap and reduce carbon emissions from the power sector. Conservation Voters of PA is calling on Governor Josh Shapiro to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.
CVPA TAKE: Conservation Voters of PA Executive Director Molly Parzen said, “The Commonwealth Court ruling regarding Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a misguided but temporary setback to efforts to protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to ‘clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment’… The Shapiro Administration must appeal today’s ruling to our state’s highest court if we are to make any progress in the fight against climate change and towards a clean energy economy. Governor Shapiro’s record on protecting our air, water and natural resources is a robust one stretching back to his tenure as attorney general, county commissioner and state legislator. We are confident in his commitment to our environment… This is not the final word on this matter, and we are confident Pennsylvania will be a leader in the clean energy economy.”
CHISPA MD LEADERS RALLY FOR #CLEANRIDE4KIDS: On Wednesday, Chispa Maryland joined a rally against Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) decision to purchase new diesel buses over electric buses. Check out Chispa MD’s post here!
ON THE BLOG: LCV Education Fund released a new blog highlighting Shari Barber, a member of the Boise Parks and Recreation Committee, and graduate of Conservation Voters for Idaho Education Fund’s Boards and Commissions Fellowship program.
ON OUR SOCIALS: We celebrated Halloween on our socials this week with a few of the scariest things we could think of: voter suppression, unethical SCOTUS Justices, and Project 2025. Equally terrifying, we promoted the recent publication of the Hall of Republican Clean Energy Hypocrisy, which is also the basis for this Guardian article.
NOVEMBER 7: Election Day
NOVEMBER 17: Government funding stopgap expires