“Today, we recognize our ancestors and predecessors who really laid the foundation for us to stand. And we will always recognize our elders who are here and those who have gone on before us, who really kicked open the doors in their time, nationally and internationally.”
— Thorne LaPointe, Indigenous Peoples’ Day event organizer and Sicangu Lakota, on the importance of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Tribal elders.
“We might never elect a speaker.”
— A Republican representative leaving a GOP meeting on the now-abandoned potential of a Scalise speakership, as quoted by John Bresnaham on X/Twitter.
“Elections matter at every level of government.”
— Kristin Zilcosky, Senior Director of Digital Engagement for the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, on the upcoming elections in New Jersey.
MAGA REPUBLICANS CONTINUED ATTACKS ON IRA: While the MAGA Republican Majority in the House has been enveloped in chaos, it has remained united around one goal: doing Big Oil’s bidding by repealing the Inflation Reduction Act. As of Tuesday, October 11, 2023, House Republicans had voted to repeal the law in whole or in part 25 times. LCV and Climate Power are continuing to track Republican attacks on the historic climate bill on our IRA Repeal Votes Tracker.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “Even amidst all the self-inflicted chaos of the House Republicans, they still constantly find ways to do Big Oil’s bidding. The extreme MAGA Republicans were working to gut popular clean energy programs right until the last hours before the government could have shut down, and they have shown every intention of getting back to increasing our reliance on their fossil fuel backers as soon as they can manage to pick a new Speaker.”
CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Senior Advisor Alex Wall said, “MAGA Republicans are crying crocodile tears over gas prices while they vote over and over again to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which will only pad Big Oil’s massive profits at the expense of American families. While it seems they can’t agree on much else, MAGA Republicans are united in their efforts to raise energy costs for consumers and kill the clean energy economic boom. Ironically, the clean energy boom is disproportionately creating jobs and driving investment in the districts of the very same House Republicans who keep trying to kill it.”
SCOTUS HEARS ORAL ARGUMENTS IN RACIAL GERRYMANDERING CASE: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, a case which alleges South Carolina’s district maps were racially gerrymandered. This is the most impactful voting rights case that will be heard by the Supreme Court this session, and its outcome will have major consequences for critical protections in the Voting Rights Act.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Director of Judiciary & Democracy Doug Lindner said, “The racially gerrymandered map drawn by South Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature to suppress the voices of Black residents has already been found unconstitutional by a federal court. In a time of increasing attacks on voting rights for communities of color across the country, we should be able to count on the United States Supreme Court to protect our democracy. But too often over the last decade, the right-wing justices have done the opposite, rolling back protections of the Voting Rights Act and allowing unconscionable gerrymanders and voter suppression policies to remain in place.
“Fair maps are crucial to ensure equitable representation for all and to protect the free and fair democracy we need in order to fight climate change and secure environmental justice. The Supreme Court must make the right decision in this case by affirming the lower court’s ruling that this racist gerrymander is unconstitutional, and Congress must pass laws to protect our democracy, including the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and the Judiciary Act.”
LCV RENEWS CALL FOR D.C. STATEHOOD: Following Thursday’s House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance hearing on violent crime in Washington, D.C., LCV renewed its call for D.C. statehood. With statehood, the District of Columbia would be able to directly address violence and gun regulation within its own borders, instead of being subject to legislation from a body in which they have no representation.
OUR TAKE: LCV Democracy Program Director Justin Kwasa said, “Today’s hearing is a stark reminder that over 700,000 D.C. residents are still unable to equitably participate in our democracy. Solutions to D.C. issues shouldn’t be left to extremist representatives who were not chosen by D.C. voters. MAGA House Republicans, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, are determined to advance policies that will continue to disenfranchise historically excluded communities and roll back progress towards environmental justice and a free and fair democracy. Congress must finally recognize the right of the people of D.C. to equitable representation by granting Washington D.C. its long-overdue statehood, and protect our democracy by passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, and the Judiciary Act.”
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES SEVEN REGIONAL HYDROGEN HUB PROJECTS: The Biden administration announced the seven finalists who are eligible to receive federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build regional hydrogen hubs. Moving forward with these projects, it is crucial that the Department of Energy and the seven project sponsors meaningfully engage with communities who stand to be impacted by the hydrogen buildout and not use hydrogen as a means to justify continued reliance on fossil fuels.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “While we applaud the Biden administration’s many significant efforts to build a clean energy economy, we strongly oppose any efforts to build out hydrogen that relies on fossil fuels, undermines better pathways for decarbonization, fails to support high-quality union jobs, or does not meaningfully engage impacted communities. Most importantly, hydrogen must not be used to justify the expansion or extend the life of fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines, nor prolong or exacerbate pollution and safety risks in already overburdened environmental justice communities.
“Today’s early stage announcement raises concerns and questions and we will press the Department of Energy to improve the project plans and provide more clarity to impacted communities. Green hydrogen, powered by new renewable electricity and with other important protections, holds promise for certain hard to decarbonize and difficult to electrify sectors. DOE should improve the proposals so that nearly all their hydrogen produced is truly green, and the Treasury must ensure that only truly green hydrogen qualifies for the most generous tax incentives.”
CHISPA TX TAKE: Chispa Texas Program Director Elida Castillo said, “Chispa Texas is extremely disappointed with today’s hydrogen hubs announcement. While we appreciate an acknowledgement of the climate crisis, we cannot support initiatives that benefit the same industries that got us here and for questionable emissions reductions. Our frontline communities, who already bear the brunt of the costs to our health and environment, should be the recipients of that $7 billion instead – Congress misdirected these taxpayer dollars.
“Texas is experiencing a severe multi year drought and the consistent failure of the energy grid, so to place a hydrogen project that requires lots of water and electricity anywhere in the state is a flawed decision. We encourage the DOE to model the community engagement process in the community benefits plan before any of these projects begin construction. Host listening sessions with the proposed communities on the projects, require these industries to pay their fair share in taxes instead of going to local entities for tax abatements, and limit the exportation of hydrogen to new markets, among other necessary protections for communities. We have seen this story hawked before when the industry was promoting fracked methane gas (LNG), and now we are experiencing the hurtful repercussions. We cannot allow this history to repeat itself. There are many better ways to tackle the climate crisis and that starts with listening to instead of harming our already overburdened frontline communities.”
CVPA TAKE: Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Executive Director Molly Parzen said, “The policymaking process involves the balancing of competing priorities and Conservation Voters of PA understands and respects that reality. As the announced regional hydrogen hubs are built and prepared to be brought online, we reiterate the need for the local, state, and federal regulations to better ensure the health and safety of the communities in which these hubs will be sited and the workers who will build them.
“Every step in the process of developing statutes and rules to regulate the hydrogen sector and the permitting process for hubs and associated facilities, must be public, open and transparent. Furthermore, any discussion regarding associated pipelines must — this cannot be emphasized strongly enough — start at the local level in the affected communities.
“Communities that have been impacted by past acts of environmental injustice must be given priority when establishing the necessary regulatory framework for this emerging sector. And we must work with our friends in the Labor movement to ensure an emphasis on the creation of family sustaining union jobs.
“While new and emerging technology like hydrogen can be effective with some hard to decarbonize industries, its use is just one small part of the overall strategy we need to fight climate change.
“Throughout the balance of this process, Conservation Voters of PA looks forward to working with local, state, and federal policy makers to vigorously protect Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment.”
NJLCVEF TEAMS UP WITH SENATOR CORY BOOKER ON VOTER EDUCATION: New Jersey LCV Education Fund, along with other state nonprofit partners, collaborated with Senator Cory Booker for an animated video highlighting the various ways to cast your vote in New Jersey. View the video and see key dates in the upcoming New Jersey elections on NJLCVEF’s website!
CHISPA AZ JOINS THE ROUTE ZERO PRESS CONFERENCE: DJ Portugal, Chispa Arizona Organizing Director, joined Moms Clean Air Force, the American Lung Association, and Arizona Public Health Association to encourage the administration to finalize the strongest possible clean truck (heavy duty) standards before the end of this year to help reduce air pollution and improve public health in Arizona. See DJ’s testimony on Instagram!
CHISPA MD ON CLEAN BUSES, AGRICULTURE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: This week, Chispa Maryland joined community leaders in Montgomery County to urge the public school board to vote no on diesel buses. View Chipsa MD’s post about the meeting to learn more.
The Chispa MD team also attended the Maryland International Agriculture and Environment Conference to meet with and learn from various community leaders like Sergio Polanco, Multicultural Affairs officer of the County Executive, Stewart Pittman, County Executive of Anne Arundel County, Gerardo Martinez, and Efrain Caballero. Get a sneak peek of the conference here!
CHISPA NV, NCL CELEBRATE ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESS AND PROMOTE A JUST, EQUITABLE DEMOCRACY: Last weekend, Chispa Nevada and the Nevada Conservation League hosted their 7th annual #HomeMeansNevada dinner where they celebrated environmental progress, honored conservation leaders, and emphasized the importance of staying engaged in our communities year-round.
Additionally, Chispa Nevada joined forces with Make the Road NV and All Voting is Local to celebrate the end of #LatineHeritageMonth and ensure Nevada’s Latine communities get the election info they need, in the languages they speak! Check out Chispa NV’s livestream for more!
NEW YORK PSC REJECTS WIND SUBSIDIES BUT STATE ADVOCATES VOW TO FIGHT: A coalition of labor, environmental, and business advocates pushed back against the state’s Public Service Commission decision to deny price adjustments critical to the feasibility of renewable energy construction projects.
NYLCV TAKE: Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, “The Public Service Commission’s decision is devastating for the offshore wind industry in New York and beyond, as well as harmful to the build–out of terrestrial renewable projects and detrimental to our goals for getting off fossil fuels. This decision means that some projects will be delayed, some might never even be built, and New Yorkers across the state will suffer because of it. In total, the project developers were asking for an increase that would lead to a nominal impact on utility bills. That investment would bring a sustainable, clean energy source to our region that over the long term would decrease utility bills and bring cleaner air and positive health outcomes for the entire state. This was a short-sighted decision that will lead to continued reliance on toxic, climate change-causing fossil fuels. It is incumbent on this Administration to figure out how we transition to a clean energy economy and meet our climate goals.”
Additional support came from NY State Laborers’ Organizing Fund, New Yorkers for Clean Power, Environmental Advocates NY, NRDC, Sierra Club, Win With Wind Long Island Association, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and Real Estate Board of New York.
ON THE BLOG: Read our weekly round-up of Good Climate News on the blog!
ON OUR SOCIALS: This week, we showed our solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as part of our celebration of Indigenous People’s Day, shared stories of Latinx democracy leaders in the U.S. for Latinx Heritage Month, and promoted some exciting news regarding the American Climate Corps on Instagram and X/Twitter.
OCTOBER 15: Latinx Heritage Month ends
OCTOBER 18: Clean Water Act 51st anniversary
OCTOBER 26: Vote Early Day
NOVEMBER 7: Election Day
NOVEMBER 17: Government funding stopgap expires