Join LCV for our annual Capital Dinner on March 20th in Washington, DC Register Now

This Week In Climate Action

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION – SEPTEMBER 8, 2023

Sep 8, 2023

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:

“Our community cannot afford higher utility bills; it is a matter of our health and safety to ensure bills are affordable.”

Raisel Lorenzo, southern Nevada resident and member of Chispa NV, on rising utility costs in Nevada.

“We can say now that people are dying from climate change, and that’s a different kind of statement than we would have made before.”

Professor Kristie L. Ebi of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington on the health impacts of climate change.

“Cancellation of these leases is a step to rectify attempted violence against our people, the animals and sacred land. The leases were economically infeasible, threatened the Porcupine Caribou Herd and the Gwich’in way of life, and if developed would have added to the already deteriorating climate in the Arctic and the world over.”

The Gwich’in Steering Committee on the cancellation of illegal Trump-era Arctic oil and gas leases and the protection of over 13 million acres of the Western Arctic by the Biden administration.


HIGHLIGHTS IN INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IMPLEMENTATION:

NEW LABOR STANDARDS FOR TAX INCENTIVES: The Biden-Harris administration has issued proposals for new, stronger labor standards that companies must meet in order to be eligible for tax incentives under the affordable clean energy plan. As we continue to build a clean energy economy, these standards will help ensure that the jobs created support workers and their rights.

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Federal Policy Matthew Davis said, “The Biden-Harris administration continues to push ahead with their commitment to create good, family-supporting, clean energy jobs as part of the affordable clean energy plan while extreme MAGA Republicans continue to try to roll back the progress that is creating these jobs across the country and in their own districts. Strong labor standards for the jobs we create to tackle the climate crisis and environmental injustice are critical for a transition to a just and equitable clean energy economy, and the Biden-Harris administration has remained focused on building out good-paying, unionized, clean energy jobs. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to implement the affordable clean energy plan swiftly and equitably and fighting to defend it from extremist Republicans.”

IRA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE: Rounding out some of the final celebrations for the one year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, Climate Action Virginia hosted an event with congressional climate champion Representative Jennifer McClellan.


IN NATIONAL NEWS: 

FIRST-EVER OFFSHORE WIND LEASE SALE IN THE GULF OF MEXICO: Offshore wind is taking its first steps forward in the Gulf of Mexico, with the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the region taking place last week.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Government Affairs Advocate David Shadburn said, “With today’s first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, the Biden-Harris administration has shown it will continue to prioritize clean, affordable energy and the benefits it brings to our communities. Introducing offshore wind to the Gulf of Mexico will not only provide healthier, affordable energy for surrounding communities, but will also assist workers in transitioning away from jobs in the area’s fossil fuel industry by creating good, family-sustaining clean energy jobs in Louisiana, advance efforts to combat the climate crisis, and help end the legacy of environmental injustice left by polluting industries. We applaud BOEM and the administration for bringing us another important step closer to reaching the goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and ensuring a just clean energy future.”

EPA RELEASES UPDATED WOTUS RULES: Last week, the EPA was forced to amend their “waters of the United States” rule to reflect the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA, which ruled waters must be “relatively permanent” to receive protection under the Clean Water Act. This decision undermines safeguards for wetlands and other waters that communities rely on across the country.

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “The Supreme Court’s terrible decision in Sackett v. EPA has left the critical wetlands and other waters that our families depend on open to pollution and destruction. Unfortunately, the Biden administration was forced to amend their “waters of the United States” rule to reflect the Court’s disregard of science, the law, and basic commonsense to put the profits of polluters ahead of the health of our communities, especially Indigenous and other communities of color and low wealth communities disproportionately impacted by water pollution. Congress must take action to fix the damage done to our clean water protections and rein in and rebalance this extremist, out-of-control Court.”

BIDEN, HAALAND STRENGTHEN ARCTIC PROTECTIONS: President Biden and Secretary Haaland took action to protect America’s Arctic this week by canceling several illegal oil and gas leases and strengthening protections for 13+ million acres in the Western Arctic. The newly protected lands are sacred to the Gwich’in people and critical to the Arctic’s unique ecosystem.

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We applaud President Biden and Secretary Haaland for these significant steps to protect Arctic communities and our climate. We’re thrilled that the cancellation of the illegally held oil and gas leases in the Arctic Refuge will restore lands sacred to the Gwich’in and vital to the health of the Arctic ecosystem. We also applaud the Biden-Harris administration for prioritizing the Arctic as part of their conservation legacy by strengthening protections for 13 million acres in the Western Arctic and addressing Trump’s illegal leasing program in the Arctic Refuge. These proposed protections are vitally important for this unique and sacred landscape, and we are eager to work with the Biden-Harris administration to build on today’s announcements and permanently protect the Arctic region.”

THE ALASKA CENTER TAKE: Chantal de Alcuaz, co-executive director of The Alaska Center, said, “Alaskan communities are at the frontlines of the climate crisis. It affects all aspects of our lives, from the health of our communities to the health of our economy. The communities of the Arctic have long fought for a voice in the protection of their lands, and this decision by President Biden and Secretary Haaland is a decisive step in the right direction to listen to the needs and the wisdom of those communities. At The Alaska Center, we believe in the sacredness of these lands and the importance of bringing these communities to the decision-making table. We are grateful that leadership is ready to take the necessary steps to confront the climate crisis and help move our state towards a just transition that works with and for Alaskans.”


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR CALLS FOR 100% CLEAN ENERGY: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer reaffirmed her support for 100% clean energy in a speech outlining policy priorities last week. The Michigan legislature is currently considering legislation to codify that goal.

MI LCV TAKE: Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “Michiganders are tired of paying the highest electricity rates for the worst service in the Midwest. Moving Michigan toward 100% clean energy will provide more affordable, reliable energy, and address climate change by reducing pollution and protecting our Great Lakes. Creating good-paying clean energy jobs, reducing energy bills and protecting our air and water are kitchen table issues. We support Gov. Whitmer’s call to transition Michigan to 100% clean energy and press the Legislature to meet the moment by passing legislation that moves us to a clean energy future. We owe it to our children and their futures to get it done.

“We also support the Governor’s proposals to shore up our elections after voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 2 last year. We urge policymakers to block any attempts to subvert the will of Michigan voters and ensure those who help protect our democracy, including election workers, are able to do so free of harassment and intimidation.”

CHISPA NV, NEVADA CONSERVATION LEAGUE TAKE ON UTILITY COMMISSION: Chispa NV and the Nevada Conservation League joined other local organizations to host a press conference last week  urging Nevada’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) to develop renewable energy sources in order to stabilize energy prices in the state. The press conference came ahead of public PUC meetings where Nevada residents spoke out against rising utility bills, which have forced people to rely more heavily on food assistance and forgo cooling their homes despite record breaking heat in the region.

NCL TAKE: At the press conference, Nevada Conservation League Communication Director Yazmyn Pelaez said, “By developing more local clean power over the next few years, and keeping frontline communities in mind, we together could cut fossil fuel pollution, save customers money, and protect public health and our environment.”

CLIMATE ACTION NEW HAMPSHIRE TALKS FARM BILL: The New Hampshire Climate Action team met up with Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of NH  for a Farm Bill listening session at the Dartmouth Organic Farm in Hanover. The event drew around 40 community members who engaged Representative Kuster and other officials in the agricultural space in discussion on topics ranging from hydroponics to meat processing and organic farming certification.


NEW ON THE POWER SOURCE BLOG AND SOCIALS:

ON THE BLOG: LCV published the monthly Top 5 round-up for August last week. Last month’s top stories introduced the founder and CEO of the first African-American woman-owned EV charger manufacturer and celebrated the Biden administration’s protection of one million acres of land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park, endorsements for congressional climate champions, and recent victories in Maine, Montana, and Ohio. Lastly, the blog discussed the important connections between a healthy democracy and a healthy planet. Read the full stories here!

FROM OUR SOCIALS: Last week, we marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington with posts on Instagram and Twitter/X, as well as corresponding content on the benefits of the John Lewis Freedom to Vote Act, which is expected to be reintroduced later this month.

This week, LCV and The Alaska Center celebrated Labor Day and a major win in the Arctic along with some Congressional champs.

In other notable social content: trains and Tim Robinson!


COMING UP:

SEPTEMBER 12: House returns from recess

SEPTEMBER 15: Hispanic Heritage Month begins

SEPTEMBER 19: National Voter Registration Day

SEPTEMBER 22: National Drive Electric Week begins

SEPTEMBER 23: National Public Lands Day

SEPTEMBER 30: Government funding expires