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THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – AUGUST 28, 2020
QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“We shouldn’t have to see one more video of a Black human being brutalized and/or gunned down by police in a clear case of excessive or unwarranted force. Anybody who doesn’t believe we are beyond a state of emergency is choosing to lack empathy and awareness.”
— Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. via Twitter.
“Inequality in housing, incomes, health and education all make a difference when we’re talking about vulnerability to climate change.”
— Executive Director of Groundwork’s Richmond chapter Rob Jones in a New York Times article on How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering.
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”
— Milwaukee Bucks statement via Twitter on the shooting of Jacob Blake and police violence.
LCV IN THE NEWS:
The Washington Post: Ed Markey uses climate change to flip insurgent script on Joe Kennedy in Mass. race
Eco Watch:Sanders Condemns GOP for Ignoring Climate Crisis at RNC
The World Public Radio: Biden-Harris ticket highlights historic stance on climate and environmental justice
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:
Arizona Republic: In Phoenix, rising temperatures day and night kill more people each year
Wisconsin Conservation Voters (WI): Conservation voters call on legislative leaders to hold session on police violence and systemic racism
The Post and Courier (SC): Energy poverty could lead to dangerous decisions
RNC: This week’s Republican National Convention starkly contrasted with last week’s Democratic National Convention (which LCV Action Fund covered in three memos). Last week, Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden named four crises: Racism, like that at the heart of Kenosha’s violence where police shot Jacob Blake and a white supremacist gunned down protesters; climate change fueling wildfires and deadly storms like Hurricane Laura currently bearing down on Gulf Coast communities and hitting communities of color the hardest; the pandemic which also disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and People of Color and is still taking more than a thousand lives a day; and an economic crisis that’s left millions of people out of work and at risk of losing their homes, electricity and clean drinking water. The Republican Convention, on the other hand, exploited a nation in pain, failing to acknowledge and take seriously the racism — which Trump continually exacerbates in his policies and rhetoric — that underlies all these crises.
OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith had this to say in response to the Republican National Convention, “Trump is exploiting a nation in pain, in the middle of a pandemic that is disproportionately harmful to Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, to dismantle the policies and institutions that protect our children and families. And this week he is making it crystal clear that he intends to cause even more harm by doing more of the same with a second term. That’s why we’re working hard to make sure voters know that Trump refuses to listen to experts, prioritizes corporations over people, and denies the threat of climate change just like he denied the threat of the coronavirus and systemic racism. Defeating Donald Trump is not the solution to the challenges our country faces, but it is an absolutely necessary step if we are to begin the work to heal and create a safer, healthier and more just world for everyone.”
OUR ACTION: While defeating Trump in November is not the solution to all the challenges our country faces, it is an absolutely necessary step if we are to begin to heal and create a safer, healthier and more just world for everyone. LCV Victory Fund has already invested $14 million in talking to swing voters about Trump’s harmful environmental record and named Donald Trump the “Dirtiest of All Time” on our signature Dirty Dozen list for good reason. Check out our memo from last week gearing up for the RNC and what we expected.
MARCH ON WASHINGTON: Today, on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington — where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 — Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network led the Commitment March to advocate for comprehensive policy accountability reform, the Census, and mobilizing voters for the November elections. Black lives continue to be taken by the hands of police, and armed racist vigilantes are terrorizing protestors for supporting Black lives. The bare minimum is recognizing that Black lives matter — action must be taken to protect Black lives and uplift Black voices. Today’s march signifies just how much work there is still to do 57 years later.
OUR TAKE: LCV Chief Officer for Racial Justice and Equity Leslie R. Hinkson said, “When Kenosha police brutally shot Jacob Blake and armed vigilantes killed protesters supporting Black lives, our nation was, once again, confronted with the ugly realities of systemic racism. And we know these realities are not new — 57 years ago, our civil rights heroes marched on Washington, demanding an end to the same oppression. Right now, in this moment, supporting Black lives is not just about recognizing the reality of this unabating oppression, but taking action to protect Black lives and uplift Black voices. It’s about making a commitment to dismantle the systems of oppression that harm Black people every single day.
We can’t build the future we want to see, the future that all of us deserve, unless we take a stand for justice and equity. We are proud to support the National Action Network, the NAACP, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and other partners in this critical moment. LCV stands with the movement for Black lives and with the families who have lost loved ones at the hands of police violence.”
CLIMATE SWING VOTERS: This week, LCV Victory Fund released new English and Spanish digital ads in Arizona, “Time,” “Led the Way,” “Tiempo,” and “Pionero.” The ads detail Trump’s dangerous denial of science in response to the climate crisis and coronavirus pandemic, and they contrast Trump’s record with Vice President Joe Biden’s leadership on climate. The six-figure ad campaign is targeted at 30,000 Latinx swing voters who care about the environment. The ads will run through Labor Day.
OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Emily Crerand said, “Our research shows that talking to Arizona voters about President Trump’s harmful environmental record and contrasting his failure with Joe Biden’s climate leadership is key to defeating Trump in November. Arizona voters need to know that Trump denies the threat of climate change just like he denied the threat of the coronavirus and it’s Latinx families who pay the price.”
DOUBLE TAKE: Chispa Arizona Executive Director Laura Dent said, “Arizonans are experiencing our hottest summer ever recorded this year. Climate change is impacting our health and our pocketbooks, and it’s threatening our future. Nuestras familias merecen un líder, como Joe Biden, que entiende que necesitamos acción contra el cambio climático.”
SENATE CLIMATE REPORT: This week, the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis released their “Case for Climate Action” report. The report, which outlines policies for combating the climate crisis, would be a huge step in the right direction for climate change. The comprehensive plan lays out solutions, including $400 billion a year in government investments, focused on racial justice, equity, and job growth. With the surge in superstorms, wildfires, and “unsurvivable” hurricanes, this plan is exactly what we need to start taking real action against the growing threat of climate disasters.
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Thanks to Chair Schatz and members of the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee for this roadmap for climate solutions that builds on the release of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ comprehensive climate action plan, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s historic $2 trillion climate and environmental justice plan, and all of the momentum for climate action at the Democratic National Convention. As wildfires and heat waves rage in the West, the Midwest recovers from a devastating derecho, and the East Coast is hit with extreme storms, this Case for Climate Action has never been more urgent. The coronavirus pandemic continues to expose deep injustices in our country and we must confront them head on. Congress now has a framework to set our country on a path towards a just and equitable clean energy future with safe, healthy communities and economic opportunity for all.”
DOUBLE TAKE: LCV Board Chair, Former EPA Administrator, and Former Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol M. Browner said, “We are at the crossroads of what Vice President Joe Biden calls a ‘perfect storm’ of crises threatening our nation – the challenges of a global pandemic, an economic catastrophe, the national reckoning of environmental and racial justice, and the unyielding threat of climate change. Now is the time for solutions that will create the clean energy economy and jobs we need and the path toward a just and fair recovery that protects our health, cuts pollution and grows the economy. The Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis report is a blueprint for actions we can take to address the climate crisis.”
PROTECT THE POSTAL SERVICE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to bring the Senate back to session and pass the necessary protections and funding for the postal service and our postal workers. After Postmaster General DeJoy’s Senate testimony last week and the House Oversight Committee earlier this week, along with the president’s repeated attacks on vote-by-mail, dropboxes, and the Postal Service, it is clear that the Postal Service and access to the vote are under assault.
OUR TAKE: LCV Judiciary Program Director Ben Driscoll said, “In today’s hearing, Postmaster General DeJoy continued to show his dishonesty, deception, and lack of internal knowledge and it’s why LCV and so many others have called for his resignation. We need to protect the Postal Service and give postal workers the support they need to safely and effectively do their job. With their vote this weekend, the House has shown they are ready to fight for the safety and security of our democracy and essential services. Now we need Leader McConnell to bring the Senate back to DC and ensure we have funding and protections for the millions, particularly Indigenous communities, veterans, and seniors, who rely on their post office for access to medication, communications, and their ballot. We are in an unprecedented election where more Americans will be voting safely through the mail than ever before. We need a postmaster who is doing everything they can to prepare, not a Trump megadonor damaging this critical institution under the guise of efficiency.”
PEBBLE MINE: This week, the Trump administration told the developers of Pebble Mine, a proposed giant copper mine located near Bristol Bay in Alaksa, that they would have to undertake mitigation measures and submit a new plan before being granted the Clean Water Act permit needed to move forward. This project would have lasting, detrimental impacts on one of the last great wild salmon fisheries in the world. The Bay is also incredibly important to local Alaskan Natives, who rely on the salmon for sustenance and employment as well an integral part of their traditional culture. Given the Trump administration’s history of prioritizing profits of big corporations above the needs of communities — especially Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other communities of color — these new requirements are surprising, though they do not mean the project is stopped for good. The strong and broad coalition opposed to the mine will not rest until the disastrous mine is permanently blocked, and it is these groups, who have for years dedicated their time and resources to preventing this project, who deserve all of the credit — not Don Jr. or the Trump administration.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:
DUKE ENERGY (NC): TRYING TO PUT COAL CLEAN UP COSTS ON CUSTOMERS As coal’s decline continues across the country, states are trying to ensure that communities have a healthy, safe, and just transition to clean energy. But one of the nation’s largest utilities, Duke Energy in North Carolina, is trying to make it’s customers pay to clean up it’s massive coal ash ponds. These ponds often leak, leading to environmental disaster, seeping into the water table and poisoning drinking water.
COM ED TAKEDOWN (IL): GOVERNOR PRITZKER PROPOSES NEW ETHICS LAWS AFTER UTILITY’S $200 MILLION FEDERAL LOBBYING FINE
As Governor Pritzker rolls out his bold new clean energy package for Illinois, he has also laid out new ethics rules for utilities ensuring customers are not paying for political work the utility engages in or unnecessary rate increases. Federal investigators recently settled a case against COM ED, one of the state’s largest utilities, for an unprecedented $200 million in fines for illegal lobbying practices.
SYSTEMIC RACISM HEARING (WI): WISCONSIN CONSERVATION VOTERS CALLS ON LEGISLATURE TO RETURN TO SESSION TO ADDRESS POLICE VIOLENCE In the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of Kenosha Wisconsin police officers, Wisconsin Conservation Voters joins the growing chorus for justice and calls for immediate action from the legislature, demanding they return to session to address police violence and systemic racism.
GROWING WIND ENERGY IN THE NORTHEAST: OVER 40 ORGANIZATIONS FORM NEW ENGLAND FOR OFFSHORE WIND
This week, a group of 40 organizations including environmental groups, businesses, labor unions, and universities, formed a brand new coalition to encourage New England states to work together to support regional offshore wind energy. Northeast states are already home to some of the nation’s largest offshore wind projects. Every state in the region has renewable energy goals they need to meet, with offshore wind playing a significant role in building their clean energy portfolio and creating high wage jobs in manufacturing and installation.
SUING TO STOP OFFSHORE OIL (NC): STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL SUES TO PROTECT AGAINST MASSIVE NEW OIL PROJECTS
After the Trump administration overruled North Carolina’s challenge to oil and gas drilling off their coast, Attorney General Josh Stein is suing the administration to block any new seismic exploration in the area. The lawsuit cites enormous impacts to the state’s fishing and tourism industry as well as dozens of coastal community resolutions against offshore drilling in North Carolina.
September 1: National Poll Worker Recruitment Day
September 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
October 12: U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day
November 3: Election Day