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.
“Long before the phrase I can’t breathe became a rallying cry for Black Lives Matter activists protesting the deaths of Black people at the hands of police, environmental-justice activists warned that pollution was choking and killing people of color in the U.S.”
— Justin Worland in his TIME article on Why the Larger Climate Movement Is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism.
“Navajo tradition teaches us that we must be in balance with the universe, and that when we are out of balance, sickness and suffering will follow. The Navajo people have had to endure great tragedies, but we remain resilient, strong, and secure in knowing who we are and where we come from.”
— President of the Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez in his testimony during the The House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on “Addressing the Urgent Needs of our Tribal Communities.”
“The system that created inequality in terms of pollution choking our neighborhoods is the same system that’s choking Black people and brown people when it comes to policing.”
— Robert Bullard in Justin Worland’s TIME article on Why the Larger Climate Movement Is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism. Bullard is a scholar of urban planning and environmental policy whose work earned him the moniker “the father of environmental justice.”
New York Times: Biden’s Big Climate Decision: Will He Embrace His Task Force’s Goals?
Politico: Judge leaves DAPL shutdown in place — for now
E&E News: Biden launches ‘climate engagement’ council to target voters
Vice: The Sunrise Movement Is Pointing Fingers at Progressives After 2 Big Primary Losses
Axios: Biden rolls out team to boost climate vote
Washington Post: Major oil and gas pipeline projects, backed by Trump, flounder as opponents prevail in court
TIME Magazine: 2020 Is Our Last, Best Chance to Save the Planet
TIME Magazine: Why the Larger Climate Movement Is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism
Washington Post: Latino voters could be pivotal in November. Here’s how mailers mobilize them to vote.
Buzzfeed News: DESIREE TIMS WANTS TO BE THE CANDIDATE FOR THIS MOMENT
E&E News: Dem unity panel unveils climate, environmental goals
E&E News: Biden raises $4.3M in climate-focused fundraiser
Washington Times: Democrats led by Steyer call on Facebook’s new content board to censor ‘climate denial’ group
Independent: Joe Biden seeks to win over climate crisis activists after earlier failing to support Green New Deal
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:
Huffington Post: Energy Companies Cancel $8 Billion Appalachian Trail Pipeline Project (VA)
ABC News: Duke, Dominion cancel contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline (VA)
Inside Climate News: In New York City, ‘Managed Retreat’ Has Become a Grim Reality (NY)
WEMU: 1st Friday Focus On The Environment: Line 5, The Great Lakes, And Green Funding During Pandemic (MI)
Public News Service: NC’s Coastal Areas Could Get Economic Boost from Moving Forward Act (NC)
Energy Central: Wind farms cited as boon to economy in new ad #NY (NY)
WEMU: Issues Of The Environment: Ann Arbor’s Ambitious Plan For Carbon Neutrality By 2030 (MI)
Michigan Advance: Anti-Line 5 activists buoyed by national pipeline victories (MI)
Michigan Chronicle: Gov. Whitmer Announces Investment in Water Assistance for Michigan Families (MI)
Sand Paper: NJDEP Launches Interactive Mapping and Reporting System for HAB (NJ)
ONE STEP DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE: Alexa, play “One, Two Step” by Ciara ft. Missy Elliot because this week we saw the defeat of not one, but TWO giant pipeline projects. On Monday, a district court ruled that the Dakota Access pipeline must shut down by August 5th because it violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are abandoning their project (see 👇 for more on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The Dakota Access decision is the first time a major, active oil pipeline will be forced to cease operating because of environmental concerns. This victory comes after four years of opposition from Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes who sued the Army Corps for threatening tribal water supplies and resources. Their perseverance in this fight will prevent half a million barrels of crude oil from being carried from North Dakota to Illinois everyday.
EMBRACING THE FIGHT: Energy and environment correspondent for TIME, Justin Worland, published an article this week titled, Why the Larger Climate Movement Is Finally Embracing the Fight Against Environmental Racism. In his article, Worland discusses how for years environmental justice leaders have been left out of decision making despite being the leaders of the environmental movement and having the most to lose from continued climate destruction and racism. More and more environmental groups are adopting racial justice and equity goals and listening to the organizations that truly lead this work. LCV’s very own Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo was quoted in the piece saying, “Centering reducing toxic pollution in frontline communities is both the right thing to do, and it’s also essential to building the power that we need to have the overwhelming support we need to overpower the fossil-fuel industry.” While this country is working towards progress on fixing centuries of racism, another question to think about: why has it taken this long?
THIS LAND IS NATIVE AMERICAN LAND: The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the eastern half of Oklahoma is — and has always been — Native American land. In a 5-4 decision, the court enforced the promise made by the United States to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation when forced off their ancestral lands in the Southeast nearly two hundred years ago. The question at hand: are these nineteen million acres of Oklahoma still reservation lands, as agreed to in 1832? The tribe was represented by Riyaz Kanji, board member of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, who wrote, “both the executive branch and state officials actively sought to undermine Congress’s determination that the Nation’s government and territory would endure.” This victory reaffirms Creek Nation’s claim to the land, and represents a potential shift in the Court’s long record of disregarding the promises made and harms done to Native Americans. To learn more about the history of the land, the tribes and the court case, listen to Crooked Media’s podcast “This Land” by Rebecca Nagle, an Oklahoma journalist and citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
ICE EXCHANGE STUDENT RULE: A new regulation released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday has international students stuck between a rock and a hard place: either attend in-person classes during a pandemic or be deported and take online classes from another country. Under the new ICE rule, any international student attending a U.S. college that is entirely online cannot remain in or re-enter the country. Students must decide whether they will prioritize their health or their education. All U.S. higher education students should be granted the same access to educational opportunities — no matter which passport they hold. International students bankroll thousands of U.S. jobs, contribute billions to the U.S. economy, and support large portions of university budgets. In this unprecedented global health crisis, we should be showing international students the same faith that they put in us when they chose the U.S. for college in the first place.
THE NEEDS OF TRIBAL COMMUNITIES: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing this week on “Addressing the Urgent Needs of our Tribal Communities.” Witnesses included Tribal leaders from Navajo, Chickasaw, and Southern Ute Indian Tribe communities. The hearing was set to listen to the needs of Tribal communities — the same communities Indigenous to these lands, yet continuously ignored. COVID-19 continues to spread at high rates within Indigenous communities, and they are not equipped with adequate healthcare and resources to help stop the spread. It is long overdue that our government start listening to and protecting Indigenous voices and lives.
AMY COOPER PROSECUTION: On May 25, the same day that George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Amy Cooper called the police on Christian Cooper. Christian Cooper, a Black man, had asked Amy to abide by Central Park rules and leash her dog. Amy Cooper, a white woman, responded by calling the police and accusing him of threatening her and her dog. On Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. initiated the prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. If convicted, Cooper could face up to a year in jail, a fine or both. This racist case of racial profiling reminds us of the need to work to make outdoor spaces — and the larger environmental movement — more inclusive and diverse.
INDIGIENOUS WOMEN LEAD: This week, Representative Deb Haaland joined other Indigenous women leaders for a webinar, hosted by MADRE, on racially equitable and just solutions to COVID-19. COVID-19 has been affecting BIPOC populations at disproportionate rates, and we cannot talk about solutions without talking about how to dismantle the racist systems in this country.
OIL SETBACK (CO): One major oil setback is a lucky draw, two setbacks is a great coincidence, but three oil setbacks in one week is a trend towards a clean energy future. A panel of judges in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied oil companies their bid to halt a climate nuisance case that the city of Boulder brought against Suncor Energy Inc. The case charges the oil companies with damage to the city of Boulder resulting from climate change caused by emissions, and the judges ruled that the oil companies failed to show compelling evidence to stop the case, so it will proceed at Boulder County District Court unless the Supreme Court intervenes.
PRIMARY VICTORIES (NJ): Earlier this week, New Jersey held their primary elections where LCV Action Fund endorsed Representatives Andy Kim (NJ-03), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) and Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) ran for re-election. Sherrill, Kim, and Malinowski all ran uncontested. Gottheimer was successful and while the final results for Pascrell have not been called yet, the results are looking good! Climate won this week in New Jersey!
TWO STEP ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE (VA): In a huge win for local Indigenous leaders and environmental groups, developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced on Sunday they will be abandoning the project. The pipeline threatened rural Indigenous communities and would have run through Union Hill, Virginia, a historically Black community founded by previously enslaved people after the Civil War. Local activists have been calling on Dominion Energy and Duke Energy to cancel the $8 billion project since 2014. This victory can be accredited to the grassroots activists who kept up the fight for all six years. Reminding us, there ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people doesn’t stop.
CVM TAKE: Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Michael Town said, “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was never needed and never viable. Its effective defeat today is a huge victory for Virginia’s environment, for environmental justice, and a testament to the power of grassroots action, the hundreds of driven, determined, frontline advocates who never stopped fighting this misguided project. With this pipeline out of the way, Virginia’s clean energy future is that much closer.”
July 18-26: Latinx Conservation Week
November 3: Election Day