QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“The Energy Transition Act has been approved by the House and is headed to my desk! The ETA puts New Mexico on the verge of an energy transformation, making a promise to future generations of New Mexicans and boldly charting a course to a carbon-free future.”
— New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“It’s easy to get emotional about our natural resources and about traditional tribal land when you know that your ancestors have been there for generations and that it’s only because of them that you sit here today.”
— New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland said during Wednesday’s House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Trump’s shrinking of our national monuments.
“As a Coloradan with over 2 million acres of public land in my district, I understand the profound importance of protecting our nation’s treasured lands for historical, spiritual, and cultural purposes. And while that is certainly reason enough to protect our national monuments, there are countless economic reasons as well.”
— Colorado Representative Joe Neguse said at the House Natural Resources hearing.
LCV IN THE NEWS:
Wyoming Public Media: As Trump Eyes 9th Circuit, Environmentalists Fight For Neutral Nominees
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:
The Washington Post (MD): Setting the right course on climate change in Annapolis
Journal Enquirer (CT): Environmental advocates applaud conservation fund, river protection laws
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY): Brooklyn Councilmembers graded greenest in city
Las Vegas Sun (NV): If Trump won’t take climate change seriously, it’s up to governors to act
TOP TIER 2020 ISSUE: A new poll out this week from the Des Moines Register shows that the vast majority of caucus attendees in Iowa want candidates to talk about climate change – ranked just after health care. This polling reaffirms LCV’s recent poll that shows voters across the country view climate change as a top tier issue in national politics going into 2020.
SPEAKING OF 2020: LCV is tracking what candidates are doing and saying to prioritize climate change and will be providing updates throughout the 2020 presidential primary, including with a new weekly round-up, the first of which can be found here. These roundups will include key news media, candidate videos and other campaign activities where climate is discussed.
STUDENT CLIMATE STRIKE: Students around the world are protesting inaction on climate change today, walking out of school and marching in the streets to tell politicians that something must be done to stop global warming. The movement, started by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, spread across 112 countries, involved schools across America with kids of all ages, and has largely been organized by the students themselves.
CONGRESS BUMPS BORDER WALL: The Senate formally and finally rejected Trump’s border wall national emergency declaration on Thursday with a 59-41 vote. Trump just vetoed the resolution, but this shows that Congress is taking Trump’s drastic and dangerous measures seriously.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Engagement, Jennifer Allen Aroz, said, “We applaud Congress for taking action to stop Trump’s power grab to force his xenophobic, racist and environmentally destructive wall.”
TRUMP’S BACKWARDS BUDGET: Trump’s proposed budget plan proves once again that the President will do everything in his power to bolster oil, gas, and coal companies while letting the environment falter. The budget proposes slashing EPA funding by 31 percent and Department of the Interior funding by 14 percent. Trump’s budget diverts funds for renewable energy programs to fossil fuel investments, resulting in increased funding for coal energy. He also proposed budget cuts for science, both in education and research capacities.
OUR TAKE: Former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol Browner said, “This isn’t a budget for a better America, it’s a budget for a sicker, dirtier America. The federal budget is about identifying priorities and driving investments that protect families across the country. The EPA budget truly is about how we prioritize clean air, clean water, stopping deadly pollution and holding polluters accountable. This budget fails to accomplish any of those priorities.”
SIGNED, SEALED, SLASHED: Trump and Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s budget proposal would practically eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund by slashing its budget by 95 percent. This comes in the wake of Congress passing a huge public lands bill that was signed into law this week, which permanently reauthorized the program. Will senators who just voted to permanently authorize LWCF now vote in favor of Bernhardt’s nomination for Interior Secretary after his budget proposes to decimate America’s best parks program?
OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “From their radical reductions in national monuments to their proposals to zero out funding for LWCF—including in the budget released just yesterday—President Trump and Acting Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s policies have been antithetical to the conservation gains in this legislation. They should receive no credit for this bill. Instead, they should acknowledge the popular, bipartisan support for conservation and stop selling out our public lands and waters to the fossil fuel industry and other polluters.”
TRUMP DRILLING PLAN EXPOSED: An Interior Department official revealed this week that the Trump administration will once again propose drilling in the Atlantic Ocean in the next draft of its offshore drilling plan, furthering the president’s agenda to help the fossil fuel industry at the expense of coastal economies and the environment. Acting Interior Secretary Bernhardt is the decision maker on this plan, so a vote by senators to confirm him as Interior secretary is a vote to expand offshore drilling. Trump has continuously talked about expanding oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters, and the administration has already been granting permits and waivers for companies to begin drilling in areas that would greatly harm marine life.
BIG OIL’S INFLUENCE ON TRUMP: An investigation by Greenpeace’s Unearthed found that BP lobbied the Trump administration to undo climate regulations and environmental protections. The effort helped ensure that methane limits were rolled back despite the company’s public push for Paris Agreement goals and agreements.
DEMS PUSH BACK ON TRUMP’S PANEL: A group of 11 Democratic senators introduced a bill, The Climate Security Act of 2019, in response to Trump’s climate denial panel. The measure would establish a State Department group that would strategize ways to address climate change and national security with fact-based data and science.
SHRED THE EVIDENCE: EPA staffers reportedly destroyed documents that they knew were being internally audited for budget security systems information. The documents contained information regarding budgetary data protections and security.
FUEL STANDARDS MOVE FORWARD: EPA Director Andrew Wheeler decided to move forward with finalizing new vehicle emissions standards instead of reopening talks with California officials regarding the standards. This move is depriving millions of people of commonsense pollution standards, while making our air dirtier, delaying our transition to a clean energy economy, and it will cost people more at the gas pump.
GND VOTE COMING SOON: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on the Green New Deal, meaning that a vote will be coming after they return from recess allowing only limited debate. Democrats have taken this opportunity to point out that this is a cynical political stunt by McConnell and Republicans have no plan for climate action. Minority Leader Schumer and other climate champions filed legislation to establish a Senate select committee on the climate crisis and have challenged Senate Republicans to join the Democratic caucus to sign on to a resolution that says climate change is real and that we must act.
LIFETIME DESTRUCTION: Neomi Rao has officially been confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court, filling Brett Kavanaugh’s vacancy. This is a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, and we opposed her nomination because of “her long record opposing environmental and other public protections as unnecessary burdens on corporate freedom.
UNIFIED IN OPPOSITION: LCV’s Tiernan Sittenfeld joined with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie Hirono, as well as Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and leaders from Alliance for Justice, NAACP, Lambda Legal, and Planned Parenthood, at the steps of the Supreme Court to oppose Neomi Rao’s nomination and to protect our courts. The full rally can be viewed here.
POC MOST IMPACTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE: A new study from the National Academy of Sciences shows the widespread issue of environmental racism, with Black and Latinx people in this country being most affected by climate change and pollution. While mass consumption by mostly white and upper-class citizens contributes the most to global warming and climate-related problems, people of color are the ones who face the brunt of the effects.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: While the Trump administration continues to undermine and rollback important environmental protections, state and local leaders are moving forward with climate action and helping us transition to a clean energy economy.
NEVADA: Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that his state will be joining the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of 23 states whose governors have vowed to stay on pace with the goals of the Paris accords in spite of Trump’s proposed and implemented rollbacks of environmental regulations. So far, every new Clean Energy for All governor has joined the U.S. Climate Alliance since taking office in January, showing elections have consequences.
WASHINGTON: In Washington late last week, the state Senate passed a bill that would mandate 100 percent clean energy by 2045, and state utilities would have to quit coal power by 2025. The bill goes to the state legislature next, and if passed, would add The Evergreen State to a growing list of places in the U.S. that are adopting bold renewable energy targets.
NEW MEXICO: The New Mexico state legislature passed the Energy Transition Act this week, which sets the goal for the state to go 100 percent coal-free by 2045. “New Mexico legislators heard voters loud and clear when we said we want our state to confront climate change head-on – and we applaud them for taking action,” said Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico. The bill is headed to the desk of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to be signed into law.
MARYLAND: The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act passed the state’s economic and finance committees this week, moving the state closer to relying more on clean energy. The bill would require 50 percent of energy sources to be renewable by 2030. A floor vote is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
COLORADO: A bill in Colorado that would drastically reform the state’s oil and gas industry passed the state Senate on Wednesday and is headed to the House next. “We urge the House to act swiftly to pass these common-sense reforms, and send them to [Governor Jared Polis] to sign so we can put Coloradans’ health and safety first,” said Conservation Colorado Director Kelly Nordini.
IDAHO: The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously passed legislation on Monday that would protect the rights of homeowners regarding solar panel installations. The bill is now headed to the state House. “H158 has cleared the Senate, paving the way for better energy options for Idaho residents,” Idaho Conservation Voters tweeted in regard to the bill.
TBD – Hearings begin for David Bernhardt for Interior Secretary.