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.
“I can play my part and so can you by putting pressure on our leaders to change their own industries for the better. You are the champions. You can change and restore the fight for our planet.”
— Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton on climate change at We Day UK charity event.
“Nature doesn’t bargain, and you cannot make deals with physics.”
— Greta Thunberg at the Environment Council in Brussels.
“Equity is a core pillar of the Clean Energy Jobs Act because environmental racism is at the core of the challenges we face. When we talk about these ideals, we must directly name the forces at play that put our communities at risk.”
— Chama St. Louis from Peoria People’s Project speaking at a rally at the Illinois capitol in support of passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act
E&E News: 5 takeaways from Super Tuesday congressional races
Mic: 2020 Democrats on the environment: How Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Bloomberg stack up
Colorado Times Recorder: In Election Year Shift, Cory Gardner Calls Himself a “National Leader” on Climate Change
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 (VA): Virginia passes sweeping law to mandate clean energy amid questions about cost
Associated Press (MD): Maryland bill would usher in zero-emission transit buses
Charleston Business Journal (SC): How South Carolina Became a National Clean Energy Model
Willamette Week (OR): Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Pledges Executive Order to Address Climate After Republican Walkout Ends Legislative Session
SCORECARD SEASON: On Thursday, March 12, LCV will release its 2019 National Environmental Scorecard, which is the primary yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of members of Congress. Stay tuned for more details on rollout.
SUPER TUESDAY: The much anticipated Super Tuesday saw a surge in Democratic voter turnout — the more the merrier! We sent out a memo ahead of Super Tuesday highlighting how the candidates campaigned on climate, and we included lots and lots of polling that shows climate is a priority in those key 14 states.
SUPER STATE CVM TAKE: In anticipation of Super Tuesday, the California League of Conservation Voters’ Communications Director Jennifer Molina wrote a blog highlighting some of the specific climate related risks that California’s Latinx families face — ranging from poor air quality to droughts that are resulting in food and farmworker job insecurity. As Molina says, “Democratic candidates and national media coming to our state this week need to know that Latinos are watching who will fight for us. Immigration is all too important to our community. But we are more than a single-issue community and climate change touches every aspect of our daily lives.”
BEYOND PRESIDENTIAL: Super Tuesday also proved successful for two pro-climate, LCV Action Fund endorsed candidates: Cal Cunningham, who won his North Carolina Senate primary, and Christy Smith, who is advancing to a runoff election for California’s 25th congressional district. Big congrats to these two candidates.
ENERGY BILL: The Senate will be voting soon on the energy package that Senators Manchin and Murkowski introduced last week. While the bill does include some pro-environmental provisions and is getting long overdue movement in the Senate, it also includes a lot of harmful bills that do not nearly enough to address pollution and create clean energy. There is a push to improve it by adding pro-environment amendments on building efficiency codes, super pollutant HFCs, clean energy tax incentives, and existing mercury emissions standards, which would make the overall bill far better on fighting climate change.
LWCFinally?: This week, new bipartisan legislation fully and permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and addressing the national parks’ maintenance backlog was introduced in the Senate, with the possibility of being brought to the Senate floor soon. LWCF is America’s premier conservation program, helping to protect public lands, preserve historical sites, and create community parks to more equitably share nature’s benefits with all communities.
OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “It is long past time to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We’re glad that there is bipartisan momentum behind this new legislation. Let’s get the job done.”
WHEELER AND BERNHARDT’S JANKY TESTIMONY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler testified this week at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing regarding the destructive budget cuts the Trump administration proposed. Wheeler supported these cuts of nearly 30 percent stating, “I don’t think it will affect us.” Meanwhile, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee, where senators grilled him on the ways he has been prioritizing the oil and gas industry while ignoring climate change.
CLIMATE DENIAL MALARKEY: More of Trump’s BS. According to documents reviewed by the New York Times, the Department of the Interior has included climate denial language in at least nine of their scientific reports. On multiple occasions and in multiple emails, Indur M. Goklany, who is responsible for reviewing the agency’s climate policies, said that there was a general lack of agreement between scientists that global warming exists. He even loudly and wrongly suggests that rising CO2 levels are beneficial. The Trump administration continues to take us backward on the environment and spew inaccurate information.
DEMOCRACY MATTERS: The one year anniversary of the House passing H.R. 1, the “For the People” Act, is here! H.R. 1 would protect our democracy by: strengthening election security, addressing voter suppression and ending partisan gerrymandering. Nevertheless, since the bill passed the House last March, it has sat in McConnell’s legislative graveyard 👎. While all House Democrats have signed in support of the bill, Jeff Van Drew is the only Republican cosponser. H.R. 1 would restore faith in our democracy and should be supported by all.
+700 OF OUR FRIENDS (IL): Our state affiliate, the Illinois Environmental Council, helped organize over 700 people from across the state in Springfield to advocate for the Clean Energy Jobs Act. With over 100 community meetings informing this legislation, it’s built to achieve 100% renewable energy in Illinois by 2050, create a carbon free grid by 2030, reduce pollution from the transportation sector, and generate jobs throughout Illinois, while ensuring that the communities most affected by coal emissions feel the benefits of clean energy. CEJA also seeks to create Clean Jobs Workforce Hubs, a network of frontline organizations that would provide support for communities that have borne the brunt of environmental racism over the years..
COMMUNITY TAKE: At the clean energy lobby day, leaders from across the coalition spoke at a rally and highlighted the ways the Clean Energy Jobs Act would benefit Illinois’ communities. Octavius Hayes from Clean Power Lake Country said, “While fossil fuel companies shutter plants and abandon communities, #CEJA plans for these changes and provides programs to help workers and communities adapt and forge resilient, economic futures.”
BU$ BUCK$ (MD): With just a month left in Maryland’s legislative session, a bill to replace the state’s bus fleet with electric and zero-emissions models continues to garner well-deserved attention. As Hugh Garbrick’s WTOP article points out, getting this effort across the finish line would be the “equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road,” and, in the long run, would save the state some cash 💰💰💰.
CVM TAKE: In the WTOP article, Maryland League of Conservation Voters Deputy Executive Director Ramon Palencia-Calvo had this to say, “Electric buses are more cost effective than diesel buses. They cost more upfront. Savings in fewer operations and maintenance throughout the life of the bus makes it more cost effective.”
ABSENTEEISM (OR): Oregon’s Republican legislators physically abandoned their duty to legislate and find solutions to their constituents’ most urgent concerns (ahem, the climate crisis) by running out the clock on the legislative session, which adjourned Thursday. What’s more? Republican deserter Cedric Hayden is bragging about his tax-payer funded vacation, saying, “My family and I have been in three states in the last week with more in the schedule.” 👎
CVM TAKE: On Twitter, Oregon League of Conservation Voters pointed out, “After the 2019 walkout, Oregon’s Republican legislators received $20,000 from fossil fuel Koch Industries. How much are polluters paying them for the walk-out this time?”
PAVING THE WAY (SC): South Carolina is leading the way in effective bipartisan collaboration on clean energy legislation, and the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Patrick Hoff talked about it with Conservation Voters of South Carolina’s John Tynan. Last year, the South Carolina General Assembly unanimously passed the Energy Freedom Act, growing South Carolina’s renewable energy commitment. And as Tynan points out, there are three reasons that clean energy has become bipartisan: it lowers energy bills, reduces pollution and transitions the state to the 21st century.
CVM TAKE: Conservation Voters of South Carolina Executive Director John Tynan said, “We, in the last few years, have really forged new ground and shown how you can have bipartisan agreement on efforts to grow a viable, clean energy marketplace that’s going to lower barriers for ratepayers, reduce pollution across the state and create tens of thousands of jobs for our residents.”
CLEAN ECONOMY ACT (VA): Both Houses of Virginia’s legislature passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the boldest plan in Virginia’s history to address climate change and accelerate our transition to renewable energy to power our daily lives. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) will transition Virginia to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045 and, critically, ensure that the low income communities and communities of color most impacted by toxic pollution and climate change will have access to affordable clean power and new clean energy jobs. Additionally, the legislation will implement the state’s first-ever mandatory renewable portfolio standard, require investments in energy efficiency instead of costly infrastructure, and make it easier to install rooftop solar in Virginia.
CVM TAKE: Mike Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, which played a critical role in both last year’s historic elections and this year’s lobbying efforts had this to say: “Voters demanded climate action in November and the legislature just delivered in a big way. This is a true turning point in the climate fight here in Virginia, as we take our place among the top states in the nation working to cut emissions and move away from dirty fossil fuels.”
DOUBLE TAKE: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Mike Town put out a memo on the passage of the VCEA. The memo details Virginia’s efforts to mobilize public support for the bill and what they did to achieve this huge goal. Additionally, the memo also contains next steps in the process and other climate bills Virginia legislature has passed.
CLEAN AIR SOUNDS PRETTY DARN GREAT (WA): Washington Conservation Voters is pushing to update their state’s Clean Air Act. This updated version would close a loophole that currently does not hold the state’s biggest polluters accountable for their contribution to climate change. Washington Conservation Voters put out this video via twitter to inform the public on why the bill needs support.
CVM TAKE: Washington Conservation Voters’ President Alyssa Macy and allies contributed an op-ed to Herald Net discussing the importance of updating the Clean Air Act and passing a Clean Fuel Standard. The piece urged the Senate to take bold action this year on climate change before its session ends next week.
March 1-31: Women’s History Month
March 8: International Women’s Day
March 10: NEPA rule comment period deadline
🚨March 12🚨: LCV Scorecard Release
March 15: Democratic Presidential debate in Phoenix, Arizona