This Week In Climate (In)Action


May 3, 2019


“We need climate policy that works #ForThePeople, not corporate polluters.  That’s why I’m leading the @Climate Crisis committee and that’s why we’re voting for #ClimateActionNow.”

— House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chairwoman Kathy Castor Tweeted along with an LCV video featuring members of the select committee.  .


“Combating the climate crisis is a moral imperative that compels us to act to ensure we live in and leave behind a healthier, safer and more sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.”

— Representative Joe Neguse via Twitter on Wednesday.



This week, LCV Victory Fund launched the Beat Trump Presidential Climate Unity Fund in partnership with the NRDC Action Fund PAC and NextGen America. The fund, which exists through the three groups’ already-successful GiveGreen fundraising platform, will raise  money for the eventual pro-environment presidential nominee who will face Trump in the 2020 general election. Donors also have the option to give to individual primary candidates who have elected to be featured on the GiveGreen website. LCV Victory Fund President Gene Karpinski said, “While Democratic presidential candidates will have spent the primary season demonstrating a real commitment to climate action to the voters, Trump will have spent this time building his coffers from his polluting corporate donors.”




BuzzFeed News: Powerful Environmental Groups Are Teaming Up To Create A Fundraising Machine To Defeat Trump

The New York Times: Beto O’Rourke Releases $5 Trillion Climate Change Proposal

The Hill: Green groups launch the ‘Beat Trump Presidential Climate Unity Fund’

Roll Call: Here are the 3 Republicans who bucked Trump on the Paris climate accord

E&E News: Greens launch fundraising drive to unseat Trump



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:


Virginia Mercury (VA): Northam won’t veto GOP budget language that could cripple carbon-capping plan

The Associated Press (NV): Conservationists promise fight over Nevada oil, gas leases

The Fresno Bee (CA): Congress needs to permanently fund land and water program to conserve public places

Westword (CO): Colorado Lawmakers Pass Key Climate Bill, Clock Ticking for Others

Florida Today: Why won’t the Florida Legislature fund land conservation?





CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: 2020 candidates are prioritizing climate change. Check out this week’s roundup of what candidates have said and done to put climate action front and center.


BETO’S CLIMATE PLAN: Beto O’Rourke announced a $5 trillion plan to deal with climate change if he were to become president. The plan includes funding for clean energy programs, sets the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 for the entire United States, and investments in the communities that are most impacted by pollution. Read our statement here.


INSLEE’S CLEAN ENERGY PROPOSAL: Governor Jay Inslee rolled out his 100% Clean Energy For America Plan that commits to a 100% clean electricity standard, zero-carbon pollution from new buildings and zero-emissions standards for new vehicles and buses by 2030. Read our statement here.


HOUSE DEMANDS CLIMATE ACTION NOW: For the first time in nearly a decade, the House passed climate legislation — H.R. 9 —  which would force Trump to make a plan to get the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement and back on track with climate goals.


BEFORE THE VOTE, TAKE 1: LCV President Gene Karpinski penned an op-ed in The Hill on Wednesday about the importance of H.R. 9 as a critical first step for action on climate change. “Despite the Trump administration’s abdication of responsibility as a global leader in addressing this crisis, our champions in the U.S. House and in states across the country are picking up the mantle to take strong, meaningful action on climate change,” he wrote.


BEFORE THE VOTE, TAKE 2: On Tuesday, LCV hosted a press call with House Democrats and advocates stressing the significance of H.R. 9. On the call: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Kathy Castor, Co-Chair of the United for Climate Environmental Justice Task Force Donald McEachin, and the Vice President of Government Relations at Ceres Anne Kelly. Leader Hoyer said, “H.R. 9 is a first step to get Congress off the sidelines and back into the game when it comes to beating the challenges posed by this threat.”


DAY OF THE VOTE, TAKE 1: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld had this to say: “Requiring the Trump administration to remain in the Paris Climate Agreement sends an important message to voters across the country who helped elect a pro-environment majority in the House: Elections have consequences.”


DAY OF THE VOTE, TAKE 2: National Chispa Director Fernando Cazares said: “Communities of color and low-income families feel the direct impacts of extreme weather and worsened air pollution…it’s time to rejoin the rest of the world in the fight against the climate crisis.”


NO DRILLING IN THE ARCTIC: On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation that would prohibit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “Today’s mark-up is a great milestone in the effort to prevent one of our most majestic wildlife refuges from being turned into an industrial oil field. We stand with the Gwich’in people in the fight to prevent drilling which would disrupt the porcupine caribou herd that is central to their subsistence way of life.”


DEMS DEMAND CLIMATE-CENTRIC INFRASTRUCTURE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with Trump on Tuesday to discuss how to improve the nation’s infrastructure, with both congressional leaders pledging to only go forward with a plan that takes climate change into consideration.


OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “We applaud the House and Senate Democratic leaders for once again emphasizing the importance of green infrastructure in their meeting with President Trump. An infrastructure package provides a critical opportunity to make significant progress on transitioning to a clean energy economy that will generate millions of family-sustaining jobs while helping communities prepare for the impacts of climate change many are already experiencing.”


INTERIOR ROLLS BACK DRILLING SAFETY RULES: This week the Interior Department weakened safety protections that were put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, a deadly blast at an oil rig that led to the worst oil spill in the country’s history. Environmental groups are warning that this endangers lives and could lead to another disaster. It’s no mystery why oil lobbyists want to loosen the rules. Interior says that over a decade the oil industry will save hundreds of millions of dollars.


INTERIOR DRILLING DEALINGS: Even though the Department of the Interior announced it was pausing the agency’s plans to expand oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) after our court victory in LCV v. Trump,  the agency is still reviewing seismic testing applications. Seismic testing is harmful to marine life, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have come out in opposition to the practice.


EPA AT ODDS WITH ITSELF: Late last week, the EPA published a 150-page report on how to deal with the effects of natural disasters, and throughout, it draws the link between climate change and increasingly catastrophic natural disasters. The EPA’s warnings of the immediate dangers of climate change are certainly at odds with agency head Andrew Wheeler’s belief that climate change won’t affect us for another “50 to 75 years,” suggesting there are  internal schisms at the agency that is charged with protecting our health and environment.


DANGEROUS EPA REVIEW: The EPA declared that a chemical commonly used in weed killers like Roundup is safe for people, despite it being linked to causing cancer. The agency said exposure to the chemical posed “no risks of concern” for people, but relied on industry-funded studies and ignored scientific evidence that tells the opposite story.


NEW POLL REVEALS  IMPORTANCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: A new CNN poll released this week shows that climate change is the top concern for a majority of Democratic voters.  Ninety-six percent of those voters indicated a strong desire for the next president to take serious and dramatic action on climate change.


CLIMATE CHANGE MATTERS FOR THE MILITARY: Navy and Marine Corps officials have said that climate change directly affects the military, and must be addressed for the sake of national security. At his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Marine Lt. Gen. David Berger was asked about climate change, responding that rising sea levels and increasing natural disasters are devastating for Marine Corps operations.


WEEKEND READ: HOW CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS WINE: An article by Eric Asimov, a wine critic at The New York Times, sheds light on ways the wine industry could be more eco-friendly. He makes the case that wine-drinkers must be outspoken if they want to see producers take climate change seriously and reduce their carbon footprint. “Just as politicians have little incentive to address climate change unless voters require it, many wine producers are less inclined to reduce their own carbon footprints unless consumers demonstrate that such steps are important to them,” Asimov writes.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: While Trump continues to undermine and roll back important environmental protections, state and local leaders are moving forward with climate action and helping us transition to a clean energy economy. Here are some highlights:


CALIFORNIA: On Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his climate plan for the city, laying out goals for vehicle emissions and efficiency, as well as clean air and water standards. Specifically, the plan aims for 80% of cars in LA to run on electricity or zero-emission fuel by 2035, with 80% of the electricity coming from clean energy.


COLORADO: The Colorado state legislature passed a bill this week that would curb emissions and cut pollution. It now heads to Governor Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law. Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini said, “Make no mistake: this is a big deal. The Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution ensures that we are doing our part to reduce carbon pollution and leave a livable, healthy Colorado to our kids and grandkids.”


MAINE: Maine Governor Janet Mills introduced a bill to the state legislature this week that would mandate 100% of the state’s electricity come from clean energy by 2050. It would also require 80% clean energy by 2030 and sets greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.


PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Tom Wolf joined the U.S. Climate Alliance this week, committing his state to clean energy standards and goals through his Climate Action Plan, including an increased reliance on clean energy. This makes Pennsylvania the 23rd state to join the alliance.




May 7-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt testifies before the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee on his agency’s FY20 budget.