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.
“We are at the edge of a cliff in regards to our timeline to save this planet and the Indigenous people will be the ones to lead the movement off of the edge.”
— 16 year old Indigenous climate activist Tokata Iron Eyes at climate rally in South Dakota
“There should be no ‘acceptable’ amount of risk we’re willing to take when it comes to water quality or the health of our children and families.”
— Representative Grace Napolitano in an op-ed, “Protecting California’s Clean Waters”
“The stories I heard in Window Rock on Navajo Nation last week were heartbreaking. It’s time to recognize injustice wrought on the Navajo, clean up the abandoned mines, and ensure that this tragedy never happens again.”
— House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva via Twitter
The Guardian: Political polarisation over climate crisis has surged under Trump
Washington Post- Energy 202: The Energy 202: Sunrise Movement to score 2020 candidates on Green New Deal — and yes, tweets count
KUNC: How Climate Change Is Shaping Colorado’s Senate Race
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:
WBTV (SC): Voters and presidential candidates attend democratic Blue Jamboree in record numbers
The News Review (OR): Proposed Oregon Ballot Measures Could Open New Front In Greenhouse Gas War
Rochester First (NY): Advocates back bill to legalize electronic bikes, scooters
The Laconia Daily Sun (NH): Join your children in confronting climate change
Cape May County Herald (NJ): LWCF Needs Final Legislation Push
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ON THE TRAIL: Senator Elizabeth Warren’s new environmental justice plan calls for cleaning up pollution that disproportionately affects low-income communities while building wealth and improving access to healthcare. Her plan would invest $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years in lower income neighborhoods affected by climate change and other pollutants, improve methods for assessing the risks and effects of climate change in these communities, and hold polluters accountable for putting these communities at risk. It’s clear that Warren understands the wide implications of the climate crisis, especially for frontline communities, who are too often left out of decision-making and solutions.
DO-NOTHING SENATE? NOT ON SCHUMER AND CARDIN’S WATCH: On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Ben Cardin announced their plans to force the Senate to vote to overturn the Trump administration’s dirty power scam. Earlier this year, the administration replaced Obama’s Clean Power Plan — the single largest step our country had ever taken to fight climate change — with this significantly weakened scam of a rule that lets polluters off the hook. As Leader Schumer put it, “Senate Democrats will not sit around and wait for Senator McConnell to finally wake up and take action, so next week we will force a vote to repeal the EPA’s dangerous rule that weakens critical standards to reduce emissions from power plants that significantly contribute to the climate crisis.”
WE’LL MISS YOU CHAIRWOMAN LOWEY: House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announced that she will be retiring in 2020. Chairwoman Lowey earned an impressive 94% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, and led an appropriations process in 2019 that resulted in House-passed bills that eliminated anti-environmental riders and exercised much-needed oversight over the Trump administration’s recklessness with our air, lands, waters, and communities.
OUR TAKE: Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We thank Chairwoman Nita Lowey for her distinguished record of service protecting New York’s environment and fighting to make clean air and clean water a reality for all communities. From her work to clean up the Hudson River and Long Island Sound to her environmental leadership on the House Appropriations Committee where she’s pushed for strong investments in the EPA, clean water, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and so much more, we will miss her advocacy in Congress. Chairwoman Lowey has been steadfast in her opposition to anti-environmental riders that have no place in spending bills and always ensures that our environmental values align with the government’s fiscal priorities.”
RETHINKING HISTORY: On this upcoming Monday, LCV will be observing Indigenous People’s Day — in our opinion, it’s time to diversify our country’s historically white, male perspective and embrace a more accurate and inclusive national story. We have put together a blog that reflects on our country’s indigenous roots and features Indigenous voices from our movement. Read more here.
OUR TAKE: Chispa Arizona Organizing Director Dulce Juarez says, “As a Latinx woman of color, I recognize my indigenous roots and honor the teachings of our ancestors. The love for my daughter and all children, my love for Mother Earth and holding the future seven generations in my heart and mind are what motivates me to do this work. All this ancestral wisdom is what has shaped how and why I work towards environmental justice. As Latinx people, it’s important to recognize our Indigenous roots.”
CVM TAKE: Protégete Community Organizer Noe Orgaz says, “Our resilience and the lack of representation for all first nations forces us to defend our stories and ensure our ancestors are not forgotten. We educate our children about our true identity and insert a connection with our ancestors. Conservation is embedded in the story of the first people in this body of land we call America. Indigenous people are in relation with this land; we don’t believe the land is something to conquer. This is the narrative of the America I love to share.”
CLEAN ENERGY SAVES LIVES: In a blog this week, former LCV Intern Nia Dorsey shared her story about her grandmother living in one of the most polluted areas in Baltimore, Maryland. She recounts visiting her grandmother and seeing the large Wheelabrator Smokestacks, which, as an adult, she came to understand were having catastrophic health impacts on communities of color. She also highlights the steps Baltimore has recently taken to help put an end to the pollution and environmental injustice. You can read more about Nia’s story here.
FAT BEAR CHAMP: In healthy bear news, Holly has been crowned the fattest brown bear in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. For the past week, fans of the park have been voting on which bear they think is the plumpest and roundest. The employees of Katmai posted the photos on Facebook to give people a chance to cast their vote. Swooping in for the win was a beautiful brown bear, No. 435, named Holly. A friendly reminder from the folks at Katmai — fat bears are made possible by essential clean water and fishery protections. It is a great sight to see the bears getting all the food they need to gear up for a long hibernation and winter. See you in the spring Holly!
OREGON BALLOT INITIATIVE (OR): Last legislative session in Oregon, 11 Republican lawmakers fled the Capitol in a childish refusal to vote on economy-wide climate legislation. Without a quorum, the legislature couldn’t take up the important legislation, but now, the vote will be put in Oregonians’ hands in 2020. The Oregon League of Conservation Voters announced that they joined a coalition of environmental groups, small businesses, and climate activists to file two clean energy ballot measures. These measures will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality for all Oregonians.
FLORIDA CLEAN BUSES (FL): Florida took a big leap forward with protecting the future of families by using money provided by a Volkswagen settlement to invest in clean air. Governor DeSantis announced a $116.4 million dollar initiative to take old diesel buses off the road. This money would also be used as a first come first serve basis to get electric buses on the road as a replacement. The initiative will first be implemented in areas that are considered a top priority for improving air quality, including Miami, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Jacksonville and Pensacola.
CVM TAKE: Florida Conservation Voters Education Fund Executive Director Aliki Moncrief told the Orlando Sentinel, “The Governor listened. Today’s commitment to clean energy will help leave our children with a better world, both by cleaning their air and reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. ”
GOVERNOR’S TAKE: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said, “My administration is committed to making smart investments to help improve our state’s air quality long-term. This funding will allow us to focus on projects that will reduce harmful emissions, help modernize school and transit bus fleets, and provide access to charging stations in our state as electric vehicle usage continues to increase.”
October 15: Fourth Democractic Debate
Week of October 28: Potential votes on three bills to protect the Grand Canyon from mining, Chaco Canyon from oil and gas drilling, and Colorado wilderness areas.