This Week In Climate (In)Action


Oct 25, 2019

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.


“[Communities of Color and the global south] are least likely to be able to escape or to make the transitions that others who maybe have more wealth can do.” 

— Dr. Mustafa Ali, testifying before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties about Big Oil’s deception and its impact on communities of color

The more we learn, the more obvious it becomes that we must make dramatic greenhouse gas reductions as soon as possible.”

— House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Chair Paul Tonko at a hearing on building a 100% clean economy 

“Global warming is already wreaking havoc and displacing populations across the country and around the world. Minority communities are already among the hardest hit.”

— Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing on Big Oil’s deception




IndyMatters: Climate Change in the 2020 Election

The Hill: Trump’s new executive orders fast-track weakening of environmental policies

Washington Post: Schumer vows to take 63 million gas-powered cars off the road as part of climate plan

Orlando Sentinel: U.S. automakers must fight Clean Air Act rollback


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:

CT Insider (CT): Offshore wind development in CT could mean jobs for Bridgeport


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

TRUMP’S AT IT AGAIN: Trump visited Pittsburgh this week to attend the annual Shale Insight Conference. During his destructive and anti-environment speech, he reiterated his plan to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, complained about “witch hunts” and bragged about building a wall in Colorado. Since taking office,Trump’s administration has rolled back many pro-environmental laws, including scrapping the Clean Power Plan set in place under the Obama administration, rewriting clean water regulations and making offshore drilling easier.  

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The majority of people in the United States say that climate change is an emergency, yet President Trump’s response to the greatest challenge of our time is the same every time: take us backwards. His withdrawal from the Paris agreement is irresponsible and dangerous. His proud comments that he is ‘opening federal lands and offshore areas’ to drilling and has ‘opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas’ are unconscionable. These moves would harm our coastal economies, threaten majestic wildlife and put the livelihoods of so many at risk.”

BEEP BEEP, WHO’S GOT THE KEYS TO THE (ZERO EMISSIONS) JEEP?: In a New York Times opinion piece, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced  a plan to rapidly transition our country to entirely zero-emission vehicles by 2040. The plan will ensure that electric vehicles and infrastructure are accessible to all people in this country, particularly those in low-income and rural communities, and it will make the U.S. a leader in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing. With environmentalists, labor and large automakers supporting the plan, Schumer sums it up: “This proposal is about American jobs, American global economic leadership and protecting the planet.  Nothing could be more worthy of pursuit.” 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “With communities around the country suffering the ravages of climate change and communities of color and low-income communities bearing the brunt of those impacts and health effects of air pollution, Democratic Leader Schumer’s proposal is a big and welcome piece of a needed solution.This comes at a critical time and stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back clean car standards and stand in the way of American innovation. We need both strong standards for tailpipe emissions from the EPA and incentives like these to clean up our transportation sector.”

DOUBLE TAKE: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner had this to say: “While the Trump administration is rolling back standards that make cars cleaner and safer, we have leaders like Senator Schumer putting forward sensible, achievable and thoughtful ideas aimed at addressing the climate crisis and making solutions more affordable for lower-income families. The transportation sector is the leading source of carbon pollution and consumers are demanding cars that produce less of it. We need more bold action and ideas that will protect our health and environment and expand jobs related to clean energy, including jobs in the auto industry.”

CAROL’S GOT THE KEYS TOO: LCV Board Chair and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner wrote an op-ed featured in the Orlando Sentinel about Trump’s rollback of clean car standards and initiatives. She talks about how this current administration has gone too far in revoking these standards and is jeopardizing the health of all people in this country. She also urges for the auto industry to stand up and support the Clean Air Act. You can read the article here.

HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE: LCV sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke to a Nevada seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. VanDyke lacks meaningful connections to Nevada, his personal and legal stances are at odds with the values of Nevadans, and his extreme and offensive positions raise serious concerns about his ability to fairly judge issues on our court. 

OUR TAKE: In the letter, LCV President Gene Karpinski writes, “VanDyke’s nomination is part of a disturbing pattern by the Trump Administration to nominate federal judges with extreme ideological backgrounds and a lack of experience for the deliberate purpose of perpetuating conservative policies.” 

EXPOSING BIG OIL: The House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing on Wednesday to examine decades of climate denial in the oil industry and the ways it disproportionately affected people of color. Two former Exxon employees in their testimony confirmed allegations that Exxon funded efforts to deny climate change despite knowing that fossil fuels were contributing to the problem. The two hour hearing focused on the ways this denial has more acutely impacted communities of color, and highlighted that the fossil fuel industry has used its money and power to drown out the voices of people across this country who are paying the price of climate change.  Republican witness Mandy Gunasekara stated that the hearing was “not premised on facts”.The kicker — scientists who testified brought the receipts.

MINE YOUR BUSINESS: The House Natural Resources committee voted on several bills from Chairman Raúl Grijalva to update an antiquated mining law and protect miners’ pensions and health benefits. Mining laws on public lands have changed very little since their creation in 1872 under the Grant administration, and as Grijalva put it, “The mining industry has had a free ride from American taxpayers since 1872…We have to deal with the major consequences these extractive industries have had on our communities, especially communities of color who have taken the brunt of much of the industry’s pollution.”

OUR TAKE: LCV signed onto a coalition letter in support of Chairman Grijalva’s Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act, highlighting that the bill “would correct the environmental and taxpayer inequities promoted by the 1872 Mining Law” and “ensure that any mining on public lands takes place in a manner that protects crucial drinking water supplies and other natural resources, special places, taxpayers, fish and wildlife habitat, and the health and well-being of our communities.”

+MOAR CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS: In addition to Oversight and Natural Resources Committee business on climate change, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis held a hearing on natural solutions to the crisis, and an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee considered transportation solutions for building a 100 % clean economy. As climate change continues to be a top issue, we’re seeing it reflected all across House Committees’ business. 

30×30: On Tuesday, Senators Tom Udall and Michael Bennet introduced a resolution setting a goal of conserving at least 30% of of our country’s land and oceans  by 2030. The resolution provides insights into scientists’ views that protecting 30% of the planet in a natural state is a key strategy to avoid mass wildlife extinctions. In addition to Udall and Bennet, the resolution is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Chris Van Hollen, Jeff Merkley, Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, and Elizabeth Warren.

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “We thank Senators Udall, Bennet and the rest of the supporters of this resolution for demonstrating visionary leadership and urging the United States government to commit to this bold, necessary conservation goal. With one million species at risk of extinction and the continental United States losing a football field of natural area to development every 30 seconds, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a crisis of nature that threatens humans as much as it does wildlife. We desperately need to preserve more of the Earth in its natural state. It’s time for the U.S. government to listen to the science and preserve 30% of our land and oceans by 2030.” 

CLEAN WATER IS A RIGHT: LCV Communications Associate Aliyah Rich published a blog this week about clean water and racial justice and equity in her home state. In the blog, she talks about the contaminated water system in Newark, NJ and how hundreds of thousands of residents are without clean drinking water due to outdated lead pipes. She also discusses how racial injustice plays a huge part in this crisis. To read the full story click here

OUR PUBLIC LANDS ARE FOR EVERYONE: LCV Legal and Compliance Coordinator Kevin O’Brien shared his personal story about hiking the Appalachian Trail this past summer. He recounts that, while on his journey, an overwhelming majority of hikers were white. The blog examines the racial divide that exists in our public lands and national parks. Read more about Kevin’s story here. 

GENE’S FIRED UP: LCV President Gene Karpinski sat down with IndyMatters and head of Nevada Conservation League Andy Maggi to discuss climate change and how the 2020 presidential candidates are discussing it. The bottom line — there is still much more discussion on climate change to be had among the candidates. Karpinski, in particular, shared his thoughts about CNN and their poor moderating during the 4th Democratic debate, where not a single question on climate change was asked. You can listen to the full podcast here


SHOW ME THE MONEY (VA): The Virginia League of Conservation Voters PAC announced that they are pouring more money into electing pro-environment candidates to state legislature. In an attempt to secure conservation majorities in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia LCV PAC is investing approximately $1.5 million in this year’s elections, which is a huge jump from their 2015 state legislative race investments. The investment will include programmatic in-kind contributions and direct contributions.

CVM TAKE: Virginia LCV Executive Director Michael Town said, Election Day will be pivotal for Virginia’s future – our environment, our health, and our economy – and our expanded program reflects this urgency. We must elect candidates in November who will act to address the climate crisis and protect our environment and health instead of catering to corporate polluters – we simply can’t afford further inaction and obstruction at the General Assembly.”

TASK FORCE ASSEMBLE!! (WI): As we highlighted last week, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced that he will be assembling a task force that will combat climate change. We have good news: Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann will serve on the task force. With Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes at the helm of the task force, we look forward to seeing their  ideas to help cut pollution and meet the standards of the Paris Agreement


Week of October 28: Legislation on the floor of the House to protect public lands around the Grand Canyon, Chaco Culture Historical Park, and in the state of Colorado.

November 1: Iowa Democratic Party Liberty and Justice Celebration

November 7: The Weather Channel’s Climate Special with 2020 Candidates 

November 17: Nevada Democratic Party “First in the West” Event 

November 20: Fifth Democratic Primary Debate in Georgia

November 21: Expiration of government funding