“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on environmental racism and injustice..it has left frontline communities far more susceptible to [COVID-19] and other diseases. That is because for many years powerful elites have used communities of color as sacrifice zones. We must ask ourselves — are we going to continue with the status quo, or are we going to build a future where every community can thrive?”
— Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources Representative Deb Haaland during the New Mexico environmental justice forum.
“None of this is normal, and confronting climate change is on the ballot this year. Vote, as early as you can, for a habitable planet.”
— Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton via Twitter, in response to the devastating fires in California.
“Compton residents: Please stay indoors due to a chemical spill in the area. It has been contained, but exercise caution. This is yet another example of why we need better environmental safety regulations in our neighborhoods.”
— California state Senator Holly J. Mitchell via Twitter, in response to the chemical spill in Compton, a city in Los Angeles. Yet another example of environmental racism.
Rolling Stone: Pearl Jam Announce Massive Voting Initiative
U.S. News & World Report: Trump Expands Offshore Drilling Pause in Florida, Georgia, S.C.
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): ‘Growing Climate Solutions Act’ gives farmers a seat at the carbon market table
Florida Phoenix (FL): Vote as if your life depends on it, because this time it does
Akron Beacon Journal (OH): Savings from HB 6 nuclear bailout don’t add up, advocacy groups say
FIGHTING BACK: With Trump claiming this week to be “the great environmentalist,” LCV Victory Fund’s leadership team held an in-depth webinar about how we are fighting back, which included sharing the results of our 2020 independent expenditure programs to-date and a preview of our ramped up paid media and field organizing plans for the final two months of the election. LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith and National Campaigns Directors Emily Crerand and Megan Jacobs announced an unprecedented total investment of at least $100 million across LCV entities, presented new multi-million dollar IE programs, including a $10 million Get Out The Vote effort beginning Sept. 14, and shared new environmental polling of swing voters in the presidential race.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Donald Trump went to Florida this week to greenwash his dangerous anti-environmental record because he knows voters want to see action on climate — and that’s exactly why we’re investing $100 million to get him and his climate denying evangelists out of office. We are leaving everything on the field because Trump and anti-environment Republicans have put the health and safety of our communities, especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, at extreme risk.”
GREENROOTS LAUNCH: This week, LCV announced the launch of the 2020 GreenRoots member mobilization program. Since 2012, LCV has mobilized members through its GreenRoots program to help elect pro-environment candidates endorsed by LCV Action Fund. Thousands of LCV members have knocked on doors, made phone calls, waved signs and rallied in green t-shirts to help elect environmental champions. This year, amidst a pandemic, the program will look different, but we know our members are excited to do safe and virtual voter outreach. The GreenRoots program has adapted, putting its $1.3 million budget behind recruiting and training 75 program staff, who will organize members in 15 states — the largest number in the GreenRoots program’s history — calling, texting, and engaging with members through online events.
OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We’ve seen all too clearly what happens when we have an anti-science president and Senate majority in charge during the crises of the last several months, and it’s never been more important that we elect leaders who will build back better for a more just and equitable future. LCV is thrilled to launch our 2020 GreenRoots program to mobilize our members to take action for climate and environmental justice champions up and down the ballot. We have 55 days left — let’s make the most of them.”
DOUBLE TAKE: LCV Acting National Organizing Director Jennessa Agnew said, “Voter outreach might look different this year, but it’s more important than ever that LCV members are in the fight to put climate and environmental justice leaders in office by contacting and educating voters. Our members are energized and ready to do what it takes to help elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, flip the Senate, and expand the pro-environment majority in the House.”
THRIVE ACT: This week, Congressional Democrats released a congressional resolution, the THRIVE Act, which lays out a powerful vision for rebuilding from the pandemic that centers racial, economic and environmental justice. This resolution, which LCV supports, is intended to help set the agenda for economic renewal in 2021 – at both the federal and state levels. Senator Markey pointed out, “We are going to have an incredible economic revolution in this country that provides the jobs of the future, while ensuring that we deal with the historic inequities. We know that Black and Brown families have always breathed different air than suburban white communities.”
MONTANA’S HIGHEST BIDDER: This week, EDF Action Votes and LCV Victory Fund launched a $3 million Montana television ad campaign titled, “The Highest Bidder”, spotlighting Senator Steve Daines’ record of putting special interests and out-of-state billionaires ahead of Montana families and their public lands, including threatening access for hunters and anglers. The ad hits Daines for his ties to Texas billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks who are “pushing a radical anti-public-lands agenda across the Rocky Mountain West.”
OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Megan Jacobs said, “Senator Daines sides with the billionaire Wilks Brothers and corporate interests that fund his campaign – not Montanans. Steve Daines’ six percent lifetime LCV score and long anti-public lands, anti-environment record speaks for itself. We aren’t buying Daines’ politically convenient conservationism.”
TAKING ON THE TRUMPIEST HOUSE DISTRICTS: This week, LCV Victory Fund announced an initial investment of $1.15 million to protect and expand the pro-environment-led House of Representatives and launched new ads to re-elect Rep. Andy Kim in NJ-03, re-elect Rep. Anthony Brindisi in NY-22, and re-elect Rep. Joe Cunningham in SC-01. LCV Victory Fund is partnering with House Majority PAC for the ad campaign to re-elect Rep. Cunningham in SC-01. President Trump won all three districts in the 2016 election. LCV Victory Fund’s 2020 poll of battleground House districts, in partnership with NRDC Action Votes, EDF Action, and House Majority PAC, found that environmental messaging, both critiques of anti-environmental politicians and positive messaging in support of environmental champions, can swing competitive House races.
OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Emily Crerand said, “In the final two months we’re investing big in some of the Trumpiest districts in the country because the vast majority of voters on both sides of the aisle want to see action on climate. Trump and anti-environment Republicans have put the health and safety of our communities, especially communities of color, at extreme risk — we need leadership in Washington who will fight for a just and equitable clean energy future.”
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE NOW: This week The House Committee on Natural Resources held a virtual forum hosted by Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Donald McEachin. The forum focused on environmental justice solutions in New Mexico and issues facing frontline communities there. McEachin and Grijalva were joined by several New Mexico community leaders, including Arturo Aribe who shared his powerful testimony of the environmental injustice he and his family faced. With COVID-19 still gravely affecting communities, we need solutions in order to move forward and ensure an equitable future for all.
HOUSE ENERGY PACKAGE: This week, LCV, NRDC, EDF, NWF, ELPC sent a letter to House leadership encouraging them to take up a clean energy innovation research, development, and deployment package soon. For the sake of our climate and our economy, we can’t wait to invest in the next set of breakthrough technologies. Past investments in clean energy innovation have spurred rapid growth of clean energy jobs, and Department of Energy needs the updated tools and direction to make sure future investments are made equitably for communities of color, and low-income, frontline, and fossil-fuel dependent communities and begin increasing those investments to the scale needed to tackle the climate crisis.
STATES LEADING CLIMATE CHANGE: State’s across the country continue to address the impacts of the pandemic and the economic crisis and leaders are calling for stimulus relief. But many have also made it clear they need any stimulus package to also focus on funding green infrastructure and building a clean energy economy. Under Trump, state’s have led this transition but federal funding is needed to make the major changes they know are needed.
ENERGY BILL REPEAL (OH): The Ohio Legislature heard debate for repealing HB6 this week, which bailed out the state’s largest nuclear energy plant and gutted clean energy and energy efficiency programs. The bill is at the center of a $60 million bribery scheme which led to the arrest of executives at the state’s largest utility and several legislators including the former Speaker of the House. A bi-partisan group of legislators made the case for repeal during this week’s hearings, with new House Speaker Bob Cupp vowing to address the issue by the end of the session in early December.
FORGIVING ENERGY BILLS DURING PANDEMIC (AZ): Dozens of community groups, including LCV partner Chispa Arizona, have called on Arizona’s largest utility to forgive $30 million in debt from energy bills due to the on going pandemic. Last year Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility asked for a $184 million rate increase that is still under review which organizations have pointed out would more than cover the debt several times over.
CLIMATE JUSTICE REPORT ON NORTH CAROLINA (NC): A new report from Center for American Progress shows the need for investment and focus on North Carolina’s communities of color to mitigate disproportionate impacts from climate change and pollution. As impacts from climate change increase, especially in low-lying coastal communities, the report shows the need for greater focus and tailored investments for communities’ needs.
Aliyah Rich Signs Off: Over the past year it has been an honor to provide you all with the tip sheet each week. I will be moving on to start at Western Values Project as the Deputy Press Secretary. I hope that this information found you well, and that you all will continue to be loyal readers of the tip sheet after my departure from LCV. Thank you!
September 14-18: Launch of Rep. Barbara Lee’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Commission Resolution
September 15 – October 15: Latinx Heritage Month
September 16: International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
September 30: Government funding expires
October 12: U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day
October 18: 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act
November 3: Election Day