“You might not like politics, but guess what — if we don’t act now our kids aren’t going to like having to stay inside all summer because it’s too hot to play outside or have clean air to breathe. If we don’t do something now our kids will be the ones forced to clean up our mess.”
— Jennifer Lopez in a video interview about the #votelikeamadre campaign, featured in a People article.
“Issues of justice should unite us all. Racial justice, economic justice, climate justice, justice for our family farmers being squeezed out by corporate farms, immigrant rights, equality regardless of how you identify, who you love, or who you pray to is what will push us forward”
— Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes via Twitter.
“If Donald Trump is reelected president, the likely result will be irreversible changes to the climate that will degrade the quality of life of every subsequent generation of human beings, with millions of lives harmed or foreshortened.”
— Dave Roberts in Vox article on how “A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate”.
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:
Arizona Central (AZ): APS asked to forgive debt from unpaid bills due to pandemic and hot summer
CommonWealth Magazine (MA): New England needs to go all in on offshore wind
Tampa Bay Times (FL): Trump’s secret plan to open Florida to offshore oil drilling must be stopped | Column
VOTE BY MAIL CAMPAIGN: This week, LCV launched a new $400,000 ad campaign to encourage North Carolina voters who historically face barriers to the ballot box or who have never voted by mail before to request a vote by mail ballot. The ad, “Signed, sealed, delivered,” emphasizes how easy it is to request a mail ballot, and it will run on digital platforms. The new ad campaign is part of LCV’s $6.5 million effort to encourage close to 750,000 voters across the country to request ballots ahead of the November election. In addition to educational ads, program organizers are sharing basic information about how to request an absentee ballot with voters over the phone, asking the voters to commit to vote by mail or in person, and following up with all committed voters with a text message.
OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Civic Engagement Matt Davis said, “More people than ever before will vote by mail this year due to the coronavirus pandemic — we’re launching this ad campaign to make the process as safe and easy as possible for historically underrepresented communities, especially voters of color and young voters. There’s no blueprint on how to mobilize voters to turnout during a global pandemic, but research shows that when people need to switch vote methods, education is critical to prevent suppressive impacts.”
NATIONAL POLL WORKER RECRUITMENT DAY: National Poll Worker Recruitment Day was on September 1st and the need to cultivate a new generation of poll workers have never been higher! With the pandemic causing thousands of traditional poll workers to drop out, the shortage capacity can lead to the same challenges we saw in the primaries, like voters waiting in line for hours to cast their ballot and poll closures. Amidst a pandemic and never-ending Trump administration attacks on our democracy we need to make voting as accessible as possible. In response, LCV emailed our membership, celebrating poll workers and providing resources to become poll workers in their communities. Over 1,500 people signed up to get involved in the polls! As we face a shortage of poll workers all over the county — most noticeably in communities of color, which leads to more and more voter disenfranchisement — now is as crucial time as ever to get involved!
CLEAN CARS COALITION: LCV joined a coalition letter with eight other environmental groups that gathered nearly 300,000 signatures calling for Toyota, GM, and Fiat Chrysler to support clean car standards. The Trump administration’s rollback of federal clean car standards and states’ rights to set stronger standards will continue to impact the health of communities everywhere — particularly communities of color who, because of structural racism, live closer to freeways and have higher rates of asthma. We need strong clean car standards to help fight climate change, clean up our air, and make it easier to breathe for everyone.
TOXIC WASTE DUMPING: This week, the Trump administration rolled back yet another critical environmental safeguard, the EPA’s limitations on wastewater pollution from coal power plants, (aka the Clean Water Act Steam Electric Effluent Limitation Guidelines) This action will allow polluters to dump their toxic wastewater into our streams and rivers, affecting wildlife and drinking water. This is another push from the Trump administration to save the coal industry while putting the health of millions at risk.
OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Not even the worst public health crisis in over a century can stop the Trump administration’s blind loyalty to polluters at the expense of the health and safety of our communities. This disastrous rule will allow coal power plants to continue dumping toxic wastewater–filled with dangerous pollutants like lead, mercury, and arsenic–into the same waterways that our families drink from and play in. And of course always true to his brand, by weakening these safeguards, Trump is perpetuating environmental racism, prohibiting meaningful public input and disregarding the health of Black and Brown communities who often already suffer from polluted drinking water and will be disproportionately impacted by this despicable action.”
MARKEY’S PRIMARY ENORMOUS WIN FOR CLIMATE: Senator Markey’s resounding win in Massachusetts’s primary signaled that climate change remains a winning issue for voters, as Senator Markey has proved a long-standing leader fighting the climate crisis and “more Democrats will embrace bold climate action.” LCV mobilized its members to volunteer with Senator Markey’s campaign and environmental donors contributed over $235,000 to Markey’s campaign via GiveGreen. GiveGreen — a partnership between LCV Action Fund, NextGen America and the NRDC Action Fund PAC that helps grassroots donors directly contribute to pro-environment candidates — has already raised a record $31.9 million for the 2020 cycle. LCV Action Fund endorsed Markey back in August, 2019.
VOTE LIKE A MADRE: This week LCV’s Chispa and Latino Victory Fund launched the #votelikeamadre campaign, encouraging Latinx moms to pinky promise their children to vote for candidates who support action on climate change. The campaign features notable supporters like Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, and Zoe Saldana and outlines three steps to #VoteLikeAMadre: Make the pinky promise, post it to social media, and make a plan to vote. We need bold action on climate change, and madres are leading, promising to elect officials who will fight the climate crisis and protect their childrens’ future. The campaign focuses on battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Georgia to name a few.Check out all the social buzz on ChispaLCV twitter and Instagram posts.
CLIMATE NEEDS TO BE A FOCUS: With presidential and vice-presidential debates coming up and the moderators announced for them, LCV joined more than 40 environmental and progressive groups calling on the moderators to ensure the climate crisis is a central focus of all debates this year. As the letter puts it, “It is imperative the candidates seeking our nation’s highest office explain how they will address and prepare us for the current and increasing effects of the climate crisis and how they will combat the environmental injustice that has plagued Black and Brown communities for decades.” This follows a similar letter from 70 U.S. Representatives, which was covered by HuffPost.
PROTECT OUR AIR QUALITY: This week at an EPA public hearing, LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis delivered his testimony opposing the EPA’s proposal to not strengthen the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Davis, who as an EPA health scientist helped develop the 2015 ozone standard, made LCV’s opposition clear: “This would have been a bad policy decision even before we were facing a respiratory pandemic that is exacerbated by air pollution and laying bare the structural racism in our country — and now it is simply unthinkable.” Read his full testimony here!
RUNOFF VICTORY (AL): Conservation Alabama endorsed candidate for state representative Russell Bedsole advanced to the November election by defeating his opponent by 66 votes on September 1st in the runoff election. He will face Cheryl Patton in the November election. Conservation Alabama did a mailer in his race that helped tip the scales towards Bedsole’s way.
NUCLEAR BRIBERY SCANDAL HEARINGS (OH): Hearings began this week in the Ohio Legislature to discuss repealing HB6, the bill at the center of last month’s $60 million bribery scandal uncovered by federal investigators. Local utility FirstEnergy is charged with forcing legislators to pass HB6 which guts the state’s energy efficiency programs and clean energy standard and provided the company with millions in bailouts for their Ohio nuclear plant. Nearly universal calls from across the state demanded the legislature repeal this enormous cost to utility customers but some Ohio Republicans continue to drag their feet as the details are worked out, with some still defending the bill despite the clear inappropriate utility interference.
OFFSHORE WIND SUPPORT GROWS (MA): More than 40 organizations across New England joined together to announcement the formation of a new coalition to make offshore wind the dominant source of energy in the region. Environmental League of Massachusetts’ President Elizabeth Turnbull Henry explains in Commonwealth how, New England for Offshore Wind continues to build support and mobilize organizations to support new clean energy development and create equitable economic opportunities across the region. New England leads the nation in offshore development and continues to push its renewable energy targets to be some of the strongest in the country.
NEW JERSEY PASSES LANDMARK ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE BILL (NJ): New Jersey lawmakers have passed major new environmental protections for low-income communities. Following leadership from groups including the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, Ironbound Community Corporation, Clean Water Action and other allies, the state Assembly passed a bill (S232/A2212) last Thursday that seeks to promote environmental justice by ensuring that low-income communities of color are not burdened with unfair shares of pollution. This will affect how new projects in the state are developed and require that impacts on poor residents and communities of color are considered.
September 15 – October 15: Hispanic 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