THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE ACTION(!) – JULY 9, 2021

Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230

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.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK:

“People are getting it in their head that people are trying to live within the [wildland-urban interface], but that is not always the case. A lot of it isn’t a choice.”

— Erin Hanan, a fire ecologist at the University of Nevada-Reno, speaking on how Latinx communities are pushed into unsafe, wildfire-prone areas in a Politico article, “Wildfires threaten all of the West — and one group more than others.”

“Segregation causes the inequalities that lead to police patrolling certain neighborhoods more aggressively, why life expectancies are lower in some neighborhoods than others, why frontline workers are disproportionately residing in certain neighborhoods, and why some people don’t have access to clean air or water.” 

— Stephen Menendian, Director of Research at University of California Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute and lead author of a new study, “The Roots of Structural Racism Project.”

“The outdoors can be a really empowering place for a lot of queer and trans folks but it can also sometimes feel uniquely intimidating or stressful. You can be out there alone and you don’t necessarily know who else is out there or depending on your background, you might not feel a lot of fluency.”

— Out For Sustainability Board Member Sophia Paul in EcoWatch article, “Out for Sustainability: The Intersection of the LGBTQIA+ and Environmental Movements.”

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

E&E News: Greens to spend $10M pushing climate in infrastructure talks
Politico: Infrastructure planning underway ahead of July session
Washington Times: Progressives raise pressure on moderate Democrats to back party-line climate measure
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Outlet: The Jolt: Geoff Duncan’s got a war chest with no war
The Washington Examiner: Daily on Energy: Abbott pins grid troubles on renewable energy
Muse By Clio: How Branded Content Can Be Central to Meaningful DEI Strategy

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

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:

Insider NJ (NJ): New Digital Ads in New Jersey Encourage Reps. Kim (NJ-03) and Malinowski (NJ-07) to Continue to Fight For Clean Energy
Colorado Public Radio (CO): Drought And Fire Conditions In Western Colorado Are Dire. Can Congress Help?
Inside Climate News (OH): Inside Clean Energy: Offshore Wind Takes a Big Step Forward, but Remains Short of the Long-Awaited Boom
FR24 News (NY): New York Parks Benefit from Increased Funding Following Covid-related Cuts
Fox23 (ME): Maine lawmakers approve landmark recycling reform bill

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NEW AD ALERT!: This week, LCV launched a $10 million ad buy with Climate Power to raise up electeds across the nation who are showing support for clean energy investments, justice, and jobs. The ads will air on national cable as well as specific ads for 16 states, all urging Congress to take immediate, bold climate action to create millions of good-paying, union jobs in the clean energy sector, prioritize environmental justice for communities of color most harmed by toxic pollution, and confront the climate crisis. Our nation has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to act on climate and invest in clean energy infrastructure while addressing environmental injustices — Congress can’t wait to act.

CLIMATE POWER TAKE: Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes stated, “This is our climate moment. Climate-fueled extreme weather events, including fires, droughts, and storms, are battering communities across this country. The climate crisis is real and we have the workforce to fix it. The U.S. House and Senate must pass a strong reconciliation package that delivers on President Biden’s promise of 100% clean electricity and reducing pollution.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith stated, “We are out of time to act on the climate crisis and environmental justice and voters across the country know it. It’s imperative that Congress invests in climate, clean energy and high-quality union jobs at the scale science and justice demand in order to meet the moment, put our nation on the path to 100% carbon-free energy powering our electricity grid and new cars, buses, and buildings by 2035, and build healthy, safe communities.”

ADS FOR DEMOCRACY: Over the weekend, LCV, EDF Action Fund, Sierra Club, NRDC Action, and Clean Water Action launched ads thanking Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Mark Kelly, Maggie Hassan, Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, Jeff Merkley and Amy Klobuchar for their support of the For the People Act. The ads emphasized that we cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy — especially when communities who have been historically marginalized for decades continue to face barriers to participating in the electoral process.  In state legislative sessions this year, 48 states have already introduced, prefiled, or carried more than 389 bills to restrict or limit voting access. Enacting the For the People Act would supersede suppressive state laws written to further oppress Black and Brown voters, and modernize our voting system to ensure a consistent, accessible, and secure process for voters across the country. Despite Republican attempts to obstruct this bill, the fight isn’t over for the Senate to pass legislation to bring the democratic process back to the people.

COALITION TAKE: The groups released a statement on the ad launch stating, “Thank you Senate Majority Leader Schumer and all the Democratic Senators who voted to move the For the People Act forward to debate. The environmental community understands just how important it is to strengthen our democracy with common-sense reforms that are popular across the aisle, from expanded access to the polls to election security to getting money out of politics. We know that with a healthy and thriving democracy, we can make progress protecting our environment, combating climate change and ensuring everyone has clean air to breathe and water to drink. Our environment and our communities win when our democracy works for the people.”

NEW VIDEO ALERT!: LCV released a new video this week showing how communities across the nation have made it clear: people want BIG and bold solutions to combat climate change, environmental injustices, and the challenges historically marginalized communities face. We cannot wait to invest in clean energy infrastructure, justice, and jobs. Watch the video HERE.

NEW REPORT ALERT!: This week, LCV, the Center for American Progress, and BlueGreen Alliance released a new report, “The Clean Economy Revolution Will Be Unionized,” which analyzes state and local-level climate and labor wins to create a roadmap for federal action that will create good-paying clean energy jobs – while building the clean energy infrastructure our nation needs. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make transformational investments in our nation’s infrastructure — and communities across the country are leading the way. Read the report HERE.

CAP TAKE: Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Sam Ricketts stated, “States and local governments have been making progress creating good-paying union jobs to build the clean economy. And that progress is laying important groundwork faor federal lawmakers to follow. This summer, Congress and the Biden administration should build on state leadership and seize the moment with transformational investments to create millions of good-paying union jobs building climate, clean energy and environmental justice solutions.”

BGA TAKE: BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh stated, “Jobs in the clean economy should be good, union jobs, and that will not happen organically—we have to put the policies in place to make it happen. As this report shows, states around the country are moving forward to build a safe, clean, and thriving economy. We need President Biden and Congress to do the same at the federal level.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo stated, “To tackle the climate crisis and build a new, clean energy economy, we need high-quality, union jobs. A strong economy means we take care of the people in it. We need union jobs that support a family and provide retirement security. We also need to invest in clean energy to keep our communities and environment healthy. Many states have already laid a blueprint for Congress to follow in creating good union jobs that build a clean energy future. It is time to make this a national reality.”

NEW REPORT ALERT!: This week, Rhodium Group released a new analysis showing that flexible tax credits with long-term, full value extensions, direct pay, and incentives for existing clean energy capacity will cut CO2 emissions in the power sector by 64-73% below 2005 levels in just 10 years. This report reinforces that clean energy tax incentives are a critical piece of building back better: creating millions of jobs and hitting our science-based climate pollution reduction goals. 

CLEAN BUS CHATS WITH CARDENAS PREVIEW!: Next Tuesday, July 13th at 2:30pm EST, LCV, Chispa, and California LCV will be joined by Representative Cárdenas for a virtual event to discuss the health, environmental, and community benefits of transitioning dirty diesel-fueled school buses to clean, electric buses. Rep. Cárdenas recently introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act with Rep. Hayes (CT-05), Sen. Padilla (CA) and Sen. Warnock (GA). The bill would authorize $25 billion to rapidly transition the nation’s school bus fleet to clean, electric buses over ten years, prioritizing communities most impacted by air pollution, particularly communities of color and communities of low wealth, and including labor protections for workers.

VIRTUAL CLIMATE RALLY WITH NEGUSE PREVIEW!: Next Thursday, July 15th, at 6pm EST, LCV is hosting a virtual rally with Representative Neguse to discuss what’s at stake if we don’t make once-in-a-generation transformative investments towards clean energy jobs and infrastructure to address the climate crisis and environmental injustices. Now more than ever, we need Congress committed to addressing the urgency of the climate crisis by investing in clean energy jobs, climate-resilient infrastructure, and prioritizing environmental justice.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

BUILDING BACK BETTER: STATES DEMAND STRONG FEDERAL LEGISLATION
LCV state affiliates are teaming up with federal legislators in support of a bold federal plan that centers clean energy, justice and jobs as part of the Biden administration’s Build Back Better agenda. This is an opportunity to make critical investments that revitalize infrastructure, create good jobs and fight the climate crisis with just and equitable solutions that benefit the communities that need it most.

IN MICHIGAN: Representative Andy Levin joined Michigan LCV, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, Utility Workers Union of America, and the United Auto Workers for a discussion last month. MLCV also held an event with Representative Slotkin this week.

LEVIN TAKE: Representative Levin stated, “The reason the Build Back Better and Build Back Greener plans are so important is it gives us a chance to rebuild an economy with great opportunity for everybody, that really tackles climate change head-on and really deals with some of these other crises that have been brewing in our country.”

SLOTKIN TAKE: Representative Slotkin stated, “This is really going to be a rare opportunity, in our lifetime we haven’t seen this kind of significant reinvestment in our infrastructure…and most of us will never see this kind of investment again and it’s overdue, we know this just from driving down the street in Michigan…and making sure we can secure our planet’s clean future with things like clean energy.”

IN CALIFORNIA: CLCV has produced videos of various legislators showing their  support for the American Jobs Plan. Watch Representatives Mike Levin, Katie Porter, Pete Aguilar, Nanette Diaz Barragán, and Jared Huffman, and Senator Alex Padilla explain what building back better means for Californians and the nation.

AGUILAR TAKE: Representative Aguilar stated, “This landmark legislation is the key to moving our economy toward one built on green, renewable energy sources. The investments in this bill are key to reducing smog and traffic-related pollution in states like California, and they’ll help support hundreds of thousands of new good paying jobs. We cannot tackle the problem of upgrading America’s infrastructure without addressing the realities of climate change.”

HUFFMAN TAKE: Representative Huffman stated, “There’s an urgency here, we are running out of time to confront this climate crisis, there is no longer any real debate about what’s happening or how it’s impacting us or how or how the impacts are going to get a lot worse if we don’t take bold action now.”

IN PENNSYLVANIA: Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania hosted a town hall last month with Congressman Brenden Boyle.

BOYLE TAKE: Representative Boyle stated, “There is no way to do an infrastructure bill, without simultaneously talking about and addressing our environmental and energy needs. The American Jobs Plan will create millions of strong union jobs by fixing our nation’s roads, rail and bridges, while also improving public transit, strengthening access to broadband, ensuring safe drinking water, and building safer schools.”

IN MARYLAND: Last month, Maryland LCV hosted a virtual town hall with Senator Chris Van Hollen.

VAN HOLLEN TAKE: Senator Van Hollen stated, “We know that the cost of inaction when it comes to climate change is devastating, we’ve seen those impacts in the form of floods, in the form of droughts, in the form of wildfires in Maryland, we’ve seen islands in the Chesapeake Bay disappear, we’ve seen flooding everywhere from Ellicott City to Annapolis, and those costs are very real and as time goes on we’re seeing more lives lost in America and around the world as well as escalating damage to property and to our natural environment.”

COMING UP: Next Tuesday, July 13th at 5 pm EST, Maryland LCV will be hosting a town hall with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. 

NEW JERSEY’S GREEN TIE GALA: New Jersey LCV hosted their largest fundraising event of the year last month: The 7th Annual Green Tie Gala. NJLCV raised thousands of dollars to continue their advocacy and policy work to fight for climate justice and create a more sustainable future.

NJLCV TAKE: New Jersey LCV Environmental Justice Policy Manager Lee Clark stated, “Too often the communities I work with that experience a lot of these historical dumpings and environmental polluting are communities of color and low income communities and I am fortunate enough to have the privilege to highlight the intersectionality between race, economics, and environmentalism through the voices of normal, everyday people with one of the greatest tools an organizer has and that is the art of storytelling.”

 

COMING UP:

July 13: Clean Bus Chats with Rep. Cárdenas
July 13: Maryland LCV Town Hall with Majority Leader Hoyer
July 15: Virtual Rally with Rep. Neguse
July 15: Maintaining Food Access in the Face of Climate Change with Rep. Stabenow
July 17-25: Latino Conservation Week

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