THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – NOVEMBER 20, 2020

Courtnee Connon, 727-744-4163, courtnee_connon@lcv.org

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:

“A reminder that Detroit is the Blackest city in America.”

— Front Page Editor of the Huffington Post Philip Lewis in response to Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Palmer saying she would be open to certifying the vote in communities other than Detroit

 

“Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger. That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside.”

— Michelle Obama, reflecting on going high during the Obama administration transition of power as Trump continues to egotistically undermine our democracy

 

“I’m keeping in my prayers all of our friends and neighbors in Hurricane Iota’s path and those impacted by Hurricane Eta across Central America.  The increasing frequency of these powerful storms is another reason that fighting climate change will be one of my top priorities.”

— President-elect Joe Biden via Twitter

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Mic: These are the dream candidates to lead Biden’s EPA, according to environmental groups

Washington Post: The Energy 202: So, how much did climate change matter in the 2020 election?

InsideClimate News: Senate 2020: The Loeffler-Warnock Senate Runoff in Georgia Offers Extreme Contrasts on Climate

New York Times: Opinion: The Loneliness of the Red State Democrat

InsideClimate News: In Maine, Many Voters Defied the Polls and Split Their Tickets

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Dems came up short on Election Day. That’s bad news for climate change

 

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:

Laredo Morning Times (CT): ‘It’s a sea change:’ How Biden’s climate plans could help CT

WUWF-FM (FL): Florida Toll Roads FInal Report On Its Way To Gov. DeSantis 

GoDanRiver.com (VA): New law pushes Appalachian Power toward more renewable energy

FloridaPatch.com (FL): There Are More Ways To Generate Change Beyond Voting

Bridge Michigan (MI): Michigan politicians ran on water problems. Activists want money for fixes.

 

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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS:  As we await the final votes in some more key races to be called across the country, LCV Action Fund congratulates our endorsed candidates on their victories in this election. LCV Action Fund is proud to have helped elect at least 13 new members of Congress who we know will be leaders for climate action and environmental justice. To date, at least 110 LCV Action Fund-endorsed candidates have won their elections and there are more races yet to be called. LCV Action Fund congratulates all of our winning endorsees and the incoming newly-elected class of environmental champions, including three new Senators-elect and 10 new Representatives-elect. Learn more in our 2020 New Member Guide.

OUR TAKE:  Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “LCV Action Fund is proud to have helped elect more pro-environment members to the U.S. Senate and House, and we congratulate the candidates who ran and won on climate solutions, clean energy, and environmental justice. We are confident they will stand up for our communities, reverse the damage done by the Trump administration and get to work right away with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on climate action that creates a cleaner, more equitable and just future.”

LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE: This week, House Democrats backed Nancy Pelosi for another term as Speaker of the House, as well as Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries. Clark, who is new to the leadership team, is a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition (SEEC), and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and is filling the role last held by longtime environmental champion Senator-elect Ben Ray Luján. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Congratulations to the most pro-environment Speaker of the House in history, Nancy Pelosi, and the entire leadership team of environmental champions for the 117th Congress. Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team have prioritized climate action, fought for our democracy, and stood up for our health and safety in this Congress, and we are confident this team of climate and environmental justice champions will continue to fight for major progress next year and beyond. We look forward to working with the pro-environment led House, allies in the Senate and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to reverse the damage done by the Trump administration and get to work right away on climate action that creates a cleaner, more equitable and just future for all communities.”

UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY: While it is certain that the Biden-Harris administration will be leading the executive branch on January 20th, Trump and his allies have yet to acknowledge the pending transition of power, desperately clinging to unfounded claims  while attempting to sway local election officials to discount votes, particularly from communities of color. In Michigan’s Wayne County, which includes Detroit, two Republican election officials attempted to block the certification of votes, relented, and then, after a conversation with Trump, again claimed they “should not be certified,” though the certification cannot be rescinded. And, in Georgia, Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republican officials pressured the Georgia secretary of state to exclude ballots too. We expect Georgia to certify today, with Michigan and Pennsylvania to do so on Monday. Nevertheless, these blatant attempts to undermine and disenfranchise voters, especially voters of color, reveals Trump’s destructive attempt to maintain power at any cost. 

🦆LAME DUCK LEASES THE ARCTIC: As a parting gift to polluters, the Trump administration announced it was beginning the process of selling leases to oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and the expedited timeline they’ve established for the process puts the lease sale possibly just days before President-elect Biden’s January 20th inauguration. This reckless move to open drilling in one of our country’s last untouched expanses of wilderness, which is critical to the Gwich’in people’s spiritual and subsistence ties to the animals who rely on the Arctic, is the type of behavior that we can count on the Biden-Harris administration to end as they address voters’ enormous desire for the administration to tackle the climate crisis. A key question in the meantime: Will oil companies — at a time when major banks are ruling out financing Arctic drilling — want to incur the guaranteed reputational and regulatory risks by buying leases in this iconic wilderness?     

🌊OCEAN CLIMATE ACTION: The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing focused on ocean policies that would help confront the climate crisis. Among the legislation considered was Chairman Raúl Grijalva’s landmark Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, which would reduce carbon emissions, make coastal communities more resilient, and provide restoration and conservation of ocean and coastal habitats. At the hearing, former NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco testified, “It is high time for ocean actions to be appreciated for the significant power they provide as solutions. The ocean connects and sustains us. It is our past and our future. When we pay attention to the ocean, people win, the economy wins, and nature wins.” 

OUR TAKE:  LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, our ocean isn’t merely a victim of the impacts of climate change. In fact, the ocean is the source of powerful solutions to fight and adapt to climate change. Ideas like stopping offshore drilling, scaling up offshore wind power, protecting blue carbon ecosystems that sequester carbon, and protecting 30% of America’s ocean by 2030 must be part of a comprehensive climate action agenda. Thank you to Chairman Grijalva and others who helped shape this visionary bill that prioritizes environmental justice for Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. We hope policymakers in Washington will seize the opportunity in the months ahead to advance this bill and the robust climate solutions it offers.”

SUPPORT 🌞💨CLEAN ENERGY + CLEAN TRANSPO🚎🚲: LCV joined a coalition of 45 organizations — ranging from environmental to public health to faith communities — in sending a letter urging Congress to include support for clean energy and clean transportation in must-pass legislation this year. Because of the pandemic and subsequent economic collapse, 450,000 clean energy workers — 13% of the sector’s pre-COVID workforce — remain jobless in a sector that was one fastest growing before the pandemic. The coalition points to specific measures to support the clean energy and transportation sectors, which include tax incentive extensions and modernizations for things like wind and solar projects, energy efficiency improvements, grid-enhancing technologies, alternative fuel infrastructure, clean energy manufacturing, and electric vehicles. If Congress fails to act, the wind production tax credit will disappear and the solar investment tax credit will decrease in value for the second year in a row, both of which would be disastrous for our efforts to tackle the climate crisis and for President-elect Biden as they put the country on track to generate 100% clean electricity by 2035.    

SAGE GROUSE: LCV joined more than 100 other environmental groups in sending a letter urging Congress remove a dangerous rider, which prohibits the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from considering listing the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), from the final Fiscal Year 2021 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The greater sage-grouse and the ecosystem on which it depends have been severely imperiled for many years, particularly by oil and gas drilling, and the situation only continues to worsen. Especially after the unrelenting attacks on the federal lands where these birds live by the Trump administration these past four years, the threat of extinction has become more dire. It is critical that Congress allow the FWS to do its job and to finally stop denying protections to this iconic keystone species. 

 

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

NET-ZERO IN NEBRASKA (NE): This morning, Lincoln Electric System (LES) voted unanimously to commit to net-zero carbon by 2040. Today’s vote comes almost exactly a year after the Omaha Public Power Board committed to its own zero-carbon plan. These two wins together mean that more than half of Nebraskans live in a place that is committed to net-zero carbon electricity generation.

OUR STATE AFFILIATE’S TAKE:  Nebraska Conservation Voters Deputy Director Chelsea Johnson said, “This is a huge step forward for Nebraska. Together with the zero carbon goal passed by the OPPD Board in 2019, this action by the LES Board means that more than half of Nebraskans live in a place committed to net zero carbon electricity generation.”  

GARDEN STATE FIRST IN THE NATION TO BUILD OFFSHORE GRID (NJ): New Jersey regulators announced that their state could become the first in the nation to build a transmission network connecting multiple offshore wind farms that could potentially serve the entire region.

COMING UP:

December 11: Government funding expires

December 31: 2020 expires

January 3: Swearing in of the 117th Congress 

January 5: Georgia runoff elections for federal Senate races

January 20: Trump’s presidency expires

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