THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – October 23, 2020

Contact: Emily Samsel, emily_samsel@lcv.org, 828-713-9647

THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – October 23, 2020

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:

“Trump’s response to a question about environmental justice was to claim that the people dying are making money.”

— TIME Writer Justin Worland, in response to the final presidential debate.

“If everybody votes and everyone who tries to vote has their vote counted, that should literally be the last time the country is forced to listen to @realDonaldTrump.”

— The Nation Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal, following the final presidential debate.

“My people are resilient and have been fighting for many generations, which is why I will continue to fight for my community, my environment, and madre tierra.”

— Chispa Deputy Director Estefany Carrasco-González in a new short film Chispa Communications Director Pita Juarez created in partnership with the Redford Center’s Power the Vote Campaign.

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

Broadway World: The Redford Center Launches #PowerTheVote Short Films
Bloomberg: U.S. Businesses Say One Thing on Climate Change, But Their Campaign Giving Says Another
Inside Climate: Could Biden Name an Indigenous Secretary of the Interior? Environmental Groups are Hoping He Will.
Politico Morning Energy: PUBLIC LANDS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Undercurrent News: Ocean climate bill promotes offshore wind, conservation; prime for after election

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:

Public News Service (MT): Two MT Candidates Selected for Conservation Voters’ So-called “Dirty Dozen”
Patch (NY): Gordon, Garbarino Discuss Environmental Issues
PIX11 (NY): Environmental racism in the Bronx: Why the asthma rate is so high in the borough
CalMatters (CA): A new era of clean transportation requires new leadership
The Nevada Independent (NV): Heavy smoke from wildfires, expected to worsen

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MADRE TIERRA POWERS THE VOTE: As a part of the Redford Center’s Power the Vote campaign, Chispa’s National Communications Director, Pita Juarez, created a short film, “Fighting for Madre Tierra.” The film uplifts Chispa Deputy Director Estefany Carrasco-González’s experience of becoming a first time voter while fighting for her family, comunidad, and madre tierra. This is why Estefany votes: “Voting for madre tierra, for me, means ensuring that communities of color have access to clean air, clean water, beautiful forests, green spaces, and are really able to live with dignity and have basic human rights.”  Watch the film here.

GREENROOTS + GREEN WAVE MEMO: Through LCV’s GreenRoots program that launched early last month with a $1.3 million investment we have deployed 75 organizers to mobilize LCV members for critical races in 15 key states. Members have been calling, texting and participating in online events with campaigns in order to support 51 LCVAF-endorsed candidates, including Joe Biden & Kamala Harris, 11 U.S. Senate candidates and 39 U.S. House candidates. Additionally, we have partnered with Vote Forward to increase civic participation by organizing our members to send letters to voters. In the last week alone we’ve almost doubled the number of members getting engaged and the number of shifts completed. Despite organizing limitations due to the global health pandemic, our members are fired up and doing everything they can to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, flip the Senate, and grow the pro-environment House majority. Read the memo here

VF ROUND UP: LCV Victory Fund and affiliated entities have committed to investing at least $115 million this cycle to defeat Trump and elect climate and environmental justice champions up and down the ballot because our rights to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in safe and healthy communities are at risk. Check out LCV Victory Fund’s weekly roundup to get a snapshot of our field and paid media programs across the country.  

LATINA SWING VOTERS: LCV Victory Fund announced a new $300,000 digital ad campaign highlighting Trump’s dangerous climate record to Latina voters in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — this effort is part of the ongoing program to reach environmental swing voters in presidential battleground states. Latinx families are on the frontlines of climate change and care deeply about taking action to combat the climate crisis. A September poll found that climate can both persuade and motivate Latinx voters to vote for Biden. Watch the ads here: Time, Tiempo, Led the Way, and Pionero

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Our research shows that talking to Latina voters in key battleground states about President Trump’s harmful environmental record and contrasting his failure with Joe Biden’s climate leadership can help make the difference for Biden next month. Voters need to know that Trump denies the threat of climate change just like he denied the threat of the coronavirus and it’s Latinx families who pay the price.”

MOBILIZING BLACK MICHIGANDERS: BlackPAC and LCV Victory Fund announced a new joint $900,000 direct mail campaign in Michigan to mobilize Black voters to re-elect Senator Gary Peters, a race in which Black voters have the power to make the difference. The first of two mail pieces contrasting Peters and his opponent John James’ records on health care, clean water, economic opportunities and standing up to white supremacy, dropped in mailboxes Friday.  View the mailer here.  

BLACKPAC’S TAKE: BlackPAC Executive Director Adrianne Shropshire said, “Black voters understand that course correcting our democracy is going to take a new Senate committed to progressive policies that address the intertwined crises of climate change, an economic recession, the high price of health care and systemic racism. While Senate Republicans have stood by and enabled the Trump administration’s incompetence and corruption over the last four years, Gary Peters has remained steadfast in his fight for every community in Michigan. Together, BlackPAC and LCV Victory Fund are committed to making sure that Trump and his would-be allies in the Senate have no place in Washington next year.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Megan Jacobs said, “Black communities are being disproportionately harmed by Trump and Republicans’ approach to the pandemic, racial and economic injustice, and the climate crisis. While John James stands with Trump ‘2,000 percent,’ Senator Peters is approaching the converging crises in our country with the empathy and seriousness they deserve. Black voters will make the difference for Senator Peters. We are thrilled to partner with BlackPAC again in these critical final weeks.”

COLORADO SPRINGS UP AND RUNNING: LCV Victory Fund started running a new $500,000 TV ad in the Colorado Springs media market, highlighting Lauren Boebert’s dangerous ideas that would threaten our public lands and renewable energy projects — Boebert is running against Diane Mitsch Bush in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. The spot is part of a previously announced joint $2.2 million effort between LCV Victory Fund, House Majority PAC, and WOMEN VOTE!, the independent expenditure arm of EMILY’s LIST, to defeat Boebert and elect Mitsch Bush.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Emily Crerand said, “Lauren Boebert is too radical for Colorado. Boebert has made it crystal clear that she will side with corporate polluters, which would threaten Colorado’s public lands and the health and well being of Coloradans. We need to elect Diane Mitsch Bush, a long time champion for Colorado’s environment and families.”

OUR STATE AFFILIATE’S TAKE: Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini had this to say, “Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is home to soaring mountains, rushing rivers, and four of our five offices. It’s a place where conservation values run deep — and voters deserve a leader who reflects those values. I’m thrilled that LCV Victory Fund, WOMEN VOTE! and House Majority PAC are teaming up to help elect Diane Mitsch Bush and look forward to working with her to bring a common-sense conservation perspective to Washington, DC.” 

+NORTH CAROLINA: LCV Victory Fund started running a new $500,000 digital persuasion ad to defeat North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. The new ad calls attention to the special interest money Tillis has taken and his votes to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, his support for corporate polluter Duke Energy, and his votes to give tax breaks to the pharmaceutical industry. Watch the ad here.

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund National Campaigns Director Megan Jacobs said, “It’s clear that Senator Tillis’ allegiance is to the corporate polluters who fund his campaign, not North Carolina communities. North Carolinians deserve a senator who works for them. We need to send Cal Cunningham to Washington to fight for the health and safety of North Carolina families.”

EXXSQUEEZE ME?: On Monday, Trump braggadociously implied that he could out fundraise Joe Biden by trading ExxonMobil federal permits for a hefty contribution to his campaign — a claim that Exxon felt necessary to clarify on Twitter “never happened.” LCV Victory Fund, on the other hand, is running ads that satirize the fossil fuel industry’s history of denying responsibility for climate change, neglect that a Biden-Harris administration will make the fossil fuel industry pay for, and not in the form of illegal, quid pro quos. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Trump jokes about felony quid pro quos for Big Oil companies that pollute our air and put our health at risk; Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will make them pay. We made a satirical ad about this same concept — but of course you can always trust Trump to take it beyond satire.”

THE FINAL DEBATE: We’re so old that we remember the very first 2020 Democratic primary debate featuring 20 candidates over two days. As thrilled as we are that this has been a completely historic election cycle for debate questions about climate and environmental justice, we are also looking forward to having our weekday evenings back. Cheers 🥂 to surviving all 10,000 presidential debates this cycle!

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith said: “We saw more climate and environmental justice questions asked in presidential debates this cycle than ever before, and the majority of voters casting their ballots in this election want to see action on climate. In fact, the latest New York Times/Siena College poll found that 66 percent of voters support Biden’s bold plan to put our economy on a path to recovery by making transformative investments in healthy, equitable, safe communities powered by clean energy. If elected, Joe Biden will have the strongest mandate to act on climate and environmental justice of any president-elect in history. Let’s make that a reality.”

IMMIGRATION + ENVIRONMENT: This year has marked a new peak in the climate crisis, and it’s devastating impacts are not going away.  Simultaneously, immigration has been top of mind for many people, given the renewed xenophobia from COVID-19 and mass family separation both at the border and nationally. Value Our Families, LCV’s Democracy For All and LCV’s Chispa joined forces to hold a virtual event examining the ways that the climate crisis and environmental degradation intersect with the U.S. immigration system — two crises that need new and comprehensive solutions. The takeaway: we can build stronger, more powerful solutions by working at the intersection of our movements.   

SUPREME SHAM: After McConnell’s Senate avoided voting on the House’s comprehensive COVID relief packages for months, leaving people all across the country without the support they need in a time of crisis, they’ve managed, at a breakneck pace, to force an ill-conceived Supreme Court nomination through an illegitimate committee process. After hearings where nominee Amy Coney Barrett refused, on multiple occasions, to acknowledge the basic science of climate change, Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans approved her nomination, while their Democratic colleagues boycotted the supreme sham.       

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski had this to say, “The decision by Senate Republicans to move forward with this nomination today further cements their commitment to partisan power grabs over addressing the needs of our communities. Rather than listening to the tens of millions who have already cast their ballots, they are rushing to confirm an ultraconservative nominee who thinks climate change is up for ‘public debate,’ and refuses to answer basic questions about upholding democratic principles and fundamental rights.” 

OCEAN-BASED CLIMATE SOLUTIONS: This week, House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalava unveiled an ambitious new climate bill, the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.  This bill sets a national goal for offshore wind development, seeks to protect thirty percent of America’s ocean by 2030, bans harmful new oil and gas drilling off our coasts, and makes solid investments in low-income communities and communities of color.

OUR TAKE: LCV’s Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “A comprehensive plan for ocean-based climate solutions has been a long time coming and we applaud Chairman Grijalva for his determination and leadership to put forward this landmark legislation. Our ocean and our coastal communities are often portrayed as a victim of climate change, and the reality is that it also offers a wealth of powerful solutions to fight the climate crisis.” Read the full statement here.

🎈CLEAN WATER ACT BIRTHDAY WEEK🎈: To celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, we supported the Clean Water for All Coalition in a week of action that included a virtual townhall featuring Representative Donald McEachin, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and clean water advocates. The conversation covered all that the Clean Water Act has accomplished thus far, the Trump administration’s current assault on our clean water, the ways Congress and states are fighting back, and how we can strengthen clean water safeguards for the future. 

ENERGY RESILIENT COMMUNITIES🔋⚡🔌: Representatives Nanette Barragán and Yvette Clarke introduced new legislation that would build 100% clean energy microgrids, and prioritize doing so in communities of color and low-income communities, to ensure that essential services — like supermarkets, senior housing, clinics, public cooling locations, fire departments and more — would have continued power during outages and emergencies. Not only would this legislation protect against power outages and rolling blackouts, it would reduce pollution and help tackle the climate crisis.  

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis said, “It is critical that communities, and especially communities that have already borne the brunt of fossil fuels’ and climate change’s negative impacts, have the power they need to save lives and boost resiliency in the face of emergencies, including the accelerating climate crisis. We are proud to support the leadership of Reps. Barragan and Clarke to engage the targeted communities this bill would help, boost community-owned clean energy, and keep people powered with clean energy during emergencies.” 

100 LATINOS INFLUENCING CLIMATE: Sachamama announced its 2020 list of the 100 most influential Latinos committed to climate action, and we couldn’t be more proud that LCV’s Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Engagement, Jennifer Allen Aroz, was named to the list!  Jen and the 99 other leaders that Sachamama recognized have promoted environmental awareness, sustainability and climate action, and they represent a range of roles, including executives of companies, politicians, academics, activists, journalists, Nobel laureates, and entertainment stars. Congrats Jen, well deserved!          

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

COLUMBUS FIGHTS FOR RIGHT TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY AT THE BALLOT (OH): Columbus Ohio voters are deciding this election whether to let city governments seek out and collectively bid for renewable electricity  for their constituents. Ballot Issue 1 would create Ohio’s largest community choice aggregation program. In states where ratepayers choose their electricity supplier separate from their local utility, the programs let cities negotiate a default option for residents. It could lower the city’s emissions by a fifth and will set a model for other cities to follow.

Despite massive roadblocks to clean energy implemented at the state capitol, this is an opportunity to advance clean energy within the state. “This type of bold action at the local level is more urgent than ever,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, president of the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund. 

NEW JERSEY LATEST STATE TO CALL FOR 100% CLEAN CARS (NJ): Not to be outdone by California, New Jersey became the first East Coast state to call for 100% electric vehicle sales by 2035. This comes less than a month after California Governor Newsom made a similar call for his own state. The proposal from the Department of Environmental Protection came as part of an official roadmap that would allow the state to reach its goal of 80% carbon dioxide reductions by 2050. As state-level climate action continues to raise the bar, voters have made it clear this is what they will demand from federal leaders in 2021.

FIGHTING LANGUAGE BARRIERS TO VOTING (ID): After the 2010 Census identified areas with high concentrations of Spanish speakers, the Department of Justice required that local elections in those areas provide voting materials in both Spanish and English. Lincoln County became the only county in Idaho to require both languages, but many have flagged that much of the information has spelling or grammatical errors, which creates inequitable information gaps for Spanish speaking voters. 

“Language plays a vital role here, and to truly feel like you’re voting in a way that is your voice, it has to be in the language that you prefer,” Antonio Hernandez, Voting rights coordinator for Conservation Voters for Idaho, CVI, said.

COMING UP:

November 3: Election Day
December 11: Government funding expires

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