THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 16, 2019

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:

 

“Hey POTUS, FYI: Extinction is forever.”

— Representative Carolyn Maloney via Twitter after the Trump administration announced it was weakening the highly successful Endangered Species Act.

 

“By signing SB358, Nevada has finally reclaimed our clean energy leadership with one of the highest RPS in the nation!”

— Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak at an event that Chispa Nevada and Nevada Conservation League helped host on Thursday evening.   

 

“You would think the love, care & protection of endangered animals & plants would be bipartisan, but this administration loves the idea of new mining, oil & gas drilling & development where endangered species live even MORE.”

— Mark Hamill himself via Twitter, following the Trump administration’s Endangered Species Act rollbacks this week.

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

The Hill: EPA proposes rolling back states’ authority over pipeline projects

Telemundo MediodÍa: Cambios para aplicar la ley de especies en peligro

Politico Morning Energy: LCV Campaign Arm Backs 19

Iowa Starting Line: Environmentalists Send Airborne Message to Joni Ernst on Climate

The Nation: The Once Common Republican Environmentalist Is Virtually Extinct

 

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:

 

Missoula Current (MT): Land & Water Conservation Fund: Protesters pressure Daines for full funding

Gotham Gazette (NY): ‘Breaking Car Culture’ in New York City Likely Dependent on Expanded Mass Transit

Hartford Courant (CT): Chemical industry lobby opposing strong Connecticut action on PFAS pollution

Willamette Week (OR): Environmental Group Plays Hardball With Oregon Senator Who Defected From Carbon Cap

News Talk 94.9 (MI): League Of Conservation Voters Praise Whitmer On Climate Issues

 

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: 2020 candidates are prioritizing climate change. Check out this week’s roundup of what candidates have said and done to put climate action front and center.

 

WHAT THE FLOOD?: Yep, that’s what we at LCV asked Senator Joni Ernst last weekend at the Iowa State Fair. While we didn’t deep-fry the message and skewer it with a stick, we did tie it to an airplane and buzz around the festivities, ensuring both those standing on the ground and those standing on soapboxes could see. 

WE’RE SO META — OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Field Director Jennessa Agnew explained, “This year, we’ve seen record flooding across the state, hurting families, farmers, the economy and the quality of life here in Iowa.  Iowa senators aren’t even willing to acknowledge that this is something that’s happening.”

 

WHAT DOES THE (ARCTIC) FOX SAY?: Just a few months ago, the UN Biodiversity Report warned that a million species are on the verge of extinction, in part, because of climate change. Now, the Trump administration, in its habit of making matters worse, is weakening the Endangered Species Act. Per usual, this rollback prioritizes oil, gas, and other destructive ways of making a buck off our lands, rather than protecting the place that we and so many other species (for the moment) call home.          

OUR TAKE:  LCV Legislative Representative Laura Forero said, “The Trump Interior Department’s decision to weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is cruel and inhumane…There is no scientific or logical explanation for this shameful move — the ESA is our nation’s most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction, and the vast majority of voters support it.”  

 

NEW POLLUTION: Yesterday, the EPA heard testimony on their proposed rule to reclassify major sources of air pollution to comply with weaker emissions standards. This attempt to let industry run wild would, plain and simple, result in more dangerous and toxic chemicals in our air. And, because of systemic racism and injustice, these polluting sources are often located in low-income communities and communities of color, which means, once again, these communities would suffer the greatest burdens so polluters can profit. Gross.

OUR TAKE: LCV Legislative Director Matthew Davis testified before the EPA, saying, “This proposal may be clouded in regulatory wonk-speak, but make no mistake, this is a gift to big polluters from the ethically compromised former EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum at the expense of children’s health and frontline communities.”   

LCV MEMBER TAKE: LCV Member Pam shared, “As a rural Louisianan who lives along the Mississippi in ‘cancer alley,’ I am aware constantly of threats to our air and water perpetrated by a variety of methods from those too greedy or stupid to care.”

SHE’S NOT ALONE — LCV MEMBER TAKE 2: LCV Member Gina wrote, “I live in Southwest Detroit, very close to Marathon oil refinery.  Marathon has gotten worse in terms of polluting. They say they are burning off the impurities.  But this is at my community’s expense…it’s time for this pollution to stop immediately.”    

 

ROAD TRIPPIN’ WITH MY TWO FAVORITE ALLIES: On the second stop of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis’ summer tour, Chairwoman Cathy Castor and Representative Sean Casten swung through Illinois for a roundtable about the broad impacts of the climate crisis on the Chicago and larger Great Lakes region. As Casten summarized: “The effects of the climate crisis are so pervasive that, in one way or another, they will affect every industry within the next few decades…The collection of voices at today’s roundtable proposed innovative policy ideas with this reality in mind.”

BONUS — JUST A MIRROR FOR THE SUN:  Representatives Castor and Casten dropped by Navistar, a vehicle manufacturer that is developing new, clean energy technologies to power their fleets. Watch as Casten takes one of their electric-powered school buses for a spin!  

 

MEAT VIRGINIA: Also on tour, Virginia Representative Abigail Spanberger criss-crossed her district, visiting a handful of local farmers. At Dragonfly Farms, she joined up with our state partner, Virginia LCV, where they met the cattle and learned about the ways the farmers are fighting erosion, maintaining soil health, and hoping to become carbon negative in the future.

 

OOPS! I REPLIED ALL AGAIN! DC Circuit Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph replied all to an email informing other judges about an Environmental Law Institute event to inform judges about climate science concepts. Randolph questioned his colleagues’ motivations, threatened to report him to the judicial ethics committee, and referred to the neutral, science-based climate briefing as “this nonsense.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Judiciary Program Director Ben Driscoll pushed back against the judge’s comments dismissing climate science, saying, “Any judge who isn’t willing to accept and acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change isn’t qualified to sit on the federal bench.” 

A (PANEL) CHANGE IS GONNA COME: Following Judge Randolph’s not-so-private outburst, the DC Circuit announced that he had been rotated off an upcoming panel schedule to hear arguments challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of the Clean Car Standards. The court has not commented on whether the change is a result of Randolph’s comments.

 

🚨EARWORM🚨: Don’t say we didn’t warn you, but a song that reminds you of the good times — a song that reminds you of the best times — might be your anthem this Friday, especially after reading LCV Member Danbert Nobacon’s new blog. The former Chumbawamba band member wrote about his journey from punk rocker to environmental advocate — these days, Nobacon spends his time in Washington state and he’s writing songs that respond to Trump’s environmental attacks. To that (and because it’s Friyay), let’s all lift a whiskey drink or a vodka drink, a lager drink or a cider drink.  

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: 

 

THERE’S A PARTY GOIN’ ON RIGHT HERE (NV): On Thursday, Governor Sisolak and a number of Nevada state legislators joined Chispa Nevada, Nevada Conservation League and other clean energy partners to celebrate the multitude of clean energy victories achieved during this legislative session and launch the RenewNV scorecard. Sisolak remarked that “we expanded solar access and opened up access for school districts, allowing  schools to save money while addressing emissions.” 

CVM TAKE 1: Chispa Nevada Community Organizer Alexa Aispuro said, “This is especially important for low-income families and communities of color who suffer disproportionately from environmental pollution and other injustices. We know that clean energy means a healthier, brighter future for our families.”

CVM TAKE 2: Nevada Conservation League Operations Director Barb Hartzell said, “From citizen lobbying trips to legislative meetings, Nevadans showed that they want a clean energy economy that works for everyone.”

 

WE WANT TO KEEP CHASING WATERFALLS (MT): Montana Conservation Voters members called on Senator Steve Daines to support full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a rally outside his event in Missoula this week. Many of Montana’s spectacular public lands would not be protected if not for the LWCF, yet Montana’s Senator Daines has not pushed for full funding of the parks program.

CVM TAKE: Montana Conservation Voters Executive Director Aaron Murphy said, “… two-thirds isn’t enough,” Murphy said. “In April, [Senator Daines] said he supports full funding, so we’re asking why the discrepancy. We’re saying, ‘You don’t get to just say nice things about the LWCF – we’re asking you to show the courage to flex some muscle and get it done.’ ”

 

CHISPA AZ ISN’T WAITING ON THE WORLD TO CHANGE: Chispa AZ is out there making environmental change from the grassroots up, and their fearless leader, Laura Dent, was recognized as the Environmental Leader of the Year in the Arizona Capitol Times this week. Congrats Laura!

 

COMING UP: 

September 4: CNN Presidential Climate Forum

September 9-13: Potential for full U.S. House votes to protect the Arctic Refuge and ban new oil and gas drilling off our coasts

September 12 (and maybe 13): Third Democratic Presidential Debates in Houston

September 19-20: MSNBC Presidential Climate Forum

September 20-27: Global Climate Strike Week

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