THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – August 2, 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:

 

“… climate change is not a separate issue. It must be the issue and the lens with which we view every issue.”

— Senator Cory Booker on the climate crisis during the second night of the Detroit Democratic debate

 

“We have a choice: we can be a leader in renewable energy, or we can let other countries develop the technologies, create the jobs, and reap the rewards of the renewable energy future. In Colorado we have chosen to lead.”

— Colorado Governor Jared Polis via Twitter

 

“For me, my interest in sustainability comes from my personal experiences seeing how inequality spilled into the lived environment. How the impact of climate change has a disproportionate impact on people with low income and people without means to adapt.”

— Phoenix Union High School District Board Member Stanford Prescott, who listened to and supported Chispa Arizona students calls for electric school buses

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

ThinkProgress: In a moment of unity, 2020 Democrats rally behind urgent climate action

E&E News: Intelligence pick a longtime critic of EPA, enviro rules

InsideClimate News: Debate’s Attempt to Show Candidates Divided on Climate Change Finds Unity Instead

Women’s Media Center: Women in Congress get higher scores on environmental issues

 

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:

 

AZ Central (AZ): These high school runners train in ‘nasty air,’ so they’re working to clean it up

Aspen Daily News (CO): Tipton open to Thompson Divide Protections

Associated Press (WI): Evers creates new position to tackle lead in water problem

E&E News (NY): N.Y. enacted a landmark climate law. Now comes the hard part

 

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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.

 

CVM IN MOTOR CITY: LCV and our partners at Michigan LCV were in Detroit for the second presidential primary debate, and we were encouraged to see candidates discuss climate change for 21 minutes over both nights. We hope future debates and forums include even more thorough discussions of climate solutions.

FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS: LCV participated in the “Make Detroit the Engine of the Green New Deal” rally at the Democratic debates this week. Detroit’s frontline communities led the rally and march for a just transition to a clean energy economy and encouraged presidential candidates to visit the city’s most polluted zip code.

OUR TAKE, NIGHT ONE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Following a powerful rally led by the Detroit communities most impacted by climate change, chronic pollution and toxic water, it was encouraging to see the presidential candidates spend more time discussing solutions to the climate crisis, environmental justice, and clean energy on the debate stage tonight than in the first night of the first debate… We hope to hear the climate crisis prioritized tomorrow night, every day on the campaign trail, and look forward to serious and thorough discussions of climate solutions at upcoming CNN and MSNBC led presidential climate forums.”

OUR TAKE, NIGHT TWO: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “Over both nights of the second Democratic primary debate we saw 21 minutes devoted to the climate crisis and environmental issues with more questions asked by debate moderators and more in-depth conversation between candidates about their plans. This is a badly needed step in the right direction — the stakes have never been higher. With less than 12 years left to drastically curb our greenhouse gas emissions, it’s critical that candidates and news networks talk about transformative climate solutions early and often.”

 

PEBBLE MINE, BOULDER PROBLEMS: This week, the EPA announced it will lift the Obama-era decision to block the controversial proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. This disastrous decision puts the region’s wetlands, streams, and habitats that support Alaska’s profitable and culturally important wild salmon fisheries in jeopardy.

OUR RESPONSE: Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “This irresponsible decision to allow the Pebble Mine to move forward threatens all the people, salmon, wildlife, and economies that depend on the Bristol Bay watershed and we will do everything possible to work with our allies in Alaska, across the nation, and in Congress to stop this disastrous project.”

 

A SUPERIOR WEEK FOR THE GREAT LAKES: Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced bipartisan legislation to expand federal funding for the Great Lakes to $375 million in 2020 after the Trump administration reduced funds by $200 million this year. The bill focuses on safety and restoration such as combating invasive species and toxic pollutants and cleaning up contaminated areas.

GREAT GOVS FOR GREAT LAKES: At the same time, five governors of Great Lakes states urged presidential candidates to support their “2020 Presidential Agenda,” a proposal on how to protect the Great Lakes. The plan aims to deal with invasive species, toxic PFAS chemicals, and dangerous algae blooms in the hopes of protecting the waters of the Great Lakes their communities and economies depend on.

 

CONGRESSIONAL ROAD TRIP: The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis hit the road this week, kicking off a series of field hearings in their #climatetour, starting in Representative Joe Neguse’s (CO-2) district. In Boulder, Colorado, the committee heard from state and local leaders about their efforts to combat the climate crisis.

CHAIR CASTOR OPENS: To kick off the hearing, chair of the Select Committee, Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14), highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis, “We are in the middle of a climate emergency, and we don’t have a moment to waste.”

REP. NEGUSE WEIGHS IN TOO: Representative Neguse took over LCV’s Twitter account for the afternoon, and during the hearing, he told Colorado Governor Jared Polis “We want to replicate the progress you’ve made in Colorado at the federal level.”

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

Here are some highlights from this week:

VROOM VROOM (NY & ME): The New York League of Conservation Voters and Maine Conservation Voters joined a coalition of state lawmakers, environmental groups, and transportation experts to release the Transportation & Climate Initiative. This historic, bold plan addresses the need for clean transportation for people and our earth. The partners hope to promote equitable outcomes for communities disproportionately affected by air pollution, decrease vehicle carbon emissions, and improve existing transportation by providing economic opportunities for workers and enhanced funding.

 

WOULD YOU DRINK THIS? (WI): Governor Tony Evers announced plans to combat dangerous nitrates in groundwater and drinking water by regulating farm field runoff. 1.7 million people in Wisconsin drink from private wells, 1 in 10 of which the Department of Health Services estimates have hazardously high nitrate levels. This announcement comes right after Evers appointed a lead pollution czar during his “Year of Clean Drinking Water.”

THE CVM’S TAKE: Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Directory Kerry Schumann said, “We applaud Gov. Evers for taking the next step to reduce this dangerous pollution that makes its way into our groundwater and drinking water. This directive is a commitment to our health and the health of future generations.”

 

NEW MONTH, NEW ME (CT): August marks the beginning of Connecticut’s ban on free plastic bags. The phase-out begins with increasing the cost of bags to  10 cents each, and by July 2021, single-use bags will no longer be offered at stores. Plastic bags harm local environments and are detrimental to aquatic wildlife. This is an important first step towards reducing plastic pollution in Connecticut.

 

PEACH FARMS & SOLAR FARMS (GA): Georgia is looking to become a clean energy leader as it pursues solar over coal. This red state recently voted to close four coal plants and several hydroelectric power plants, and it is set to multiply its 2013 renewable energy capacity seven times over by 2022. Georgia’s sustainable initiatives include new, massive solar plants and loans for rural communities and small businesses to install clean energy infrastructure.

 

COMING UP: 

September 20-27: Global Climate Strike Week

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