THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – FEBRUARY 21, 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:

“The numbers show us that climate is the number one priority for us here in the state of Nevada …The Latino community now has a permanent seat at the table — our families have been taking care of the environment since day one.”

— Chispa Nevada Program Director Rudy Zamora on WYNC’s the Takeaway about recent LCV polling that showed climate as the top issue for Latinx caucusgoers in Nevada

We’re in danger of losing the support of nature for our lives, for our economies, for our societies. Because nature doesn’t need people, [but] people need nature.

— Harrison Ford in CBS interview with Lee Cowan

Climate change has starkly unequal impacts. How you face the rising sea, I wrote, ‘depends mostly on the accident of birth,’ whether your property is worth millions or is little more than a tin roof.

— Somini Sengupta in a New York Times article about her experience writing and researching an expansive piece that compares rising sea levels in San Francisco and Manila 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

The Washington Post: From afterthought to emergency: Climate change now a key issue for Democratic voters

The Hill: Why the Nevada caucuses will be America’s first climate primary

The Hill: $1M ad buy praises swing-district Democrats’ environmental work

Earther: Meet the First Climate Reporter to Ever Moderate a Presidential Debate

Noticias Telemundo: Noticias Telemundo en el Próximo Debate Demócrata  

I Heart Climate Voices: Let’s Use Volkswagen’s Settlement to Put Our Kids on Electric School Buses

Grist: Ahead of the caucuses, Nevadans say climate change is on their minds

New York Times: Where’s Tom Steyer? A Few People in Las Vegas Were Wondering

The Washington Post: The Energy 202: Mike Bloomberg tries to talk up climate change during an otherwise brutal Nevada Democratic debate

EcoWatch: Climate Crisis Gets 16 Minutes at Ninth Democratic Primary Debate in Las Vegas

E&E News: Groups to 9th Circuit: Preserve Obama-era protections

 

 

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:

 

Dispatch (OH): Editorial: Path to Ohio’s clean-energy future might lie outside Statehouse

Politico (NY): De Blasio names new environmental justice adviser

KNPR (NV): Outside Groups Use Nevada Caucus To Identify, Fire Up Supporters

The Nevada Independent (NV): On climate change, a priority for Nevada voters, debate reveals divide over how they would address fossil fuels

Nevada Current (NV): Climate crisis gets stage time at Democratic debate

KTVN (NV): Democratic Debate In Vegas Latest

Up North News (WI): How Green Bay Is Going Green

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🎲THIS WEEK IN SIN CITY🎲: NBC News and MSNBC in partnership with The Nevada Independent hosted this week’s democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, and much like in recent primaries, climate change was a clear winner. Moderators asked each candidate a question about climate, public lands, and energy, marking an increase in the number of climate questions posed as well as the amount of time — 16 minutes! — candidates talked about the climate crisis. Considering that in our recent Nevada poll, 86% of likely Democratic caucusgoers said climate change was the most important or a very important issue, it is great to see climate getting the time it deserves and the debate reflecting what is important to voters. Climate change is the #1 issue among likely Latinx caucusgoers in the state. 

ONE PAIR♠♠ (OUR TAKE): Following the debate, LCV Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “The polling is clear: Nevada caucusgoers have demanded that the candidates prioritize climate change. Tonight, they did just that. With all of the candidates receiving a question on climate and energy, this debate included the serious, in-depth conversation about climate solutions Nevada caucusgoers and voters across the country deserve. We were pleased to hear both the moderators and the candidates discuss the challenges and opportunities of this existential threat. Tonight’s climate section should be a model for future debates — let’s hear the candidates expand even further upon how they will prioritize climate action that builds a more just and sustainable society on day one and every day as president.”

PRE-(G)AMBLE: Prior to the debate, the Nevada Conservation League and Chispa Nevada, an organizing program of LCV, hosted a press conference with Governor Sisolak and other key voices on the role the climate crisis is playing in the 2020 election. As Sisolak pointed out, “Nevada is a gambling town. With climate change, we have everything to lose. There is nothing to win if we don’t do something. We have to do something to ensure we have a future in Nevada.”

ACING IT: As a part of the press conference, Jennifer Allen Aroz, LCV Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Engagement said, “Despite feeling the brunt of impacts, despite being among the strongest proponents of climate action and leadership, communities of color, especially Latinx communities, are often overlooked. And are often treated as single issue voters. Too often we don’t have a say in the environmental decisions and policies that affect our everyday lives. Chispa and LCV have been changing that.”   

JOIN THE PARTY: Chispa Nevada and Nevada Conservation League hosted a debate watch party, where over 100 people gathered to watch the 16 glorious minutes of climate talk among the candidates. It turns out, some of you stopped by too. @katieglueck, glad you had a chance to catch up with 85-year-old Chispa promotora Bertha Robledo over nachos and pasta!      

LUCKY NUMBER 7 🎰: The Nevada caucuses are tomorrow! We released a new memo in anticipation, outlining how the candidates have prioritized climate in Nevada and suggesting some ‘only in Nevada’ opportunities to better understand climate impacts on local communities and see how the Silver State is taking advantage of clean energy.

A CLIMATE FLUSH: The Washington Post’s @brady_dennis has identified the rise of climate as a key issue for Democratic voters this primary season. He took a moment to chat with 22-year-old college student and Chispa Nevada Youth Organizer Alexa Aispuro about young Latinx voters in Nevada. Aispuro notes, “There’s no way to ignore the climate crisis…Young people are talking about this.  We want changes. We want to see how we can make this a better planet, a healthier planet.”

JACKPOT 💸💰: LCV partnered with House Majority Forward to launch a seven figure ad campaign thanking eight U.S. representatives, in their states, for championing pro-environment policies. The ads will run for two weeks in their districts. You can watch all of the ads below 👇:

“Leading” Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14)

“Gets it” Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01)

“Hoosick” Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19)

“Highest Concentration” Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03)

“Good Work” Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02)

“Forever Michigan” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)

“Drinking” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)

“Devastating” Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02)

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Poll after poll shows people are demanding action on climate change, clean water and clean air more than ever before. Fortunately these environmental champions in Congress are responding in big ways by passing legislation and holding polluters accountable. We want their constituents to know about several recent actions where their representatives put the health and safety of people and the planet first so they can thank them and encourage them to keep making progress on these issues.”

HMF TAKE: House Majority Forward Executive Director Abby Curran Horrell said, “At a time when leadership is in short supply, these Members of Congress are doing the hard work to fight for clean air and water for our families. These Members of Congress are taking responsible steps to pass legislation that will strengthen environmental protections and hold big polluters accountable, while also encouraging innovation and the expansion of a clean energy economy.”

WEEKEND READ: If you have some free time this weekend, check out this article from The New York Times: Blasting in Construction of Border Wall Is Affecting Tribal Areas. In it, Christine Hauser discusses how the racist, xenophobic wall President Trump is attempting to build to “protect” our border is harming centuries-old sacred tribal areas in Arizona. Representative Grijalva, chairman of the House’s Natural Resources Committee, is planning to hold a hearing about the destruction of multiple sites that should be protected by UNESCO, including a burial site for Apache warriors.

NOT SO DYNAMIC DUO: Trump and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado hosted a “Keep America Great” rally in Colorado Springs this Thursday. In a state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Trump is doing what he can to scrounge up votes there, and Gardner, who occupies a vulnerable Senate seat, is trying to keep his position. 

OUR TAKE: LCV Victory Fund Senior Vice President for Campaigns Pete Maysmith said, “Donald Trump and Cory Gardner are one in the same. Trump and Gardner’s speeches take place just miles from the site of the Waldo Canyon Fire, which was the most destructive fire in Colorado history, and against a backdrop of a growing climate crisis that the Trump administration and Gardner have exacerbated. Despite what Gardner may say in Colorado, his record in Washington shows he has worked with the Trump administration to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and make it harder to crack down on corporations that pollute our air. Instead of fighting for coloradans and clean air, Gardner fought alongside Trump when he voted to give Big Oil $25 billion in tax benefits and let them drill on our public lands.”

GET THE LEAD OUT: Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11), led a letter signed by 50 members of the U.S. House to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressing deep concerns about the agency’s proposed Lead and Copper Rule. The letter recommends that EPA’s final rule require public water systems to fully and promptly replace all lead service lines, retain proposed requirements for annual notification of customers of the presence of lead service lines, and simplify the proposed action level process. Additionally, the letter outline’s Congress’s responsibility to provide increased funding for replacing lead service lines in order to ensure that a family’s ability to pay does not determine whether or not their children drink water polluted with toxic lead.

CVM TAKE: Michigan LCV Executive Director Lisa Wozniak said, “Flint taught us the devastating lesson that there is no safe level for lead in our drinking water. Now we have communities all over Michigan where schools or homes are testing for dangerous, elevated levels of lead in the water. The proposed EPA rule changes for lead in drinking water are not strong enough to prevent another crisis and will delay the removal of lead pipes that threaten the health of communities across the country. We applaud Rep. Stevens for her leadership on protecting our water from toxic contamination.”

ONE SMART PUPPY🐶: In honor of #LoveYourPetDay yesterday, regular House Appropriations Committee furry guest Lou Henry Hoover expressed her skepticism of the Trump budget — in specific, she’s not impressed with a proposal that imperils climate research. Lou, like the committee, supports strong, smart investments #ForThePeople. Yep, that selfless little pup is putting us people first, which has absolutely nothing to do with where her Greenies come from.     

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

DTE CAN DO BETTER (MI): As required by state law, DTE energy company in Michigan has released their detailed business plan of all their costs and goals through 2035. DTE’s plan has received significant backlash from environmental and community groups. Groups are criticizing DTE’s efforts or, lack thereof, to adequately analyze their contribution to pollution and the part they play in climate change. They are also under fire for using outdated data to estimate costs of solar power and other clean energy. Do better, DTE.

PIPE NIGHTMARE (ND): North Dakota regulators have approved an expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline’s capacity. The plans are to create a new $40M pipe to increase the amount of oil that can be held. The  greater chances of oil spills, including on the Standing Rock Sioux lands that provide the tribe’s water, are  concerning, especially because this is yet another example of polluters sidelining the health and wellbeing of the communities their actions will impact. 

SHIVER MY TIMBERS (OR): Timber groups and environmental groups in Oregon have reached an agreement on how the timber companies will take the environment into consideration when making decisions going forward. Considering that Oregon’s timber and environmental groups have historically failed to see eye to eye, this is a historic compromise. The bill includes three key agreements that will, hopefully, help keep Oregon on the track for a clean and healthy future. 

CARBON WALKOUT (OR): Republican legislators are at it again. The Oregon bill limiting carbon pollution is set to hit the Senate floor next week and Republicans are already threatening to flee, much like they did last year to avoid the consideration of a similar bill. Sources say that Senate Republicans have either purchased or are in the process of purchasing plane tickets to abandon their duties in Oregon and vote on the popular bill, which would set standards to gradually decrease statewide emissions by requiring polluters to purchase credit for each ton of emissions they release annually.

YOUTH STRIKE : Oregon’s youth held a climate strike amid the fight to pass the bill limiting carbon pollution. Youth from all over the state, including representatives from the groups Latinos Unidos Siempre, Klamath Youth Tribal Council and Gresham Youth Advisory Council went to the Capitol to show support for the bill, which Senate Republicans are threatening to  stall. The strikers were able to meet with their local representatives and drive the point home that this top priority bill is about their future. Once again, the youth are crushing it!

 

COMING UP:

 

February 1-29: Black History Month

February 22: Nevada Caucus 

February 25: South Carolina Democratic Debate

February 25: Public hearing in DC on Trump admin’s proposed gutting of NEPA

February 27: International Polar Bear Day

February 28: National Science Day

February 29: South Carolina Primary

 

 

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