THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – JANUARY 31, 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 science on climate change is clear. It is unconscionable for Amazon to continue helping the oil and gas industry extract fossil fuels while trying to silence employees who speak out.

Amelia Graham-McCann, Senior Business Analyst at Amazon who protested against the company for their role in contributing to climate change via Medium 

“We all have to use whatever tools we have to help achieve the Global Goals. This call to action from such a diverse range of people makes me optimistic that together we can make 2020 the year we change course and deliver for people and planet and secure a peaceful world.”

— Actor Forest Whitaker in support of an open letter that 20 activists signed as a part of the United Nations’ Global Goals campaign, which is calling on world leaders to act on climate change, inequality, and poverty.

Inequalities can prevent people who are discriminated against or marginalized from being involved in decision making. And inequalities mean that some people may benefit more than others from climate solutions.

United Nations article about plans to incorporate gender equity into global climate solutions

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

The Hill: Trump’s latest water policy exposes sharp divides

The Hill: Environment takes center stage in House infrastructure plan

Roll Call: House Democrats offer plan for zero carbon emissions by 2050

Roll Call: In Florida, Democrats aim to wrap Trump in his offshore drilling plan

E&E News: House Dems propose $760B for climate-friendly initiatives

The Washington Post: The Energy 202: If the U.S. doesn’t change course, carbon emissions will rise again in the 2030s

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:

Nevada Current (NV): Will climate voters make a difference in Nevada’s caucus?

The Nevada Independent (NV): Nevada Democrats are promising the most expansive, accessible caucus. What does the past tell about the future?

Associated Press (VA): Virginia Senate panel OKs offshore drilling, fracking bans

Mic (NJ): New Jersey Protecting Against Climate Threat rules require builders to take climate change into account

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CLIMATE ON THE TRAIL: As we countdown to the Iowa caucus (⏰ 3 MORE DAYS), check out the solutions candidates are offering to combat climate change and the differences in each of their policies.

LCV TO HELP MODERATE PRESIDENTIAL CLIMATE FORUM: LCV SVP of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld will be one of three moderators at the New Hampshire Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall in Concord, NH on February 5th. Students from across New Hampshire will ask the candidates about their climate and clean energy policies at the town hall which is hosted by the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and Stonyfield Organic.

WEEKEND READ: Check out this week’s weekend read from CQ Roll Call’s Elvina Nawaguna, exploring the potential political consequences the Trump’s Atlantic offshore drilling plan could have with Florida voters. The gist of it: While the administration has paused the drilling plan, it’s still alive, and all varieties of Florida lawmakers and voters want to keep the administration’s grubby drills out of their waters.  As LCV’s Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel puts it, “We and others are going to be reminding folks that President Trump proposed the most radical expansion of offshore drilling in history that could decimate Florida’s beaches.” This is bound to be a “major albatross” around Trump’s neck.   

A CLEAN FUTURE: In the U.S. House, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone and subcommittee Chairmen Paul Tonko and Bobby L. Rush unveiled draft legislation for the Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act, which aims to transition the U.S. to a 100% clean economy by 2050. The draft outlines a set of specific steps for achieving this goal and comprehensive solutions for combating the climate crisis.

OUR TAKE: LCV VP of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “It’s encouraging to see Chairmen Pallone, Tonko, and Rush take the next step towards crafting the Energy and Commerce Committee’s first comprehensive climate bill in a decade. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves, digging in on the text, and getting to work to ensure that the legislation delivers on our climate goals, addresses racial and social inequality, and creates good, family-sustaining jobs. In stark contrast to the most anti-environment president in history and his allies in charge of the Senate who continue to put the health and well-being of our children and families at risk by siding with polluters, we’re encouraged to see momentum building throughout the U.S. House of Representatives for the climate solutions we so desperately need.”

MOVING FORWARD: The Chairmen of three House committees — Transportation and Infrastructure, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means —  collectively released a framework for addressing our country’s infrastructure needs, the Moving American and the Environment Forward plan. It outlines a $760 billion investment over five years in, among many things, transit, clean water, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure and integrates resiliency and fighting climate change into modernizing our infrastructure. In addition, it is estimated this project would create around 10 million jobs.  

OUR TAKE: LCV VP of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo said, “We appreciate Chairmen DeFazio, Pallone, and Neal laying out a framework for a major investment in a wide range of infrastructure that can help fight climate change and safeguard communities. We look forward to digging into the details and working with these leaders to ensure that such a major infrastructure investment delivers on reducing climate and local air pollution, addresses racial and social inequality, and creates good, family-sustaining jobs. Done right, this can be a critical down payment on the badly-needed transition to a clean economy that works well for everyone.”

CALLING ON AUTOMAKER CEOs: Five environmental groups have called on CEOs of select automakers to stop supporting Trump’s clean cars rollbacks. The enviro groups targeted General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi for their part in litigation attacking climate progress.  

OUR TAKE: LCV President Gene Karpinski said, “Our clean car standards are one of the best policies we have on the books to fight climate change and improve health, particularly for the communities of color and low-wealth communities that are hit hardest by pollution and climate change. They have enjoyed bi-partisan support for 40 years. And automakers are meeting them while creating new, family-supporting clean energy jobs. There is no justification for the Trump administration’s attack on communities’ health and future.”

ICYMI, YOUR WATER COULD GET GROSSER: Last week Trump finalized his Dirty Water Rule, an utterly irresponsible rollback of clean water safeguards, which eliminated protections for millions of miles of streams that feed into our drinking water and millions of acres of wetlands that protect against flooding.  Per usual, it’s all about giving polluters like the oil and gas industry the freedom to operate without taking responsibility for their messes. In short, Trump is putting the health of our families and the drinking water of millions of people at risk so polluters can run amuck as they please. SMH.

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “President Trump is engaging in an all-out assault on our clean water safeguards. This gutting of vital Clean Water Act protections takes us backwards on the progress we’ve made in cleaning up our waterways and puts the health of our families at risk for the sole benefit of Trump’s corporate friends. Even some of Trump’s own appointees disagree with this decision which ignores science, disregards the intent of the law, and will turn our streams into dumping grounds for big polluters and destroy millions of acres of wetlands.”   

ICYMI, LWCF HOUSE LETTER IS OUT: On January 24th Representatives Thompson and McGovern sent a letter to leadership urging for legislation for full, permanent and dedicated funding of LWCF signed by 172 Members. Protecting our pristine lands benefits everyone. There must be accountability for why the $900M awarded to LWCF is not being used properly to protect our historical and natural landscapes.

WALL-LOL: As we already know, Trump’s $7.2 billion money-grab from last year (aka, his xenophobic border wall) is an environmental disaster of a money pit, but this week marked a risible low point for the monstrosity: the wind knocked over a portion of the wall in Calexico, CA. An “impenetrable WALL,” indeed.   

THE POWER OF WOMEN: Last week Alexa Aispuro, Youth Organizer with Chispa Nevada, delivered a speech at the Las Vegas Women’s March. She shared her motivation behind being a young woman of color leading the fight against climate change. Alexa discusses how Latinx children and families are disproportionately affected daily by the climate crisis and observes that they are raising their voices in the climate movement. Read her full speech here.

THE FUTURE IS ELECTRIC: Two weeks ago, the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) unveiled their first electric school bus in Phoenix! Very exciting! Chispa Arizona, along with other groups, had a huge part in making this happen. We are excited to share a blog post by Teo Argueta, Chispa Arizona Senior Organizer, about all the hard work that went into achieving this and reminding people that the future is electric. Read the full story here

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES:

THE SCORES ARE IN (CA): This week, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) released their 2019 California Environmental Scorecard. For the first time ever, CLCV scored the state’s overall performance.  ***Spoiler alert: The Golden State received a C- (71%). Only seven of the 120 legislators received a 100%, and Governor Gavin Newsom walked away from 2019 with an 85% score.

CVM TAKE: CLCV CEO Mary Creasman said, “Californians deserve more than inadequate goals and incremental action, we need swift implementation and visionary change.  At CLCV, our hope is to help legislators use this scorecard as an instrument for change. We have 10 years, the time to act is now.”

#TransitEquityDay (MD): February 4th is Rosa Parks’ birthday and Transit Equity Day, which means thousands of people across the country, including Chispa Maryland, will be elevating public transportation as a civil rights issue that is critical to combating climate change.

ENERGY MASTER PLAN (NJ): Governor Phil Murphy has introduced his Energy Master Plan for New Jersey. This comprehensive plan provides strategies for achieving the ambitious goal of 100% clean energy by 2050 as well as creating new jobs. It spans many sectors including, public health, transportation and infrastructure in order to expand the state’s green economy.

CVM TAKE: New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak said, “This bold Master Plan is a guide to achieving New Jersey’s necessary climate goals in a realistic way, and it outlines the key strategies and policies that will be needed and make New Jersey the greenest state in America. Importantly, it doesn’t predict the future, it provides analysis and strategies for New Jersey to create the future in a responsible manner — so we meet our energy needs and keep the planet livable for our children and grandchildren.”

GOVERNOR’S TAKE: “Successfully implementing the strategies outlined in the Energy Master Plan will drastically reduce New Jersey’s demand for fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions, greatly improve local air quality, and related health impacts. Through these aggressive actions, New Jersey will drive a world-leading innovation economy that invests in people and communities, ensures environmental justice for all residents, creates good-paying jobs, protects diverse vulnerable ecosystems, improves public health, and leads the way in the global clean-energy transition.”

LOOK WHO’S BACK (OR): After a cap and trade bill sent Oregon Republicans scuttling across state lines last year in an outrageous yet ultimately successful attempt to derail the meaningful and popular climate legislation, a new, slightly revised version of the proposal has relaunched and received its first public hearing on Monday. Stay tuned to the Oregon legislative session to see whether Republican Senators will stay in Salem and do their jobs.

NO MORE DIRTY ENERGY (SC): A hundred percent of the South Carolina House agreed to a resolution calling on the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper, to completely transition to clean energy by 2050. 

30×30 (SC): Last week Senator Vincent Sheheen with the help of Conservation Voters South Carolina Executive Director John Tynan introduced their climate agenda for 2020. The package of six bills works to address the climate issues South Carolina faces including plastic pollution and carbon emissions. The first bill in the package, South Carolina Thirty-By-Thirty Conservation Act will focus on conserving 30% of South Carolina’s land by the year 2030.

CVM TAKE: CVSC Executive Director John Tynan said, “Addressing the environmental challenges facing South Carolina requires bold leadership. With this package of policy priorities, Sen. Sheheen is showing what it means to be a conservation champion. We are proud to stand alongside him and work collaboratively to advance one of the most ambitious conservation agendas that South Carolina has seen.” 

WRAP YOUR FOOD IN PFAS? 😖😝 (VA): Virginia is taking steps towards protecting people’s health by keeping dangerous PFAS chemicals — which are linked to some forms of cancer and infertility — out of food packaging. PFAS can be found in everyday items such as takeout containers, pizza boxes and deli paper that people are exposed to on a daily basis, and Virginia’s House Agriculture Subcommittee is considering legislation that would take the PFAS out of their takeout.

CVM TAKE: Virginia LCV encouraged its supporters to contact subcommittee members in support of the legislation banning PFAS from food packaging. As they put it, “Forever chemicals shouldn’t be anywhere close to our food, and it’s time for the legislature to act.” 

ACCELERATE ELECTRIC (VA): In the Virginia Senate, dueling electric school bus bills are creating a race to the clean-energy top.  The utility, Dominion Energy, supports the less aggressive legislation to replace 1,050 diesel buses with clean energy models, while a newly introduced bill quickens the timeline and attempts to make the transition in a fairer and farther-reaching way. Either way, the message is clear — there is a will to get those dirty diesel buses off our streets.

 

COMING UP:

February 1-29: Black History Month

February 1: Weather Channel Special

February 2: World Wetlands Day

February 3: Iowa Caucus 

February 4: State of the Union

February 5: New Hampshire Climate Forum

February 6: Public Witness Day for House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies

February 7-9: National Governors Association Meeting in DC

February 10: President Trump releases Dirty Budget FY21

February 28: National Science Day

 

 

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