THIS WEEK IN CLIMATE (IN)ACTION – SEPTEMBER 13, 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:

 

“This is a big deal: at a time Americans already have reason to be concerned about access to clean drinking water, the president is reportedly planning to repeal major protections preventing lakes and streams from being contaminated by pollutants”

— Winner of the popular vote Hillary Clinton via Twitter

 

“Let’s not pretend that support for drilling in the Arctic is about supporting local voices.  It’s about listening to one voice: the voice of #BigOil.”

— Representative Jared Huffman on his Arctic bill that passed the House this week

 

“We only have a few years before we’re going to reach a tipping point and we’ve got to make sure that we stave off the worst that climate change can bring upon our state. We’re already seeing the impacts of it all around us. We can measure it in our own communities in terms of sea level rise of rainfall, temperature increases, the impacts on the moose population.”

— Congressman Chris Pappas in conversation with New Hampshire Public Radio about the importance of climate action in the presidential primary

 

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LCV IN THE NEWS:

 

Associated Press: House approves bill to permanently bar oil drilling off Atlantic and Pacific coasts

Axios: Fundraising by environmental groups spikes under Trump

Houston Chronicle: Divided Congress finds some common ground on climate

 

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:

 

KNPR (NV): Democratic Candidates And Nevada Voters Prioritize Climate Change

WMUR (NH): Presidential candidates stream into NH for state Democratic convention 

Daily Press: Laying more big money markers down — LCV names high priority races

 

 

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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 WOULD YOU DO-OOH-OOH TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?: Since launching LCV’s Change the Climate 2020 campaign, which urges presidential candidates to prioritize climate change, every leading candidate has released a comprehensive climate plan — this is not small potatoes, folks. Of course, our work here is far from done — we’ve churned climate to the top of candidates’ minds, and now we’re keeping it there. So, this week, we released a new $150,000 digital ad campaign elevating the local impacts of climate change and the opportunities in the clean energy economy. The ads are up and running in New Hampshire and Nevada. Check them out here.

 

HOUSTON, [DO] WE HAVE A PROBLEM?: Last week, climate change got 420 minutes of prime-time coverage at CNN’s climate town hall (😍😍😍). This week, the climate conversation at the Democratic presidential debate in Houston left something to be desired. As publication after publication has pointed out (we’re looking at you, NPR, Vox, Time, WashPo, CNN, Newsweek, and CNBC) climate change has become a priority issue for voters. Moderators, it’s time to give the voters what they want.

OUR TAKE: LCV SVP of Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld came away disappointed in the moderators: “After last week’s promising in-depth discussion about climate solutions in the CNN town hall, tonight’s debate was disappointing. ABC’s moderators spent only eight and a half minutes asking candidates about the climate crisis in nearly three hours of debate. Every candidate on stage tonight has released a comprehensive climate plan and many of them clearly wanted to give the climate crisis more attention than it got tonight.”

 

THIS IS NOT A DRILL — WHO’S HOUSE?: In this week’s edition of why Nancy Pelosi’s House is the best, we’re offering up passage of two crucial bills that ban oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic, Pacific and Florida Gulf Coast. These are policies that would keep tragedies like Deepwater Horizon — the largest oil spill in the history of our country — from unleashing ecological disaster on our coastal communities. This is, indeed, a very, very, very fine House.

OUR TAKE: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “Offshore drilling is bad for coastal communities, marine life, and our climate. These votes are further proof that protecting coastal economies from President Trump’s plans to radically expand offshore drilling is not a partisan issue — it’s common sense.”

 

CAN THE [ARCTIC] CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN?: This week, the House passed a bill that would restore protections against drilling on the pristine and sacred coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while Senators Markey, Schumer, Udall, Bennet, Cantwell, and Carper introduced legislation to protect the Refuge, which is a sacred place for the Gwich’in people and ground zero for climate change. Throughout the country there is widespread public opposition to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge: Approximately 70 percent of people oppose development in the refuge.

OUR TAKE ON THE HOUSE VICTORY: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel said, “The House’s passage of H.R. 1146 is a resounding victory for the Gwich’in people, their sacred traditions, and the invaluable wildlife of the majestic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge … We commend the lead sponsors of the bill — Reps. Jared Huffman and Brian Fitzpatrick — and every House member who voted to protect this pristine landscape and urge the Senate to take action.”

OUR TAKE ON THE SENATE INTRO: LCV Conservation Program Director Alex Taurel declared strong support of the Senate bill, saying, “Selling out some of our most pristine and vulnerable lands in the region to the oil and gas industry is unconscionable. The people of this country strongly oppose the Trump administration’s rush to drill in this precious landscape. It is vital that Congress restore protections for the Arctic Refuge as soon as possible.”

 

WHY?: Well, our water is about to become a little less safe thanks to the Trump administration’s recent repeal of major clean water safeguards that protected millions of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands. Per usual, this administration is intent on prioritizing polluters over people’s most fundamental needs.

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote had this to say, “If somehow there was any lingering doubt that the Trump administration only cares about lining the pockets of corporate polluters, then this irresponsible and dangerous rollback of drinking water protections for one in three people should eviscerate remaining suspicion.”

 

CAN I GET A WITNESS?: This week the House Oversight Committee held its third hearing on widespread PFAS contamination. In an effort to seek corporate accountability, executives from major chemical manufacturers — The 3M Company, The Chemours Company, and Dupont — were brought before the committee to answer questions about exactly when they knew these chemicals were dangerous to our health and the environment. Subcommittee Chairman Harley Rouda said, “Don’t think for one second that I won’t hold companies accountable when they screw up — and these companies, with us here today, screwed up.”

OUR TAKE: LCV Deputy Legislative Director Madeleine Foote said, “Chemical companies have known that PFAS chemicals pose a serious threat to our health and the environment but they swept the risks under the rug in order to line their pockets … We greatly appreciate the House Oversight Committee for taking these companies to task.”

 

YOU WANT THE TRUTH?: Republican Representative Francis Rooney wrote his truth in Politico this week, and we are here for it. Rooney, in an op-ed titled “I’m a conservative Republican. Climate change is real,” calls on his party to return to its environmental roots and says, “If we don’t change our party’s position soon, our voters will punish us.” The real question: Can Republican leaders handle the truth?

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STATES: 

 

A HOUSE [AND SENATE] DIVIDED CANNOT STAND (VA): This week, the Virginia LCV announced an initial $1 million electoral campaign to secure “Conservation Majorities” in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, almost double what was spent in the 2015 state legislative races.The money will go towards direct mail and digital advertisements in target House of Delegates and Senate districts.

CVM TAKE: Virginia LCV Executive Director Michael Town said, “For years, Virginia’s General Assembly has stood in the way of climate action and failed to pass the serious environmental protections we need to ensure every Virginian is able to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and access parks and open spaces in their communities. This ends in November.”

 

COMING UP: 

 

September 16-20: Potential for full U.S. House vote to provide short-term funding for the government to keep operating while full FY20 Appropriations are hammered out

September 18: Dave Ross, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, will testify on the administration’s actions under the Clean Water Act in front of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

September 19-20: MSNBC Presidential Climate Forum

September 20-27: Global Climate Strike Week

September 25: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

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