A message of hope, the Aug. 4 Primary, VP Joe Biden’s Climate Plan
Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the July 16th edition of Three Things Thursday. I hope this message finds each and every one of you safe and healthy. This week’s Three Things cover an array of topics from the August primary election to VP Biden’s climate action plan and a great event we had this week with former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
1.Dynamic speakers and a message of hope from our joint event with NWF Action Fund
Yes, whom we elect matters! A lot! I’m proud to say that our work in the electoral space is in full swing, with the August primary election right around the corner. From voter registration and encouraging voters to vote safely at home to the endorsement of candidates, the Michigan LCV team is working at full tilt in relation to the 2020 elections.
On Tuesday evening we had the great pleasure of hosting an array of amazing speakers for a joint fundraising event with the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. This event was inspired by Bruce Wallace, Martha Darling, Mike Staebler and Phil Roos, all of whom are enthusiastic supporters of both organizations (in fact Bruce and Phil sit on the boards of both organizations).
The overall message delivered by our board members and special guests was clear: Given water shut offs, toxins in our water, the climate crisis, environmental injustice, and much more, it is imperative that we elect strong, determined leaders to office up and down the ballot. And, to do so, we must work together more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
Collin O’Mara, CEO of NWF, Karla Raettig, Executive Director of NWF Action Fund, Mike Shriberg, Executive Director of the NWF Great Lakes Office, and I were joined by an array of amazing guest speakers, including U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell; former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who is now President and CEO of NRDC; and Mustafa Santiago Ali, NWF Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate and Community Revitalization.
Starting in the upper left hand corner: Jennifer Poteat & Mike Staebler; Lisa Wozniak;
Gina McCarthy; Mike Shriberg; Bruce Wallace; Collin O’Mara; Karla Raettig;
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell; and at the center Mustafi Santiago Ali.
Each speaker brought a different perspective on the work being done around environmental justice and equity, holding polluters accountable and protecting the health of our communities. It was a terrific event! Thanks to all who made it possible!
2. August 4th Primary fast approaching
The Aug. 4 primary is right around the corner and, as noted above, our team is hard at work ensuring Michigan voters return their ballots and are up-to-speed on all the ways they can cast their ballot this year. Members of our civic engagement team have been making sure that voters who request their ballots be mailed to them fill out their ballots properly and send them back in. I’m proud to report that we’ve dedicated a total of 47 staff members (some full-time and some part-time) to this effort, making 254,664 phone calls to voters (thus far) and completing 12,820 contacts/conversations!
As a reminder, the last day to register to vote online for the August 4th primary is July 20th. You can register to vote online at bit.ly/MLCVote.
A special note re: Washtenaw County:
There is an important millage up for consideration on the August 4th ballot in Washtenaw County. Voters will have the opportunity to renew and restore the four-year roads and non-motorized trails .5 millage, which provides critical funding to the Washtenaw County Road Commission, County Parks and Recreation Commission and maintenance of roads, bike lanes, streets and paths in cities across the county.
If passed, this millage would contribute $1 million per year (over four years) to support projects on the Border-to-Border Trail. Since it passed overwhelmingly in 2016, this millage has leveraged/supported more than $20 million in state, federal and private money toward non-motorized trail parks.
If you haven’t explored the new portion of the B2B trail between Zeeb Rd and Dexter, it’s magnificent. Get out and go for a walk or ride. It’s worth it! I urge those in Washtenaw County to vote “Yes” on this millage, which will help keep our community walkable and bikeable.
You can read more about the millage and what it supports here.
3. VP Joe Biden announces his climate plan
On Tuesday, VP Joe Biden announced his long-awaited climate plan – and it’s darn good.
As a board member of national LCV Education Fund, I’ve seen up close and personal the determined work taking place by our national partners to ensure that addressing the climate crisis is a #1 priority for the Biden campaign. Earlier this years, I was privileged to be part of a virtual conversation with VP Biden as national LCV moved through their presidential endorsement process, and I was delighted when Michigan LCV’s very own board member, Kerry Duggan, was chosen as one of the key members of the Biden/Sanders Climate Change Unity Task Force* established to provide support and guidance to VP Biden’s climate action plans.
The plan VP Biden unveiled this week involves spending $2 trillion over four years to scale up the use of clean energy in the transportation sector, power production, and building, which will help create the well-paying green jobs of the future we’ve been advocating for. Importantly, VP Biden is using his plan to take action on climate and provide economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and the plan also includes provisions to tackle the systemic environmental injustices that have plagued communities of color across our country.
Below are some of the highlights and links to his website where you can read more.
The Build a Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure and an Equitable Clean Energy Future plan released this week is part of Biden’s overarching “Build Back Better” plan.
100% clean energy by 2035
All electric school buses with a major investment in building clean cars in America, expanding transit and EV infrastructure
Net-zero new buildings by 2030 and invest in major retrofit effort
Focusing investments to address environmental injustice & systemic racism
Creating millions of high-quality, family sustaining jobs
Making our lands part of solving the climate crisis, including creating a Civilian Conservation Corps
The Biden campaign also released the Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity in a Clean Energy Future. This plan was informed by regional and national listening sessions with environmental justice leaders. A few highlights:
Making environmental justice a top priority across the federal government
Holding polluters accountable, including through increased enforcement
Addressing the cumulative impacts of toxic pollution through expanded use of pollution and other data, which will inform permitting decisions
Targets investments to tackle legacy pollution
Deliver clean water for all communities
Reduce the health threats climate change and pollution pose to communities of color and build out infrastructure to respond to crises
This is really, really good stuff, and it’s surreally juxtaposed with the ongoing insanity emanating from the White House. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, President Trump announced Wednesday a unilateral weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This critical policy ensures there is a robust review of new major infrastructure projects, like power plants and oil pipelines. It also requires these projects to be assessed by their impact on climate change. Trump’s move to weaken this important rule will result in less oversight of these projects and in effect, more pollution.
Exceptional timing, Mr. Trump. Just as we find proven linkages between the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and air pollution, as an example. It’s a perfect time to continue your all out assault on the decades and decades of work to protect human health and the environment. (UGH!)
We issued a statement following the Trump administration’s announcement Wednesday, which you can read here.
As always, thank you so much for your support of our work. I hope you are finding ways to enjoy this lovely July Michigan weather.
* Biden/Sanders Climate Change Unity Task Force Members
Rep. Kathy Castor
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Co-chair
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
Rep. Donald McEachin
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Co-chair