As debates around infrastructure and climate spending intensify in Washington, our members are doing what we do best: explaining to our lawmakers and the media why now is the time to clean up the air for our kids. In keeping with our drumbeat around the need to electrify our transportation sector, we launched the “Let’s Get Rolling” summer tour to build support for clean, electric school buses with stops in Atlanta, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, among other cities. The tour’s first stop—in rural Livingston, Montana—brought out an array of supporters of all-electric yellow school buses, some of whom are featured in this short video. Maybe our tour can help inspire Congress to stop spinning its wheels and embrace the biggest and boldest climate investments yet? In the meantime, join us in telling Congress that families need climate investments in order to put us on a path to climate safety.
FIGHTING FOR METHANE PROTECTIONS IN NEW MEXICO
Writing in the Albuquerque Journal, our New Mexico field organizer Celerah Hewes urges her state—home to some of the worst methane pollution in the country—to adopt a stronger methane rule alongside co-author James Jimenez of New Mexico Voices for Children. In their op-ed, the authors acknowledge the “deft leadership” of Governor Lujan in reducing waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry while underscoring how the “work is far from done.” “[T]o protect front-line communities and address major pollution sources to meet the governor’s goal of enacting nation-leading rules to cut pollution,” the authors call on their Governor and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to enact the strongest possible final rule to curb dangerous methane. They also call for these three things: “First, protect those living closest to development by requiring more frequent inspections to find and fix leaks. Second, require operators to control pollution during completion of a new oil or gas well, or when redeveloping an existing site. Finally, NMED should strengthen requirements to cut pollution from the state’s second-largest source of oil and gas methane pollution: pneumatic controllers.” In a time of greater state and federal action to reduce methane waste and pollution, we have an “unparalleled moment for improving public health in New Mexico, especially for vulnerable populations.”
COMMENTING TO HUFFPOST ON CLIMATE POLITICS
The HuffPost reached out to about a dozen environmental organizations, including ones in Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) home state of West Virginia, to assess issues of lawmaker access in the wake of a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist claiming the oil company has regular access to the senator and his staff. As the HuffPo reported, “Manchin also received high marks from Leah Barbor, the West Virginia field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force ― who said her parent advocates ‘speak regularly’ to the senator and his staff ― as well as national groups including the League of Conservation Voters and the Environmental Defense Fund.” And as our climate crisis intensifies—and the opportunities to address it multiply—we will continue to work with Sen. Manchin to get West Virginia and our entire country on a path to climate safety.
RESPONDING TO EXTREME HEAT ON THE EVENING NEWS
Our Nevada field organizer and EcoMadres national lead Cinthia Zermeño Moore spoke with her local KTNV-TV station’s meteorologist about the extreme heat hitting the city of Las Vegas as part of a segment entitled “Will recent extreme heat be the new normal for Las Vegas?” In this segment, Cinthia shares how climate change has greatly impacted her son’s health: “I’m a mom of a 4-year-old. I grew up in Las Vegas and his childhood is completely different than mine.” Cinthia “didn’t have to worry so much about breathing issues [when she was younger], but her son experiences breathing issues and has problems with the extreme heat.”
REV. AL SHARPTON INTERVIEWS OUR SENIOR ADVISOR ON MSNBC
Rev. Al Sharpton of MSNBC interviewed our senior advisor Heather McTeer Toney for his show PoliticsNation to discuss President Biden’s infrastructure bill, which is now stripped of funding for climate solutions, including those especially important for low-income and communities of color: “[T]to see all of that stripped out is really undermining how Black and Brown communities can strengthen themselves right now,” said Heather. And given the staggering amount of environmental injustices faced by Black and Brown communities historically, Heather says: “ [W]e have to take this very moment to assure that the infrastructure dollars that are coming out will go to help Black and Brown communities really prepare for climate resiliency.”
WHAT VOTING RIGHTS MEAN FOR CLIMATE
POLITICO caught up with Heather about the connection between voter suppression and the climate vote. Heather argued that thwarting voters’ rights has real consequences for climate policies for populations most vulnerable to the impact of climate change: “We know from study after study after study that Black and brown communities, minority populations, are the most likely demographic to vote for climate policy. To have that vote suppressed is in effect cutting off our nose to spite our face.”
PUTTING A FACE TO THE FACTS
Texas field organizer Erandi Trevino spoke to the podcast Abuelas en Accion (Spanish for Grandmothers in Action) about her journey to advocacy, what awakened her climate activism, and what it means to fight for Latino communities. In her hometown of Houston, Erandi says that too many are living on the physical fence-line of polluting facilities due to weak zoning rules, putting them at increased risk for asthma and cancer. For Erandi, much of her work “gives mothers platforms to put a face to the facts.”
- Our Nevada field organizer and EcoMadres national lead Cinthia Zermeño Moore was tapped to be a part of Congressman Steven Horsford’s (D-NV-04) Nevada Equity Cabinet—a perch from which Cinthia says that she is eager “to address the impacts that environmental injustice has on underserved communities.”
- IWP News took note of a recent tweet of ours thanking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for shifting to an annual release of air toxics data with a new environmental justice focus: “The move is winning praise from environmentalists. ‘Thank you @EPAMichaelRegan,’ Moms Clean Air Force, a group representing parents concerned about air pollution, said in a June 24 tweet citing EPA’s announcement.”