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Richard Burr’s silence on climate change is dangerous for North Carolina

North Carolinians should elect Deborah Ross their next U.S. Senator. Your children will thank you for it.

Hurricane Matthew, a record-setting storm that dumped up to 18 inches of rain on North Carolina towns from Wilmington to Raleigh, caused catastrophic damage and tragic loss of life. As of early this week, at least 26 people have died and more than 2,000 remained in shelters. The financial costs are massive, too, with $1.5 billion in damage to homes, businesses, and government buildings. That number rises to a crushing $4 billion when taking into account the lost economic output as a result of the damage and cleanup.

The science behind manmade climate change is clear and well-documented. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) analysis of Hurricane Matthew, warmer oceans and high atmospheric moisture levels due to rising global temperatures caused rainfall totals we should only experience once in a thousand years. Scientists tell us that without immediate meaningful climate action, North Carolinians, and indeed all Americans, can expect a future with more frequent and devastating weather events like Matthew.

In North Carolina, these dangers have fallen on U.S. Senator Richard Burr’s deaf ears for too long, and now he faces a powerful challenger in former Democratic state senator Deborah Ross. The outcome of this very close race should interest anyone who worries about the effects of climate change and the future we’ll leave our children.

Here’s why:

  • Last year, Burr voted against an amendment that sought to formally acknowledge human activity’s role in climate change, and the amendment failed by a single vote;
  • He has voted to preserve tax benefits for fossil fuel companies and tried to restrict the EPA’s authority to regulate the harmful greenhouse gases that cause climate change;
  • Burr was a staunch supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline;
  • He opposes President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, the best chance we have to stave off the worst effects of climate change;
  • Burr also supports dangerous offshore drilling, claiming that an end to drilling would lead to an economic “contraction you’ve never dreamed of”;
  • The League of Conservation Voters ranks Burr among the most dangerous enemies of climate, public health and the environment in Congress;

Burr’s positions on climate change and the environment are intolerable, but they’re not surprising when you consider who bankrolls his political campaigns. Since his first term in Congress, Burr has racked up $1.7 million in contributions from the energy industry, and just since his last campaign, the fossil fuel industry has pitched in nearly $900,000. Plus, the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC whose top contributors are Chevron and Petrodome Energy, has gone all-out in spending on attack ads against Deborah Ross.

Richard Burr is at the helm of a pack of lawmakers who have for far too long been puppets of a dangerous and dying fossil fuel industry. In the face of climate change, Burr’s irresponsible inaction renders him unfit to serve a third term in the U.S. Senate. North Carolinians who value a stable climate and secure future should elect Deborah Ross their next U.S. Senator. Your children will thank you for it.

NRDC Action Fund endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate


Contact: Denis Dison, NRDC Action Fund |, (202) 717-8293

WASHINGTON (October 19, 2016) — The NRDC Action Fund today announced its endorsement of Deborah Ross in the race for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina, citing her strong environmental record and the need for a pro-environment majority in Washington.

“North Carolinians need a senator who will be a champion for a healthier future for our kids and their children. Deborah Ross understands we can build that future and create good jobs for North Carolina by welcoming the clean energy economy and fighting to protect clean air and safe water,” said Kevin Curtis, executive director of the NRDC Action Fund. “Senator Burr has repeatedly sided with big polluters instead of his constituents. In 2015, the League of Conservation Voters gave Burr a shockingly low 4% rating, meaning he voted against the environment nearly every chance he got. That’s an abysmal record, and the people of North Carolina deserve better.”

Ross becomes the fourteenth Senate candidate endorsed by the NRDC Action Fund during this political cycle. The group also made its first-ever presidential endorsement in May, backing Hillary Clinton in her historic race for the White House.

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Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund’s full legal name is “the NRDC Action Fund.” It is an affiliated but separate organization from NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which NRDC, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions.

The NRDC Action Fund’s mission is to build political support in the United States for protecting the planet and its people. We mobilize influential constituencies, experts, community leaders and others to directly advocate for clean air and water, public health, biodiversity, and a stable climate. We support candidates who stand up for environmental protection, and we expose those who side with polluters rather than the public good.

NRDC Action Fund President: Trump is Big Polluters’ Dream Candidate


Contact: Denis Dison, NRDC Action Fund | (202) 280-0018,

WASHINGTON (October 19, 2016) – NRDC Action Fund President Rhea Suh issued the following statement ahead of tonight’s final presidential debate:

“When it comes to combating climate change and protecting our environment, we hardly need another debate to help us make up our minds. The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could not be more stark. Trump’s agenda is a big polluters’ wish-list; he’s their dream candidate. He has turned his back on the undeniable havoc that climate change is wreaking and vowed to reverse the unprecedented progress that America and the community of nations are making against the central environmental challenge of our time. Clinton understands the threat of a warming planet and she will fight it. She understands our obligation to protect future generations from these growing dangers and will act on Day One to avert the worst impacts of climate catastrophe. That’s the clear choice we face on November 8. The stakes for the country, and the world, could hardly be higher.”


The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund therefore needs to be identified as from the NRDC Action Fund.

We Want a Cleaner, Healthier Futuro

One bright spot in this dark presidential election is the political energy it has unleashed in the Latino community. In the streets, on social media, and (ojala) at the polls, the country is seeing that Latinos are a force to be reckoned with. We are organized, values-driven, and committed to creating a better world for our children.

Nowhere is this truer than in our defense of the environment. In the 17 years that I have been working in the environmental movement, I have witnessed Latino leadership grow around this common concern and common vision for the planet. With this current political climate before us, it’s important to take a look at why this support exists and how Latino leadership can make a difference.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Voces Verdes, Nuestro Futuro: Climate Change and U.S. Latinos, takes a closer look at the passion with which Latinos care about climate change, how the community is impacted, and how Latinos can help spur progress.

Latinos are united in our passion for climate action. Support for government action to limit the impacts of global warming remains very high and more and more, Latino leadership is carrying the day on climate and clean energy. In poll after poll, Latino support for the environment outstrips responses from other ethnic groups and importantly, crosses party lines.

There are at least two main reasons why Latinos are ahead of the curve in their commitment to fighting global warming. The first is geographic vulnerability: More than 60 percent of U.S. Latinos reside in Florida, New York, California, and Texas, states that are already seeing dangerous heat waves, flooding, and air pollution related to climate change. Environmental injustice exacerbates this vulnerability, with Hispanic individuals 21 percent more likely than non-Hispanic whites to live in heat islands and three times more likely to die from asthma than other ethnic groups.

Socioeconomic concerns heighten the Latino community’s vulnerability to extreme, unpredictable climate events. Because Latinos are likely to work outdoors?—?making up over 48 percent of the nation’s farm workers and close to 30 percent of construction workers?—?a heat wave that’s uncomfortable for some can prove deadly for them. Latinos are also three times more likely to die on the job due to heat-related medical problems. And when faced with a dangerous climate event, such as a string of smoggy days or an extreme flood, lack of access to resources makes it harder to bounce back. For the mother who gets fired for taking too many sick days to care for her asthmatic son, or the uninsured father who lands in the emergency room after a hurricane, extreme climate events can push their family from striving to struggling.

Latinos are also united by a vision for a more just, sustainable planet. We know that the transition to a low-carbon economy is already creating jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and technology, and are well positioned to benefit from that expansion of opportunity. At least 23,000 Latinos currently work in the solar industry, an industry that saw 123 percent growth between 2010 and 2015, and is growing! Clean energy and energy efficiency can also return cost savings and greater financial security, with a retrofit saving the typical household $437 per year. Add to that smarter urban design and greater health access, and it is clear that climate action provides gains across the board.

Hurricane Matthew causing havoc in the Southeast and wildfires scorching the West are vivid reminders of the kind of damage that climate change will cause and underscore that the need for climate action is urgent. Actions like President Obama’s Clean Power Plan which would for the first time limits carbon pollution from power plants, and the Paris Accord?—?the strongest-ever international treaty, have put us on a path to constructive cooperation. Our next president has the opportunity to build on these groundbreaking policies to clean up our air, shore up our climate and jumpstart our green economy… or dismantle them.

We have 27 million eligible Latino voters who see the impacts of climate change in places like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and across the eastern seaboard who know climate change is real and want leaders who are ready to act. Our influence should not be underestimated and our position should be understood: We stand for climate action, and we want it now.

Adrianna Quintero is Special Adviser to the NRDC Action Fund.

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