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Welcome New Running Clean House Members

With the 114th Congress up and running, we are looking at out at a sea of new faces and missing some of the familiar visages of environmental champions who departed. This year we are welcoming 60 new House members and 13 new Senators. We know you want to get to know the newbies, so here we continue our look at a few new House members who we hope will continue the legacies of their predecessors.

Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) - Rep. Gallego succeeds Ed Pastor, who earned a lifetime 83% LCV score. Rep. Gallego has promised to be a strong advocate for climate action, calling it “the biggest long-term issue or world faces.” He says he’s willing to put his career on the line to solve the problem.

Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) - Rep. DeSaulnier succeeds George Miller, who earned a lifetime 88% LCV score. Rep. DeSaulnier has served in the California legislature, where he earned a 97% score from California LCV. He sponsored legislation to reduce pollution by retiring the oldest, most polluting vehicles and supports EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Look for DeSaulnier to join sophomore Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-11) and others as leaders on the environment in northern California.

Ted Lieu (CA-33) – Rep. Lieu succeeds Henry Waxman, who earned a lifetime 92% LCV score. Lieu has a record as an environmental champion in the California legislature, where he earned a 100% score from California LCV. Lieu helped author the state’s landmark cap and trade law and says that reducing greenhouse gases and implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan are among his top environmental priorities.

Mark Takai (HI-01) - Rep. Takai succeeds Colleen Hanabusa, who earned a lifetime 95% LCV score. As an Iraq war veteran, Rep. Takai understands the true cost of our addiction to oil. In Hawaii’s state House, Rep. Takai worked to promote clean energy conservation and he has promised to do the same in the U.S. House.

Seth Moulton (MA-06) – Rep. Moulton succeeds John Tierney, who earned a lifetime 97% LCV score. Rep. Moulton, an Iraq war veteran, has pledged to make the U.S. a leader in reducing carbon pollution. Moulton correctly believes that action on climate and economic growth go hand in hand.

Debbie Dingell (MI-12) – Rep. Debbie Dingell succeeds her husband, John Dingell, who earned a lifetime 75% LCV score. The newest Rep. Dingell believes that climate change “is a real problem that requires pro-active solutions from the federal government.” She has pledged to work for solutions that spur private sector innovations to reduce carbon pollution.

Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) - Rep. Lawrence succeeds now-Senator Gary Peters, who earned a lifetime 89% LCV score. As mayor of Southfield, MI, Lawrence voiced concern about the Keystone XL pipeline and worked to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Look for Congresswoman Lawrence to be a leader on these issues in the Midwest.

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) – Rep. Coleman succeeds Rush Holt, who earned a lifetime 96% LCV score. Holt’s legacy seems safe with Coleman, a former state legislator, who has declared that she “is putting the environment first” and believes that reducing our fossil fuel dependence will make our country “a stronger, safer place to live.”

Kathleen Rice (NY-04) – Rep. Rice succeeds Carolyn McCarthy, who earned a lifetime 85% LCV score. Rice, a former District Attorney, has promised to be “a vocal advocate for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels [and] expanding investments in renewable energy.” Rice understands that addressing climate change will improve our economy and our national security.

Brendan Boyle (PA-13) - Rep. Boyle succeeds Allyson Schwartz, who earned a lifetime 94% LCV score. As a state legislator, Boyle was part of the “Green Dog” caucus and earned top ratings from state environmental organizations. Boyle has called for a comprehensive plan to address climate change. We look forward to seeing Congressman Boyle lead in the keystone state and in the Capitol.

Don Beyer (VA-08) - Rep. Beyer succeeds Jim Moran, who earned a lifetime 88% LCV score. Beyer has strong words for those who deny climate change, saying “Frankly, it angers me that some Tea Party Republicans ignore science and the harm that climate change, and pollution in general, is causing to our planet and our health.” Beyer supports a carbon tax to address the problem and will be a strong voice one these issues in the south.

As we look ahead to two years of a Congress dominated by Dirty Denier$, we hope that these new members will follow in the footsteps of the legislators who came before them. They’ll be called upon again and again to vote against proposals that harm the public health and to speak out in favor of environmental protection. These individuals should be the next generation of clean energy champions, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.

Likely 2016 Voters Want Action on Climate Change

NRDC Action Fund Polling: Key Constituency Support for EPA Clean Power Plan is Strong

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2014) – Today the NRDC Action Fund announced key findings from its first poll conducted with a focus on the attitudes of 2016 voters on climate and clean energy issues. The new poll, following the November 2014 elections, shows that despite millions of dollars in polluter campaign attacks, voter support for climate action has remained steady or increased—including from Republicans, Independents, and other key constituencies.

“A climate denier will have a hard road ahead if he or she wants to win the White House in 2016 because green voters intend to show up,” said Wesley Warren, Policy Advocacy Director for the NRDC Action Fund. “It is obvious in our poll results that 2016 voters want action on climate change. Presidential candidates who argue against taking action are going to be aligning themselves against the majority of voters, including those that are typically key constituencies. In addition, 63 percent of voters want their current U.S. Senators to address the impacts of climate change on their local communities—a warning to Senate leadership that voters will not stand for a Congress that tries to roll back progress on climate action.”

Today’s data follows an NRDC Action Fund poll first conducted in February 2014, in nine states, which showed 67 percent of voters surveyed favored an Environmental Protection Agency plan to address climate change that aims to reduce the amount of industrial carbon pollution released by power plants.

Key findings from today’s release include:

  • Two-thirds of likely 2016 voters favor an EPA plan to address climate change that aims to reduce the amount of industrial carbon pollution released by power plants.
  • Groups of voters who will be important in determining the outcome of the 2016 elections are also highly supportive of the new carbon standards.
    • 85 percent of Democratic Primary Voters
    • 71 percent of younger voters (18-39 years old)
    • 70 percent of Latino/African American voters
    • 62 percent of Independent women
    • 59 percent of Republican women
  • Clear majorities continue to see climate change as a serious problem –far more than dismiss it as a problem.
  • A 2-to-1 majority of 2016 voters prefer investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy over coal, oil, and gas.
  • A large majority of voters want their Senators to address the impacts of climate change.
    • 63 percent of likely 2016 voters
    • 62 percent in red states (AK, AR, LA, NC)
    • 64 percent in blue states (CO, IA, MI, NH, VA)

Andrew Maxfield, Senior Vice-President, Harstad Strategic Research added, “Voters know that there is something wrong with the climate, they can see it, feel it, more with each passing day, and most know something needs to be done.  Likely 2016 voters across many key demographics strongly support limits on dangerous carbon pollution, including 59 percent of Republican women. Addressing climate change is an issue both sides of the aisle will need to address in the next election cycle.”

Polling was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. from November 18-24, 2014. The survey includes 1,206 voters in nine states. It was paid for by the NRDC Action Fund and NRDC. To view: Polling Results Slide Deck

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The NRDC Action Fund’s mission is to grow the environmental majority across America to achieve the passage of legislation that jump-starts the clean energy economy, reduces pollution, and sustains vibrant communities for all Americans. Now is the time for leadership and action from our elected officials — our current goal is a comprehensive clean energy policy that will repower our economy and fuel our future. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from 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 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 needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund can not be used interchangeably. Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

Americans Want Action on Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:           Melissa Harrison, NRDC Action Fund, 202-513-6278, mharrison@nrdc.org

Americans Want Action on Climate Change

NRDC Action Fund: Environmental Champions Win in MI, NH, ME

WASHINGTON (November 4, 2014) – Following is a statement by Frances Beinecke, president of the NRDC Action Fund:

“Every American has a vital stake in a healthy environment, no matter who wields the gavel in Congress. We’ll stand up for leaders who grasp that – on both sides of the aisle – and we’ll stand up to those who don’t. Our children are counting on it.”

“Whatever may have driven individual races, the American people want action on climate change. They didn’t vote to roll back foundational environmental safeguards for the sake of polluter profits. We will empower the voice of the people. We will defend clean air, safe water, healthy wildlife and fertile lands. And we’ll press for real action to protect future generations from the dangers of climate change.”

“Several senators won by running clean – including Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, Susan Collins in Maine and Senator-elect Gary Peters in Michigan. All are climate champions. Peters took on the Koch brothers and promised Michigan voters he would fight in Congress to protect the Great Lakes from climate change.”

 

 

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The NRDC Action Fund’s mission is to grow the environmental majority across America to achieve the passage of legislation that jump-starts the clean energy economy, reduces pollution, and sustains vibrant communities for all Americans. Now is the time for leadership and action from our elected officials — our current goal is a comprehensive clean energy policy that will repower our economy and fuel our future. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from 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 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 needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund can not be used interchangeably. Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

 

Daily Dirty Denier$

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Harrison, NRDC Action Fund, 202-513-6278, mharrison@nrdc.org

Daily Dirty Denier$

NRDC Action Fund to Expose #DirtyDenier$ During August Recess

WASHINGTON (July 28, 2014) – For some members of Congress casting dirty votes and accepting campaign contributions from polluters is a normal day in Washington. But, this August, as members return home to face voters, the NRDC Action Fund will expose some of them for exactly who they are: dirty deniers. Beginning August 4, the NRDC Action Fund will name “Daily Dirty Deniers” each weekday, featuring members (#DailyDenier$) who allow polluters to foul our air by casting dirty votes and accepting dirty money.

“As we approach the dog days of summer, I can only think about how hard it is to teach an old dog new tricks,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund Director. “With 99 days until the mid-term elections, the same old polluters and polluter allies, cue the Chamber of Commerce, Koch Brothers and Karl Rove, are running the same old attack ads, using the same old lies and scare tactics, and hoping the American public is none the wiser. We can’t let representatives and senators off the hook for voting against our best interests. So this August we are holding them accountable.”

The NRDC Action Fund will highlight 20 total members during the August recess which leads into the unofficial kickoff to election season. The “Daily Dirty Denier$” campaign is focused on bringing attention to these member Congress while they are home and trying to convince voters they have their best interests in mind. We will expose:

  • House members who have now voted almost 200 times in just this Congress to weaken or eliminate environmental protections;
  • How outside polluter money is being used to support #DirtyDenier$;
  • Why polluters lost in 2012 and why they will lose again in 2014; and
  • Support for climate action specifically among the rising American electorate.

The #DirtyDenier$ campaign will also encourage voters to hold these members accountable by spreading the message that protecting our environment isn’t just good policy, it’s good politics. The daily blog will be available beginning Monday, August 4 at www.nrdcactionfund.org and on Facebook and Twitter. To read more about the campaign and the relentless Republican assault on basic health and environmental protections visit: http://bit.ly/1zmBt99.

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The NRDC Action Fund’s mission is to grow the environmental majority across America to achieve the passage of legislation that jump-starts the clean energy economy, reduces pollution, and sustains vibrant communities for all Americans. Now is the time for leadership and action from our elected officials — our current goal is a comprehensive clean energy policy that will repower our economy and fuel our future. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from 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 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 needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund can not be used interchangeably.  Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Denge”

In a land where East meets West and old meets new, Turkey feels like and unlike every place I have ever traveled. Like Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus, Turkey hangs in the “denge” (the Turkish word for balance) between its long-history beginning in the cradle of civilization and a modern infrastructure and growing economy.

Today’s Turkish politics demand discussions focused on both domestic and foreign policy. Unlike the United States, where candidates and voters tend to narrowly focus on national issues like jobs and the economy, Turks don’t have the luxury of separating the internal and external policies. Shared borders with Iraq, Iran and Syria lead to constant worries about economic and social stability. And after spending a day on the Syrian border with refugees, it’s no longer surprising to me that energy policy isn’t at the top of the Turks discussion list, let alone an easy subject to unpack.

But, these are the great things about traveling to a new country; opening yourself to different cultures, ways of thinking and breaking your pre-existing expectations. Like assuming energy policy would dominate every conversation in this Middle East country that is dependent on its fossil fuels from Russia. In fact, according to one political science professor I spoke with, Turkey spends nearly $55 billion a year for energy from Russia alone. Along with worries about violence in nearby border countries, Turks are also concerned about Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and how Russian President Vladimir Putin’s standing in the world could impact fuel prices.

And while it may not be the first topic on the afternoon tea discussion agenda, energy policy and energy efficiency were engrained in my day-to-day experiences. Every hotel I stayed in required key card access to turn on the electricity in the room. This meant I couldn’t charge my iPad during the day, but it also meant that I was keenly aware of my personal energy consumption.

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Energy usage aside, no advanced energy visual was as striking as standing in Mesopotamia on the Stone Age Mountain Sanctuary archeological dig contemplating the meaning of “old” when I saw solar panels. Below me, 10th and 9th millennium BC artifacts were unearthed, but next to me stood a modern, clean, renewable energy source powering the dig.

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This would seem like the perfect dichotomy, but rather it is the quintessential struggle of the country on many fronts. How do you keep the rich traditions and history of your religion and nation, while growing your economy and positioning yourself as a leader among other Middle East nations?

Like a choose your own ending book, Turkey stands on the cusp of the choice between what some would call a total authoritarian rule or the potential of becoming a truly democratic society. With just a few weeks until their first national democratic presidential elections, Turkish voters face a clear choice. But with half the electorate under the age of 30, it’s still to be seen whether or not they will come out to vote.

With the announcement that current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for President, energy policy is likely to slide to the back burner, while serious allegations of mistrust of his leadership are debated by the electorate, including corruption allegations and freedom of the press. Just two weeks prior to my arrival in Istanbul, CNN reporter Ivan Watson, was detained by police on live television. And while visiting with journalists from Turkish television and newspapers, I learned of the numerous news stories they are currently prohibited by law from being reported on, including the recent situation in Iraq when ISIS militants kidnapped Turkish diplomats at their consulate in Mosul.

While nine days in a country doesn’t make me an expert, I tend to agree with Turkish Member of Parliament Aykan Erdemir, who shared with our group that what Turkey needs most right now is a government focused on a comprehensive security plan. A plan that provides security from things like climate change and cyber threats, while also providing the necessary answers for other pressing issues like housing costs and healthcare concerns.

While no democracy is perfect, the only true chance for progress in Turkey is under a fully functioning democratic government. So like every first Tuesday in November in America, this August 10, I will be closely monitoring election results, only this time it will be in anticipation of what’s next for Turkey.

 

Melissa Harrison is the Communications Director for the NRDC Action Fund. She traveled to Turkey as a Truman National Security Project partner with the Rumi Forum. This is the first blog in a series she will write about her journey.