RFF Director Lee Wasserman provided an in-court statement during a recent sentencing hearing for a private investigator whose hacking scheme targeted climate advocates. The scheme attempted to chill advocates’ work— Exxon Mobil has since used the hacked material in an effort to diminish the credibility of advocates and officials working to hold the company accountable for its decades of climate deception. Read more here.
Newsweek featured an op-ed by Sarah Brennan, RFF’s Associate Director for Oil and Gas, and Larry Shapiro, senior advisor to the Funder Collaborative on Oil and Gas, ahead of the UN Climate Ambition Summit and the March to End Fossil Fuels taking place in NYC on September 17. Brennan and Shapiro argue that while President Biden has enacted some beneficial laws to aid in the fight against climate change, there is still more that he can do to be a true climate champion.
Commission Shift, an RFF grantee, was featured in an article in Nonprofit Quarterly which discussed grassroots work in democratizing public utility commissions. Commission Shift was a project incubated at RFF originally as the Texas Railroad Accountability Project. Virginia Palacios, Executive Director, has become the leading voice on reforming the Texas Railroad Commission.
RFF’s democracy program supports the work of local organizing groups, believing that the people closest to the work are the best strategists. Two RFF grantees were featured in an article published in U.S. News & World Report: How Democracy Fought Back in 2022: Branden Snyder from Detroit Action and Bishop Dwayne Royster from POWER Pennsylvania.
Legislators in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Maine and New Mexico are likely to consider paid family and medical leave legislation in 2023. State paid family and medical leave laws typically allow eligible workers to take about 12 weeks off to welcome a new child, manage a serious illness or care for a sick family member. Twelve states across the country have already established these critical programs.
Several RFF grantees with large Latinx constituencies partnered with Equis Lab and other senior researchers to survey Latinx people, measure their sense of influence, and develop values segmentation clusters to improve efforts to communicate with and organize this important group. The study uncovered social and psychological factors that impact voting habits of Latinx people; Equis also published a companion piece to inform how organizers can better develop relationships with Latinx constituencies.
In late 2022, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which advocates have championed for over a decade, as an amendment to the omnibus spending package. The new law requires employers to offer pregnant workers reasonable accommodations like extra bathroom breaks, the ability to sit while performing certain tasks and restrictions on how much weight they are required to lift. Unrelenting advocacy by long-time RFF grantees like A Better Balance and MomsRising was essential to the bill’s passage at the 11th hour of the Congressional session. Over ten years ago, Dana Bakst of A Better Balance shared a story that proves the significance of this law in an op-ed for the New York Times.
RFF grantee, WildEarth Guardians, recently agreed to a settlement with Occidental over Oxy’s emissions of pollutants that were frequently above their permitted amount at a compressor station in New Mexico. In the lawsuit, WildEarth Guardians claimed that the emissions were not accidental but part of normal business operation which were in violation of a state-issued air permit. WildEarth Guardians built up their case by looking into Oxy’s publicly available reports filed with the New Mexico Environment Department.