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WHY ARE WE STILL EXTRACTING OIL AND GAS?

RFF Director Lee Wasserman wrote an opinion piece, featured in the New York Times, describing a different litmus test to determine a candidate’s or elected official’s stance on climate change. Instead of focusing only on cutting emissions we should also be asking “Will [an official’s] policies lead to an increase or decrease in the amount of fossil fuels coming out the ground?” Read Lee’s take on the track records of California Governor Jerry Brown, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and New York Governor Cuomo against his proposed question here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/25/opinion/climate-change-fossil-fuels.html

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CLIMATE COSTS REPORTS RECEIVE ATTENTION

The Center for Climate Integrity, an RFF grantee, released a first-of-its-kind report titled “High Tide Tax: The Price to Protect Coastal Community from Rising Seas.” The study found that coastal communities in the contiguous U.S. face more than $400 billion in costs over the next two years to defend coastal communities from inevitable sea-level rise. For hundreds of small costal and tidal communities identified in the report, the costs will far outstrip their ability to pay.

Read coverage of the report in the New York Times and Forbes.

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CONNECTICUT PASSES PFML

This summer, Connecticut became the 8th state to pass a statewide paid family and medical leave policy. Connecticut Working Families, an RFF partner, led the flight to establish the program and worked hard to continually push for stronger job protections and a more inclusive definition of who constitutes a family member.

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NPR REPORTS ON PERENNIAL AGRICULTURE

RFF grantee, the Land Institute, is leading a research center to develop a number of perennial crops including an intermediate wheat grass called Kernza. Mainstream food producers, including General Mills, are anxious to use Kernza. Hear more about it on this NPR report.

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INDEPENDENT CIVIC ENGAGEMENT GROUPS ENGAGE NEW VOTERS

Nonprofit VOTE released a report called “Engaging New Voters” which shows that nonprofits who encourage the community they serve to get registered to vote, through nonpartisan voter engagement efforts, play a critical role in narrowing voter turnout gaps and fostering a more representative electorate. RFF’s Institutional Accountability and Individual Liberty program area supports various independent civic engagement groups filling in the gaps of serving young, low-income voters who are often left out of the engagement process by political parties and candidates.

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RFF GRANTEE TESTIFIES AT HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARING ON PUERTO RICO

Tom Sanzillo, director of finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, testified on April 9 at a hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources on Rebuilding and Privatization of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Sanzillo’s testimony called for the appointment of an Independent Private Sector Inspector General to investigate PREPA’s operations and implement reforms to eliminate wasteful and illegal activity and for a substantial reduction in PREPA’s debt burden. His full testimony can be found here: https://naturalresources.house.gov/imo/media/doc/Testimony%20Sanzillo%204.9.19.pdf

Updates

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MAINE PASSES PROGRESSIVE SICK LEAVE POLICY:

Governor Janet Mills signed into law a paid time off policy under which part-time and full-time workers will have the right to accrue paid days off to use however they need. It covers 85 percent of Mainers and includes worker protections to ensure that employers cannot refuse the leave or retaliate against employees that use it.

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PIPELINE DEFEATED IN NJ:

RC Cape May Holdings decided to withdraw its proposed plans to repower the BL England power plant with natural gas, effectively killing any need for a proposed 22-mile pipeline that was approved to be built through New Jersey’s Pinelands. RFF grantee the New Jersey Conservation Foundation supported the Pinelands Preservation Alliance in their efforts to stop the pipeline.

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CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER MOVES TO BLOCK TEXAS VOTER PURGE:

Earlier this month a federal judge ordered Texas counties to pause a planned voter purge that would have removed tens of thousands registered voters from the rolls. The Campaign Legal Center (CLC) represents the League of United Latin Americans Citizens (LULAC) and Julie Hilberg in the case alleging that the purge program amounted to racially motivated voter intimidation and therefore violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.