RFF director, Lee Wasserman, and RFF president, David Kaiser, co-wrote an op-ed article featured in the New York Times in response to lobbyists and former Senators Trent Lott and John Breaux’s plan for a federal tax on carbon dioxide emissions. While their plan includes an initial tax of $40 on every ton of carbon dioxide emissions, the primary purpose of the plan is to give fossil fuel companies immunity from lawsuits seeking to hold them accountable for climate-change related damages—which could total trillions of dollars. To date, 14 municipalities and one state have filed damage claims against fossil fuel companies for knowingly producing a product that would cause “catastrophic” consequences.
On July 11, 2018, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy held a hearing on paid family and medical leave called “Examining the Importance of Paid Family Leave for American Working Families.” Vicki Shabo, the Vice President for Workplace Policies and Strategies at the National Partnership for Women and Families, testified alongside Dr. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and Carolyn O’Boyle of Deloitte. RFF is proud to be a long-time partner of the National Partnership for Women and Families and echoes Vicki Shabo’s call for a strong, inclusive, national standard of paid family and medical leave.
David Bookbinder of the Niskanen Center, an RFF grantee, and Robert McNamara of the Institute of Justice recently published an op-ed on the use and abuse of eminent domain for pipeline development in the Wall Street Journal. McNamara and Bookbinder explain how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has not allowed for proper judicial review for property owners whose land is taken for FERC-authorized pipelines.
This summer, Rhode Island became the first state to bring a case against oil companies for fossil fuel damages. Soon after, Baltimore announced that it too was suing fossil fuel companies to hold them responsible for climate change damages faced by the city. Both cases were filed in their respective state courts.
Earned sick leave is coming to 1.2 million New Jersey workers! On May 2, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a statewide law giving all New Jerseyans the right to earn paid leave. RFF was a major funder and collaborator on a strategy which methodically passed municipal sick leave laws in 14 of NJ’s largest cities, building up the pressure and support for a statewide standard. We extend our congratulations to our on-the-ground partners that made this victory possible, including the Time to Care Coalition, the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, and the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy New Jersey
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and the Sightline Institute jointly published a paper called “The Financial Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment.” Aimed at the trustees of investment funds, the paper details the lagging financial performance of the fossil fuel industry and the uncertain outlook of the industry based on potential risks beyond climate change.
After months of organizing by the coalition led by TakeAction Minnesota, a RFF grantee, the Duluth City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Time Act by a 7-1 vote on Tuesday, May 29. The new ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020 and allow workers to earn up to 40 hours per year of paid sick time.
The Rockefeller Family Fund is pleased to announce that Julie Fernandes has joined the Fund as associate director for institutional accountability and individual liberty (IAIL).
At an increasingly troubling time for our democracy, Julie’s leadership comes at a critical moment. She has a compelling set of experiences that are well-suited to RFF’s brand of creative, advocacy-based philanthropy, having held key positions in government, including the White House and the Justice Department, the advocacy community, and in philanthropy. More information about the IAIL program area and Julie can be found here.