Organizing gets the goods — especially at the state level

Dayenu leaders and Circles are active at federal, state, and local levels, pushing for transformational change that will move our systems away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy solutions.

We’ve recently had some great reminders that organizing gets the goods: The Michigan Legislature passed the huge climate bill that our Michigan Dayenu Circles advocated for so effectively. And the Biden Administration credited activists when it announced a pause on all new methane gas (aka liquefied ‘natural’ gas or LNG) export licenses, just days after organizers marched against a major LNG project in the Gulf Coast.

At the state level this spring, Dayenu is active in both California and New York, working with coalitions to pass significant new initiatives.

Southern CaliforniaJewish Climate Gathering  |  May 5, 2024
Northern California Jewish Climate Gathering  |  May 19, 2024

We’re teaming up with RAC-CA to organize two Jewish Climate Gatherings in May: Southern California Jewish Climate Gathering on May 5; Northern California Jewish Climate Gathering on May 19. Dayenu Circles and congregations from across California will gather to learn about defending a new, vital fossil fuel buffer zone law from being repealed via a ballot measure this fall.

In 2022, RAC-CA and Dayenu successfully rallied to secure passage of SB1137, which prohibits new oil wells, and regulates existing wells within 3200 feet of homes, schools, and other sensitive locations. In response, the oil and gas industry — one of the most powerful forces in California politics — hired an army of paid signature collectors who lied to the public to qualify a referendum that would overturn this law for the November 2024 California ballot (the “Referendum”).

It’s vital to keep this law for three reasons:

  • It limits new oil drilling and therefore helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.
  • It protects the health of people who live near oil wells. It is an important step toward racial justice because oil wells are disproportionately placed in BIPOC neighborhoods.
  • If the oil and gas industry succeeds in overturning this law, it will make the state legislature reluctant to pass climate change laws in the future that are opposed by the oil-and-gas industry, fearing that future climate laws will also be overturned by that industry.

In addition, California is facing a $37.9 billion deficit this year, leading to massive cuts and funding delays in the state budget – including climate funding, hitting low income and communities of color the hardest.

Proposals include zero-ing out funding for the Transformative Climate Communities Program, which funds community-led development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health, and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities; cutting $10 million from the Regional Climate Collaboratives, a capacity building grant program for under-resourced communities; and cutting $283 million from the Equitable Building Decarbonization program, that works to retrofit and electrify households that face poor indoor air quality, high energy bills, and low-quality housing conditions.

Now is a time to build a just clean energy future, not back away from bold action. We’ll need to keep the pressure on Governor Newsom and state legislators to restore these funds before the state budget deadline on June 15.

Register now! for one of the Jewish Climate Gatherings!

 New York Teach-Ins  |  February 29 and March 25, 2024

We’re teaming up with JCAN-NY to offer a series of teach-ins for organizers in New York! We will deep-dive into the New York Climate, Jobs, & Justice legislative package, what it means for the state, and how to persuade our electeds to champion these bills. Participants will learn about effective lobbying skills, the importance of building relationships with our electeds, and how we as Jews can leverage our moral voice and collective power to pass critical legislation in New York. Lobbying 101 is on February 29, 7:00pm ET. Swaying Public Opinion is on March 25, 7pm ET.

The legislative package is organized around two key demands (and several bills):

1. Pass the People’s Climate Justice Budget

  1. This involves investing in the state’s newly minted Climate Action Fund which was created in 2023.
  2. Advancing NY Renews’ proposed People’s Climate Justice Budget, which outlines $1 Billion in funding to critical, shovel-ready climate and environmental justice projects that are a must for 2024. This budget essentially helps kickstart a pollution-free, resilient climate future that is built by workers with good union jobs, ensuring a healthy, livable state for generations to come.

2. Pass the Climate, Jobs & Justice Package

  1. NY Home Energy Affordable Transition Act (S.2016-A/ A.4592-A) will give the Public Service Commission the authority and direction to align gas utilities with the Climate Act’s emission reduction and climate justice mandates.
  2. Just Energy Transition Act (S.2935-C/A.4866-C) provides a plan to guide the replacement and redevelopment of at least 4 gigawatts of New York State’s oldest and most polluting fossil fuel facilities and sites by 2030. It lays out a clear, mandatory direction for moving forward with the transition off fossil fuels per the Climate Act.
  3. Climate Change Superfund Act (S.2129-A/A.3351-A) makes the state’s worst polluters, major oil companies, pay to repair and address the harm they’ve caused. The bill would require the Department of Environmental Conservation to assess and collect an annual fee from Big Oil companies that released over one billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2018. Big Oil’s greenhouse gas emissions caused the climate crisis and they–not the taxpayers–should pay for the costs.

Let us know if you’re interested in participating.

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