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Inside the Greenhouse is a monthly newsletter about FCNL’s environmental work, ways to engage members of Congress, and stories that impact our work.

A Crucial Moment for Environmental Justice

The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and uncounted numbers of African Americans illustrates that racism is embedded in all aspects of society—including the environment.

For example, people of color more often live in areas prone to climate change’s impacts, like hurricanes or flooding. Communities of color also breathe in nearly 40 percent more polluted air than white communities. Polluting industries are often built next to low-income communities and communities of color, leading to increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular issues.

And tragically, these same communities are frequently situated in medically underserved areas. As we continue our climate advocacy, we must always remember to center equality and justice.

House Passes Another COVID-19 Relief Package

In May, the House passed the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), a $3 trillion bill to further address the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Notable elements of the bill include:

  • $50 million in environmental justice small grants to investigate and address the impacts of COVID-19 on frontline communities.
  • $1.5 billion for states and tribes earmarked for low-income households to pay drinking water and wastewater expenses. States and utilities that receive federal emergency funds must prevent shut offs and ensure continuity of energy and water services to residential customers.
  • $1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps millions of low-income families afford heating and cooling for their homes.

We applaud the inclusion of these provisions in the HEROES Act. However, we are disappointed that other crucial environmental provisions were not included in this comprehensive bill. Read more about our COVID-19 asks.

Fossil Fuel Industries Continue to Take COVID-19 Relief

In April, the Federal Reserve made changes to its lending program that allow oil and gas companies to receive government financing during the pandemic. Last month, it was reported that fossil fuel companies had received $50 million in small business loans. As of now, however, this total has increased to $113 million.

By allowing nearly bankrupt fossil fuel companies access to these loans, the Federal Reserve is delaying the inevitable transition to a clean energy economy and perpetuating the United States’ unabated use of harmful fossil fuels. We should not fund companies that pose a public health hazard during a public health crisis. Read more.

In 2020, there are 14 senators in the Climate Solutions Caucus

News and Updates

Americans Still Care About Climate Change
Despite COVID-19 being at the forefront of everyone’s minds, two out of three Americans said global warming is important to them personally. Climate change has become a “durable issue” for Americans.

FCNL Urges a Sustainable Long-Term Recovery
In anticipation of Congress shifting to the country’s recovery, FCNL joined 25 other faith organizations in a letter that urges lawmakers to craft sustainable recovery packages. These packages should promote a healthy environment, allow us to be resilient to new crises, and build communities centered on principles of justice and equity.

Renewables Face Unprecedented Job Loss
The clean energy sector has lost almost 600,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic. This translates to a 17 percent decrease in clean energy employment. This number is estimated to climb to nearly 850,000 jobs by July, without congressional action.

Renewables Surpass Coal Consumption
For the first time in 130 years, renewable energy consumption exceeded coal consumption in 2019. A shift to a clean energy economy is possible!

Above Average 2020 Hurricane Season
NOAA projects that the 2020 hurricane season is going to be more active than usual. Studies are predicting between 13 and 19 named storms this season, with six to ten of them becoming hurricanes. This begs the question: How will governments handle both the coronavirus pandemic and an active hurricane season?

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Alicia Cannon

Alicia Cannon

Program Assistant, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Alicia advocates for the preservation of the environment, recognition of climate change, and the enactment of legislation that promotes sustainable solutions to our current climate crisis.