How to Get a Strong Senate Climate Bill, Part 1: Collect Letters

At a meeting with Senator Cardin, the Senator’s chief energy policy adviser issued Maryland climate activists some very specific marching orders:

“If you want a stronger climate bill, we need to hear from you. Send us your input.”

Glad to oblige, I took this message back to the grassroots with a further caveat: The Senator’s office had received in the neighborhood of nine-hundred letters from opponents of the bill, compared to only six- or seven-hundred from supporters. Not missing a beat, climate activists across the state took up the Senator’s challenge and sprung into action, determined to close the gap with the “cap and tax” crowd.

The action that unfolded was truly inspiring. From Baltimore, to Silver Spring, to Hyattsville, and Columbia activist teams descended upon an array of local festivals, farmers markets, street corners and even movie lines to amass enough letters to make up the deficit. They hit their goal in less than a week, pulling in around two-hundred and fifty handwritten letters specifically asking the Senator to ensure the Senate bill went much further than the House ACES bill to ensure that polluters and not the public bear the costs of fixing the climate crisis. This focus on pocketbook protection was particularly timely considering that the Senator is currently helping to draft the version of the bill dealing with that very issue.

cardin-letters-002Today, I dropped by Capitol Hill with two of Maryland’s top letter collecting champs, Danny Berchenko and Susan Stewart to make sure Senator Cardin received the big dose of grassroots support he was looking for. Echoing an earlier letter delivery to Congressman Sarbanes, we bound up the giant stacks of letters with some bright green ribbon and handed them over to Senator Cardin’s staff with the promise that there were plenty more on the way.

That’s right; our letter writing campaign is far from over. The “cap-and-tax” crowd isn’t going to stop making its voice heard and neither can we. We’ve got to outpace those naysayers over the coming weeks, and make sure Senator Cardin continues to hear the drumbeat for a stronger climate bill. We’re aiming to collect one-thousand letters by the end of August when the Environment and Public Works Committee starts to mark up the Senate climate bill. But we can’t do it without you. Help us win the letter writing race and capitalize on the amazing opportunity we have to work with our Senator to create a stronger climate bill. Please contact me today (email: keith@chesapeakeclimate.org) to get plugged into a letter collecting team in your area. Also be sure to check out the Maryland campaign resources page for our helpful letter writing guide, sample letter writing points and our new grassroots Senate Action toolkit packed full of information on all the exciting ways you can engage with this historic campaign.