Virginia Withholds Key Permit for “Header Injustice Project”

CCAN Statement: “This was a needed win in these trying times”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2020
CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 240-630-1889
Anne Havemann, General Counsel, anne@chesapeakeclimate.org, 240-630-2146
Lauren Landis, Grassroots Coordinator, lauren@chesapeakeclimate.org, 757-634-9567

Richmond, VA — Today, the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued a preliminary ruling against a controversial fracked-gas expansion project referred to as the “Header Injustice Project” by affected communities. Under the terms of the decision, the utility may re-apply for a permit but must comply with certain conditions that could prove extremely difficult to meet.  If the utility, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), can show by December 31, 2020, that its main customer — the 1050-megawatt C4GT gas plant — has the financing it needs to build, VNG must also submit information about needed environmental justice analyses and confirm that it will protect VNG’s customers from unnecessary rate increases. 

The second condition related to cost protections might prove especially challenging for VNG to meet. To shield VNG’s customers from “holding the bag” for the costs of the project should the gas plant cease operation, the Commission is requiring that the capital cost of the project must be recovered over 20 years instead of the 70 years proposed. VNG’s own rebuttal testimony recognized that “[t]here is a very real risk that if the entire cost of the Project is required to be amortized over 20 years that the Project will be cost prohibitive and not be completed.” 

The Commission found that there was a “very real risk” that C4GT might shut down before VNG fully recovered the costs of the Project. In its 2020 session, the Virginia General Assembly voted to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which will raise the cost of all carbon-emitting facilities in Virginia, making it more difficult for merchant facilities like C4GT, which sell energy and capacity into the regional power grid, to make a profit. 

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club, represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates, intervened in the proceeding and consistently raised concerns about the potential impacts to ratepayers from the proposed 70-year cost-recovery period, among other issues. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation also intervened as did the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Appalachian Voices and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light. 

Anne Havemann, CCAN General Counsel, stated:

“This was a needed win in these trying times. The Header Injustice Project is so named because it is an absolute travesty in terms of environmental justice. Major components would go through majority-minority communities, and virtual hearings were held about an issue that would impact areas that have limited internet access. As a result, these communities, with little knowledge or say in the project, would have been the worst impacted by its harms: toxic air pollution, noise, threats of explosion. This is the textbook definition of environmental racism. 

“But, at the end of the day, it was the arguments around need and cost that moved the needle. This decision recognizes that there is great risk in continuing investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and affirms that ratepayers should not be forced to subsidize these projects. Virginia is on the pathway to 100% clean electricity. Fracked gas should no longer enter the equation. 

“We thank the SCC Commissioners who did the right thing today. The tide is turning in Virginia toward clean energy and toward justice. We hope that Governor Northam is paying attention and will use his authority to reject the other terrible fracked-gas projects proposed in the Commonwealth, including Dominion’s Buckingham Compressor Station.” 

Additional information: 

Virginia Natural Gas is calling the proposal the “Header Improvement Project.” But the organizations fighting it call it the “Header Injustice Project” because it would harm countless communities. 

The proposal is for three new gas pipelines, totaling 24 miles, and three new or expanded gas compressor stations from Northern Virginia, through the middle of the state, and to the shore in Hampton Roads. The primary purpose of HIP is to supply gas to the C4GT merchant gas plant proposed for Charles County City. This merchant plant would be located about a mile from the proposed Chickahominy Power Station, a separate gas-fired merchant power plant that would be the largest in the state of Virginia. VNG wants this network of fracked-gas infrastructure to be up and running by the end of 2022.

The project has been tangled in justice concerns from the beginning. The massive gas plant the project is intended to serve is one of two such plants proposed  to be built in a community with higher minority populations than the Virginia average. And one key component of the HIP project itself — the Gidley Compressor Station — is also proposed for a predominantly Black community. Yet there has been no environmental justice review carried out. 

Furthermore, holding regulatory hearings for the project during the COVID-19 pandemic raised concerns in itself because internet coverage in the area surrounding the Gidley Compressor falls below the state average, leaving residents unable to access information and participate in the process. The first hearing on the HIP proposal was held up by technical issues.

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 A coalition called the Stop the Abuse of Virginian Energy (SAVE) Coalition has formed to stop this project. Learn more here: www.stophip.org

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the first grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit www.chesapeakeclimate.org 

D.C. Sues Big Oil for Lying About Climate Change

AG Karl Racine Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Exxon, BP, Chevron, and Shell One Day After Minnesota AG Filed Consumer Protection Case Against Exxon & Koch Industries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine today filed a consumer protection lawsuit against four of the world’s biggest oil companies — Exxon, BP, Chevron, and Shell — for knowingly concealing the role their products play in causing climate change harm.

The D.C. lawsuit comes one day after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a similar consumer fraud lawsuit against Exxon, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute. A consumer protection suit filed against Exxon by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey last year is now proceeding in state court.

“Two new lawsuits filed against Big Oil in two days shows the strength and momentum of legal efforts to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for lying about climate change,” said Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity. “It has been a very bad week for corporate polluters and climate deniers, and a very good week in the fight to hold Big Oil accountable for its lies and deception. We applaud Attorney General Racine for bringing this case. The residents of D.C. deserve their day in court.” 

“The District of Columbia today stood up to mega polluters like ExxonMobil who have harmed vulnerable DC residents for decades,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “The heatwaves are bigger and the flooding from the Potomac is greater. The lawsuit filed today accurately asserts that these fossil fuel companies misled consumers about the harm of their products and the impacts of climate change. Now legal justice and compensation must flow to the Capital’s injured residents.”

A copy of the D.C. lawsuit is available here  https://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/DC-v-Exxon-BP-Chevron-Shell-Filed-Complaint.pdf

This is the second consumer protection action filed in D.C. against Exxon in recent months. In May, the non-profit group Beyond Pesticides filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Exxon that asked the D.C. Superior Court to order the oil giant to cease its “false and deceptive marketing” about its role in climate change.

Background on Climate Accountability Lawsuits:

The consumer protection lawsuits filed by Massachusetts, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia are among a growing number of cases that seek to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for climate change deception. Since 2017, more than a dozen city and county governments in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Washington have brought lawsuits under different claims to recover billions of dollars damages caused by the oil and gas industry’s deception about climate change. Learn about those other cases here.

Contact: Mike Meno, Center for Climate Integrity, mike@climateintegrity.org or 919-307-6637
Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, mtidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org or 240-460-5838

The Center for Climate Integrity, a project of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, launched in 2017 to educate the public and policymakers about the massive costs of coping with the damage attributable to global warming and to support efforts to make climate polluters pay their fair share.

For more information on what ExxonMobil and others in the industry knew about climate change and when, check out the Center for Climate Integrity’s “Smoking Guns” document archive or visit PayUpClimatePolluters.org.

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Add “Prison Reform” to your Climate Activist To-Do List. Yes, really.

Racial Injustice in the time of COVID-19 

As we’ve seen so often during the coronavirus crisis, we know that COVID-19 does not impact all people equally. In the United States, we have seen the virus expose the dark divisions in health and income disparities between white Americans and Black and Latinx Americans. Moreover, the ongoing protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others at the hands of police have revealed the systemic racism that keeps populations in our society unequal. Activists and educators have pointed to the statistics that show even more severe inconsistencies between Black and white Americans in the level of services accessible in the form of access to jobs, healthcare, affordable housing, and education. However, out of all populations that COVID-19 is hitting the hardest, Americans in prison are dying at a disproportionate rates and spreading COVID-19 faster than outside populations, due to the intersections of of racial injustice, poor health outcomes, and lack of basic medical care that is lacking in our prisons and jails. 

These disparities should cause alarm for anyone wishing for America to move towards a more just and equal society. For us as climate activists, we already know the data shows us that communities of color bear the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts. We should examine how to help every community in our society have a higher chance of survival against the virus, so that we can begin to create the truly green and safe future that we strive towards. 

How does the legacy of white supremacy impact the current criminal justice system? 

In the United States, 70 percent of American prisoners are non-white – part of this has been fueled by decades of mandatory minimum sentencing for crimes that fall under the categories targeted by the “War on Drugs” or “broken windows” policing strategies. Legal scholar Michelle Alexander in her award-winning book “The New Jim Crow” argues that the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a system that upholds racism, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. “People of color are being incarcerated at far higher rates than their counterparts, while neighborhoods that are economically or politically disenfranchised will also have an accumulation” said Barun Mathema, an epidemiologist at Columbia University. A 2016 study by the Sentencing Project found that Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites, and at least ten times the rate in five states.

What does this mean during COVID-19? During the COVID-19 crisis, these inequalities are even more magnified. People in prisons are often at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 due to close proximity, inability to practice social distancing, lack of adequate sanitation and hygiene, high incidence of underlying medical conditions, and lack of adequate medical care in prisons and jails. Even in non-pandemic times, prisons and jails fail at providing the most basic of physical and mental healthcare. And noting the earlier statistics on which groups make up the majority of prisons (Black and Brown people of color), we see that the intersections of race and COVID-19 are a death sentence for the most vulnerable populations in our country. This needs to change. 

Connecting the Dots: COVID-19, Climate, Injustice

Some of you might be asking now: Why should we work to make reforms now to the criminal justice system during COVID-19? Racial injustice has fueled this crisis in America’s prisons, and just as with calls to reform police departments because of brutality, we should also seek to reform this system for the better overall public health and sustainability of our communities. 

If it weren’t enough that prisons are pushed to extremes during a pandemic, we face the duality of knowing that climate change impacts are hitting us already, and the more extreme impacts that we know will come if fossil fuel pollution is left unchecked. If we recognize that people of color are the ones most often on the frontlines of climate change, we must also recognize that prison populations are also on the front lines of climate change. Organizer Jay Ware notes that imprisoned people also suffer from climate catastrophes, “whether this is families fleeing climate change in the Global South being detained and separated into immigrant detention facilities or other black, brown, and poor white prisoners from typically toxic neighborhoods ecologically who are held in toxic prisons.” Not only are the climate impacts experienced prior to incarceration by families and communities, but for people currently living in prison, climate impacts of intense heat, extreme cold, and flooding inflict both physical and psychological suffering

“Every time a large-scale hurricane approaches a coastal stretch of the United States, gruesome stories surface concerning prison officials who refuse to evacuate their prisons. The consequences of this malign neglect can be devastating, and sometimes fatal. During Hurricane Katrina, thousands of prisoners were left to rot in waist-high water; in 2017, Hurricane Harvey saw 3,000 prisoners in Texas stranded without food or water for days; in 2018, prisoners within the evacuation zone on Florida’s coast were left to fend for themselves when Hurricane Michael hit; and when Hurricane Florence rolled through South Carolina, the state declined to evacuate more than a thousand people across multiple prisons.” – Kim Kelly, “The Climate Disaster Inside America’s Prisons” 

Furthermore, with the threads of mass incarceration, health inequality, and the climate crisis seemingly intertwined – some officials look to prisons for help in fighting climate change. In California, during the unprecedented fire season in 2018 and onwards, prison labor has been used to fight wildfires. Prisoners in California’s Conservation Camp program were fighting the fires alongside civilian employees, earning just $1.45 a day for their work, significantly less than minimum wage that their counterparts earn, but carrying all of the dangerous risks that fighting fires entail. If you do not see the issues with labor exploitation during a climate crisis, the ACLU makes it clear: “We should use incarceration as a last resort to protect public safety — not to create or maintain a pool of cheap labor for the government.” 

Next Steps on Criminal Justice Reform 

So where do we go from here? What would reform look like? An immediate next step that all climate activists must take is to dedicate some of your time as activists to guarantee that the human rights of all Americans are being protected, now during the COVID-19 crisis and into the future when we know that climate impacts will arrive in our cities and communities. 

Since it has been noted that one of the main causes of COVID-19 spreading quickly throughout the prison system is due to prison overcrowding – one solution proposed is to reduce the overall number of people in prison – something that health experts and criminal justice reform advocates now agree on. Activists have been calling for this for many years, because we already know prisons are stacked with more and more individuals serving extremely long sentences for nonviolent offenses.  

Human Rights Watch, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to human rights issues, recommends releasing: 

  • those held for minor offenses
  • those nearing the end of their sentence
  • those jailed for technical violations of probation or parole
  • incarcerated children, older, and otherwise medically vulnerable people, and people who are caregivers to vulnerable people
  • detainees who have not been charged
  • detainees held in pretrial detention, unless they pose a serious and concrete risk to others

in order to best stop the rampant spread of COVID-19 and other health ailments. 

Research released in April by the ACLU found that if prison reform measures were taken, the U.S. could “save as many as 23,000 people in jail and 76,000 in the broader community if we stop arrests for all but the most serious offenses and double the rate of release for those already detained.” 

And it’s not just activists sounding the alarm on this issue either – our government must take notice and take action towards reform. On April 6, Attorney General William Barr sent a memo to federal prosecutors urging them to consider Covid-19 risks when making bail decisions. The memo cited the risk of in increasing jail populations during the pandemic, as well as concerns about risks to individuals. The memo still instructs prosecutors to detain people who pose a public safety threat, despite concerns about the virus. If the Trump Administration recognizes this as a problem, it’s clearly even more serious than they let on. 

Concluding Thoughts 

Finding solutions for all of the intersecting systems of climate justice, racial justice, and mass incarceration can feel overwhelming. But we can draw some conclusions from analyzing all of this information: The same systems that result in a fossil fuel-burning power plant located closer to a Black neighborhood is the same system that resulted in higher incarceration rates for Black Americans and ultimately higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. If we want to fix one of these problems, we actually need to solve both, because climate justice is inherently linked to rectifying racial injustice. 

If we want to create a more sustainable future with clean energy, access to family-supporting jobs, and homes safe from climate impacts of extreme heat, storms, and rising seas, we first need to work to improve the systems that keep us unequal: the unequal access to affordable healthcare and safe homes. For a truly just transition, there can be no one left behind. 

Here are some organizations that are working on this issue in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia region that I would encourage you to learn more from and support: 

If you’re confused or have more questions, I would love to talk with you more about this issue, please feel free to email me at stacy[at]chesapeakeclimate.org 

Resources for Further Reading: 

References

Groups Sue Trump’s EPA Over Rollback of Toxic Emissions Standards

Under the cover of Covid, EPA is putting thousands of lives at risk 

For Immediate Release – June 19, 2020

Contacts: 
Siham Zniber, Press Secretary, | szniber@earthjustice.org
Neil Gormley, Earthjustice attorney, | ngormley@earthjustice.org | 202.797.5239
James Pew, Earthjustice attorney, | jpew@earthjustice.org  | 202.745.5214
Brian Willis, Sierra Club, Brian.Willis@sierraclub.org
Lisa Caruso, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, lcaruso@cbf.org | 202.746.2504
Katie Edwards, Clean Air Council kedwards@cleanair.org

Washington, D.C. – Today, civil rights and environmental organizations represented by Earthjustice sued Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency for gutting the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which regulate toxic emissions from coal- and oil-burning power plants. Since MATS took effect in 2015, it has reduced mercury and other air pollutants, which are linked to brain poisoning, breathing illnesses, heart disease, and cancer, among other health impacts that particularly affect children and communities of color. MATS is estimated to save as many as 11,000 lives each year. 

Despite unusually widespread opposition, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler – a former coal lobbyist – reversed the legal finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate power plants’ hazardous emissions, based on a new cost benefit analysis that economists say has “deep flaws.” The move weakened the rule’s legal foundation and invited court challenges from industry groups hostile to these protections. Coal company Westmoreland Mining Holdings quickly took the opportunity that Wheeler handed to them and went after MATS in court last month. Earthjustice clients are also intervening in Westmoreland’s lawsuit to stop coal barons in their tracks.

 “Wheeler deceitfully created a bogus excuse for coal companies to challenge the MATS rule in court even though he knows the rule saves thousands of lives every year,” said Earthjustice attorney Neil Gormley. “If Wheeler’s giveaway to his former clients is successful, our children will be poisoned while we’re preoccupied with the pandemic. This corrupt attack on our communities is immoral and must be stopped.”

EPA’s own analysis underscores the public health benefits of air pollution regulations. Thanks to MATS mercury pollution has decreased by more than 81 percent.  

“It’s just common sense to protect the most vulnerable populations from the highly toxic air pollution emitted by coal-fired power plants. The technology to keep people safe is being used today and it is affordable. Eliminating these basic protections is simply unconscionable,” said Anne Hedges, Deputy Director of the Montana Environmental Information Center.

“The Trump administration is needlessly jeopardizing standards that have advanced Bay cleanup efforts and protected the region’s most vulnerable children for years. We cannot allow this cynical move to undermine critical health and environmental protections that power plants are already meeting. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is proud to return to court with partners we’ve fought alongside since 2005 to make sure that does not happen,”said Chesapeake Bay Foundation Staff Attorney Ariel Solaski.

“Given Andrew Wheeler’s long history as a coal lobbyist, it’s no surprise  that his intent was to weaken the mercury standards and practically invite a coal company to then sue in court challenging the now-compromised rule,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of Campaigns at the Sierra Club. “ We will continue to defend these life-saving standards and defeat Wheeler’s continuing attempts to fudge numbers in order to justify throwing out other clean air and water safeguards.”

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to gut clean air protections during a crisis of public health and justice is unconscionable,” said Anne Havemann, General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “This is an issue of environmental justice. Communities with higher air pollution rates face higher death rates from COVID-19, and Black and brown residents of this country are dying from the virus at three times the rate of white Americans. Now is the time to increase protections, not gut them.”

“Pennsylvania’s coal plants are uniformly located in areas where at least 20% of the population lives below the poverty line, as seen here, qualifying them as Environmental Justice Areas. This completely unnecessary and dangerous rollback of public health standards would directly harm our most vulnerable populations,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council.

Earthjustice filed this lawsuit on behalf of Air Alliance Houston, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Clean Air Council, Downwinders at Risk, Montana Environmental Information Center, and NAACP.

Read this Earthjustice report for more on the history and benefits of MATS. 

A copy of the filing can be found here.

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Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator

Work-from-home available during COVID-19 pandemic

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is seeking a highly organized, multi-talented person to fill CCAN’s most versatile position.

JOIN OUR WINNING TEAM

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) has an excellent opportunity for someone who is a proven problem solver, quick learner, and passionate about tackling the critical problems and solutions associated with climate change. Whether you’re looking for a foot in the door in the non-profit and progressive community or looking to fill your day with multifaceted work that benefits our planet, this could be the perfect position for you!

Work with our committed team and supporters as part of a cutting-edge group that Bill McKibben calls “the best grassroots regional climate organization in the world.” 

ABOUT US 

CCAN is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out.

Across the region, we are working on bold campaigns that would result in solutions matching the scale of the climate crisis. Never has our work been more important as we are facing stalls and rollbacks at the national level. For almost two decades, we have been pushing the envelope of what’s “politically possible,” using every tool available – from organizing to lobbying to the law. We are standing in the way of fracked gas pipelines and leading the charge on climate policy. 

ABOUT THE POSITION

CCAN is looking for a self-motivated problem solver, who is comfortable with learning new tech-related skills, doing research, and performing various administrative needs of the organization and the Executive Director. The successful candidate will be someone who is just as motivated to keep our Executive Director’s calendar in order as they are to do critical research to support our campaigns.

The Executive Assistant will work directly with the Executive Director, assisting with the campaigns he is driving and his administrative duties. As part of that work, this position will involve additional special projects as needed by the organization’s leadership and would involve research, communications, organizing, and administrative tasks. This person also assists in various office management support and duties. Every day is different in this job and the right person for it is one who thrives in a fast-paced environment, is flexible, and is excited to provide support to the entire team– from solving IT issues to planning special events.

WHAT YOU WILL DO 

The primary responsibilities of the position include: 

  • Assistant to the Executive Director: Assist the Executive Director with administrative duties, campaign research and development, management of social media channels, drafting and copy editing of written materials, and at times assist in the management of CCAN webpages.
  • Special Projects: Plan special projects and events as they occur and are related to CCAN campaigns. 
  • Office Management: Ensure that CCAN’s office systems are running smoothly both proactively and reactively, field general calls to the CCAN office and manage CCAN’s front lobby in the Takoma Park office, coordinate the upkeep of CCAN’s office spaces, and assist with intern and job recruitment and onboarding.
  • CCAN IT Management: Ensure that CCAN’s various IT systems are working properly and that staff is outfitted with the necessary technology to accomplish its goals, manage staff technology, and assist on virtual calls and with digital spaces.

QUALIFICATIONS

Qualified candidates will display the following capabilities and qualities: 

  • Thrives in fast-paced environments
  • Could be described as “tech-savvy” and has an aptitude for learning new technology and other skills quickly
  • Proven ability to multitask, while prioritizing measurable results 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Problem-solver; someone who thinks of solutions more than barriers  
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and Google Suite
  • Commitment to the mission of fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice

THE DETAILS

The Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator position is based in Takoma Park, MD and reports to the Executive Director. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CCAN team is working from home until health professionals lift social distancing and telework guidelines. 

Salary is commensurate with experience, with a minimum annual salary of $38,000. We provide a generous benefits package including health care, dental and vision coverage and 4 weeks’ paid vacation. 

HOW TO APPLY

Please fill out the Google form application, you will be prompted to answer a series of short questions and asked to submit a resume and cover letter.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. CCAN is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse workforce. We value bringing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on staff because it makes us smarter and more effective at what we do and, ultimately, we want our staff and supporters to reflect the communities we organize. We are seeking to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups to apply for this position.

Fall Internship: Fundraising & Development

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is looking for an intern to support our efforts to reduce pollution in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC as a part of our Development team through the Fall semester.

ABOUT CCAN

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. Our mission is to build the kind of movement it will take to put our region on the path to climate stability, while using our proximity to the nation’s capital to inspire action in neighboring states, around the country and around the world.

ABOUT THE INTERNSHIP

The Fundraising & Development intern will work closely with our Development team to build our fundraising program and assist in planning major fundraising events and campaigns. They will gain valuable experience in fundraising and event planning that can be used to launch a career in fundraising or simply to gain skills that will help you succeed in the nonprofit industry. As our fundraising program grows, our ability to respond to threats to climate progress with big, creative actions will increase. 

SPECIFICALLY, YOUR TASKS WILL INCLUDE

  • Drafting fundraising collateral, from brochures to email appeals to thank you notes.
  • Assisting with the planning of our annual Polar Bear Plunge.
  • Helping to develop our peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities.
  • Leveraging your own creative thinking to build CCAN’s fundraising program.
  • And learning the ins and outs of the organization that climate activist Bill McKibben has called the “best regional climate organization in the world.”

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Excellent written and verbal skills
  • Comfortable learning new online platforms and technical skills
  • An interest in fundraising and donor development
  • A driving passion to enact structural change to address the causes of climate change and win
  • Prior database use and/or research skills are preferred but not required.

LOCATION
This internship would normally be based in our office in Takoma Park, Maryland. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CCAN team is working from home until health professionals lift social distancing and telework guidelines. 

DETAILS
Internships are typically 15-20 hours per week from mid September through late January, exact timing to be determined based on your course schedule.

Internships at CCAN are primarily education-focused, to arm you with experience toward your career and life goals. Interns receive a limited reimbursement for incidental expenditures. We encourage you to pursue course credit for this internship, or external grant opportunities if those are available, and we will support these pursuits in any way we can.

APPLY NOW TO INTERN WITH US:
To apply, fill out the following Google Form Application, where you will be prompted to upload your resume and a cover letter. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Fall Internship: Maryland Grassroots

WORK WITH CCAN TO MOBILIZE OUR GRASSROOTS TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE IN MARYLAND. 

DESCRIPTION

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) works with partners across the state to promote renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Our campaigns focus on passing legislation that will dramatically reduce climate change pollution in Maryland, while cleaning up our air, improving the health of our communities, and creating good-paying new jobs.

We’re looking for smart, talented students for fall internships to stand up and take climate action. Apply today!

ABOUT CCAN

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. Our mission is to build the kind of movement it will take to put our region on the path to climate stability, while using our proximity to the nation’s capital to inspire action in neighboring states, around the country and around the world.

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

Not only did we fight to make Maryland the first state with natural gas reserves to legislatively ban fracking, we recently expanded renewable energy in our region by increasing Maryland’s renewable energy requirement to 50% by 2030. We are currently working with partners to establish campaigns around reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, and to get us closer to 100% clean renewable energy by 2040.

As we face Trump’s rollbacks on climate change policies, we must continue to act on the state level, and you will be on the front lines of our campaigns!

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR

  • A driving passion to enact structural change to address the causes of climate change and win
  • An eagerness to learn new advocacy and organizing skills and put them to work right away
  • A willingness to work hard
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

LOCATION

This internship is normally based in our office in Takoma Park, Maryland. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CCAN team is working from home until health professionals lift social distancing and telework guidelines. 

DETAILS

Internships are typically 15-20 hours per week from early September through mid December. Exact timing to be determined based on your course schedule.

Internships at CCAN are primarily education-focused, to arm you with experience toward your career and life goals. Interns receive a limited reimbursement for incidental expenditures. We encourage you to pursue course credit for this internship, or external grant opportunities if those are available, and we will support these pursuits in any way we can.

APPLY NOW AND SPEND YOUR FALL INTERNING WITH US

To apply, please fill out this Google Form Application, where you will be prompted to upload your resume. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis

We support “Defund the Police.” Here’s why, and what’s next

We are at a crucial point in history for racial justice. There are no neutral actors here: Silence itself is a dangerous act. 

That’s why we at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network are raising our voices for a world where Black Lives Matter. Not just because Black and Latinx Americans care most on average about climate change. Not just because the climate fight would be nothing without a diverse movement. Not just because we need every community to join us in our fight for climate solutions for it to succeed. Not just because we need to be able to protest without entire populations fearing for their lives. 

But because the fight for a safe climate future is a fight to save lives. And millions of Americans are fighting for their lives right now.

At this critical moment, we are following the lead of Black-led organizations at the forefront of this struggle. We are signing on in support of the broad movement to reduce funding for police and reinvest in communities under the banner of “Defund the Police.”

On Tuesday night, CCAN Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to support this movement. Click HERE to see the resolution. 

In practical terms, here’s what that means for us at CCAN: 

  • We will support efforts spearheaded by Black-led organizations to pressure our legislators to meaningfully divest from police programs that directly or indirectly give rise to brutality, and invest in public services and other public safety measures that don’t involve police force or incarceration. This means weighing in on state and local budget hearings, and encouraging our supporters to do the same. More on that below. 
  • We pledge to not pay for police services at CCAN events — like protests and conferences — unless absolutely necessary. Often, police departments require activists to pay for police presence at public marches and rallies. Our refusal to pay such fees will force us to make sure we’re asking the right questions up front and will help us to choose venues and vendors that share our values. We expect to formalize this new policy in the coming weeks.
  • We will connect our supporters with anti-racism trainings and resources and maximize trainings for staff to ensure that racial justice is a centerpiece of our climate campaigns.
  • We will invest in voter education campaigns to help protect vulnerable communities from voter suppression efforts — and encourage all voters to support leaders who advocate for meaningfully divesting from police to better fund social programs instead. 

You may be wondering, what do we mean by “Defund the Police?” It doesn’t mean getting rid of all police overnight — or necessarily ever — and it won’t mean the same thing in every city, town, or locality. It means redistributing the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend on policing back into essential public services that have been gutted over the last few decades as police budgets ballooned. It means mental health professionals answering calls about mental health crises, and addiction experts answering calls about opioid abuse, instead of armed officers. It means tackling our social problems with tools that could help solve them rather than resorting to violence and criminalization, a system that was borne out of racism and has intentionally disrupted and devastated Black, Brown, Indigenous and poor communities since its inception centuries ago.

This effort draws parallels to the fossil fuel divestment campaign as well. We’re not proposing eliminating all forms of energy, just the dirty ones; we still need to keep the lights on and the internet flowing, now more than ever in the era of coronavirus. Similarly, we still need systems to keep our communities safe. We’re just opening our minds to what those systems look like. And we’re taking our cues from the groups, communities, and thought-leaders most impacted by the current broken system.

If you’re still skeptical, click HERE to watch a video with CCAN Board Members Terence Ellen and Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. discussing what “Defund the Police” means for CCAN and why it’s important for climate activists to support it.

Here at CCAN, we know that the fight for climate justice and racial justice are one in the same. People of color disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change, from extreme storms to flooding from sea level rise to heat waves to air pollution. It’s also no coincidence that fossil-fueled power plants and refineries are disproportionately located in black neighborhoods, leading to poor air quality and putting people at higher risk for coronavirus. The forces behind the climate crisis are the same forces behind racial inequality. As Eric Holthaus put it, climate change is “what happens when the lives of marginalised people and non-human species are viewed as expendable.” We have to work together for permanent and durable solutions that protect every single person of every single race — particularly the most vulnerable — now and in the future. 

That’s why we will continue to shine light on police brutality and work for solutions everywhere to this ongoing tragedy. And we ask you to do the same. Please do what you can to use your voice to demand justice. 

Here’s where to start:

The fight for justice becomes more crucial every day. We’re glad to be fighting with you. 

In solidarity, 

The entire team at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund