2024 KCP Application
Elected Officials to Protect America
Primary Project Category:
Project Summary / Description:
With the climate emergency worsening and federal action stalled, state and local leaders must work together, enact policies, and lay groundwork for national policy. Yet, no national peer-to-peer initiative has mobilized lawmakers to address the crisis‚ cause: production & combustion of fossil fuels. Before founding EOPA, we trained & organized 3,000+ of our peer state and local lawmakers in all 50 states to support climate action, impacting policy. We saw no initiative that inspires lawmakers through value-based communications or supports officials to connect dots between public health harms, environmental injustices, and national security threats of the climate crisis and fossil fuels. We founded EOPA to fill these crucial gaps.
Regions of Operations:
How Project Affects Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions:
We educate through value-based storytelling, train lawmakers and connect elected officials to inspire strong environmental leadership. EOPA is the only national organization that mobilizes veterans who are lawmakers to work together on climate. Our local and state elected official network is vast with members in 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Best Estimate of GHG Avoidance/Reduction of This Project (Tonnes CO2 Equivalent/Year):
Impact on Underrepresented Groups:
EOPA‚ Climate Emergency Campaign supports economic and racial diversity and equity by addressing the health and economic disparities caused by dirty energy and the climate crisis, while promoting policy action and empowering communities. The disastrous consequences of fossil fuel production and burning from air pollution in California alone costs more than 12,000 lives and $100 billion dollars annually, according to a 2014 Stanford study in the journal Energy. The worst costs fall on people least able to afford them, exacerbating environmental and economic injustices. For example, nearly 8,500 active California oil and gas wells are located within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, and hospitals, where exposure to toxic contaminants is a significant threat to public health, according to the California Council on Science and Technology. These harms disproportionately impact people of color and economically disadvantaged communities. Between 2011 and 2018, of the more than 21,000 new oil and gas wells permitted by the state, 76 percent are located in communities with above-average poverty rates for California, and 67 percent are located in communities of color, according to a 2018 study by the Center for Biological Diversity. Responding to the grave economic, public health, and environmental justice consequences of fossil fuel production, we organized more than 300 local elected officials from 49 counties in California to urge Gov. Newsom to: (1) end permits for new fossil fuel projects in California; (2) enact 2,500-foot human health and safety buffer zones around all homes, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, and farms to protect public health and address the severe environmental injustice of production in low-income communities and communities of color; and (3) achieve 100% clean energy in all sectors, with significant investments in disadvantaged communities and areas suffering the worst impacts of fossil fuel extraction and the climate crisis. Phasing out fossil fuel production is paramount to addressing the climate crisis, and will make communities healthier and safer. It will also create millions of jobs throughout the country as we increase investment in renewable energy, clean vehicles and buildings, energy efficiency, public transportation, and other innovative solutions. EOPA explicitly calls for a just transition for fossil fuel workers to help build the clean energy economy of tomorrow, reducing pollution and expanding opportunity for all. We also support economic and racial diversity and equity by promoting leadership of elected officials representing economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color. For example, our California co-chair Jos Gurrola is Mayor of Arvin, a predominately economically disadvantaged Latino community located in Kern County, which produces 80 percent of California‚ oil and gas and suffers disproportionate economic and public health impacts. As profiled in The Nation in 2019, Jos and many in his family suffer from asthma caused by the harmful pollution from the thousands of oil and gas wells in Arvin. At age 24, Jos ran and was elected on a platform to clean up the air for present and future generations, and has successfully passed groundbreaking public health setbacks on oil and gas drilling in his community. When convening leadership councils of elected officials across the state in our target states and nationally to provide leadership, legitimacy, and serve as the initiative‚ public face, we ensure the committees are geographically, politically, and gender diverse, and includes leaders from economically disadvantaged, communities of color, and frontline communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry and the climate crisis. Similarly, EOPA supports gender diversity and equity by promoting leadership of elected officials who are women. Our co-founders and co-chairs in New York and in California are Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Roberston and Culver City Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, respectively. We seek to lift up the voices of women elected officials. Almost half of our leadership council nationally and half of our CA and NY leadership councils are women. Fully 42 percent of our signatories are elected officials who are women. We borrow grassroots organizing tactics used by one the most successful grassroots movements in history: movements for gender and sexual orientation equality. In 2004, members of our core team leveraged their local office to marry same-sex couples, igniting legal challenges and national debate, culminating with marriage equality 11 years later. Mayors for the Freedom to Marry (MFM) organized officials nationally to publicly support marriage equality, moving society's mainstream. MFM mentored us and we model their work
Research or Economic Modeling
Measurement, Reporting & Validation
Elected Officials to Protect America is a network of current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting our planet and people. EOPA is committed to solving the climate crisis, ensuring environmental justice, and protecting our lands, waters, and democracy.
Greatest Current Funding Need: