2020 National Forum
State Legislators Gather Online To Ensure a Just and Equitable Economic Recovery and Healthy Environment For All
On August 6-7, 140 state legislators from 36 states convened online for NCEL’s 2020 National Forum. The event provided state lawmakers the opportunity to collaborate on policy solutions related to climate, energy, conservation, and environmental health.
This year’s National Forum featured sessions on environmental justice and ensuring that policies benefit communities equitably. The opening plenary session started a conversation around environmental justice, EJ communities, and how to ensure they are included in the policymaking process. The Forum was bookended with a closing session on ensuring a just and equitable energy transition.
Former Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar delivered a keynote address on how conservation and environmental issues intersect with social justice, economic recovery, and much more. Secretary Salazar also focused on the importance of bipartisan cooperation in securing a healthy environment for all.
Other session topics included circular economy, PFAS, sustainable food systems, habitat connectivity, 30×30, utility planning, and more. Legislators were also addressed by Senator Tom Udall, author of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act (BFFPA). He emphasized the crucial role states play and how state action to reduce plastic pollution spurred the introduction of the federal BFFPA.
During the event, NCEL presented its annual Rising Environmental Leader and Environmental Achievement Awards.
This year’s Rising Environmental Leaders are Georgia State Representative Park Cannon and New Mexico State Representative Angelica Rubio. This award recognizes outstanding environmental leadership in a first- or second-term legislator.
NCEL presented its Leon G. Billings Environmental Achievement Award to Minnesota State Representative Rick Hansen, North Carolina State Representative Chuck McGrady, and Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes. Named for NCEL’s founder, the award celebrates legislative careers noted for extensive environmental success and impact.
Created by and for state legislators, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes over 1,000 environmentally-committed state legislators from all 50 states and both parties. NCEL provides venues and opportunities for lawmakers to share ideas and collaborate on environmental issues.
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