NCEL Blog

NCEL’s Year in Review – 2022

December 21, 2022

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National

NCEL Point of Contact

Taylor Anderson
Communications Manager

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2022 was a year of continued growth and expanded impact for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The NCEL team grew its capacity to work as the remote environmental staff for state lawmakers, and states across the country saw another year of strong environmental progress. Below is a recap of NCEL’s 2022 impact, some of the year’s state legislative victories, and what to expect in 2023.

Events

NCEL staff were thrilled to return to state capitols this year and also expand our offerings of in-person events. Throughout the year, NCEL hosted 60 in-person and virtual events to inform, inspire, and connect state lawmakers around strong environmental policy solutions. 

In addition to our annual National Forum, NCEL hosted a New England Climate Convening in Rhode Island, held our annual Mississippi River Legislative Caucus Forum in Tennessee, convened legislators in Nevada to advance a shared vision for equitable outdoor access, led an offshore wind panel at Capitol Hill Ocean Week, and so much more! 

International Presence

UN Climate Change Conference | COP27: For the second year, NCEL sent a delegation of staff and state legislators to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) to exchange ideas with the world’s climate leaders and showcase the leadership of U.S. states in addressing the climate crisis. While in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, NCEL’s delegation took part in six events, including NCEL’s headline event on how states are addressing climate change and planning to implement new federal funding for environmental priorities. 

UN Biodiversity Conference | COP15: NCEL also sent our first delegation of staff and legislators to the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in December to learn about innovative biodiversity solutions from across the globe that can be applied at the state and federal levels. 

  • The Big Picture: The U.S. is one of the only nations without a federal strategy to address the rapid decline in wildlife and ecosystems. Find out how states have led biodiversity conservation efforts this year.

NCEL Network

Working Groups: NCEL’s issue-based working groups continued to provide educational and collaborative opportunities for legislators in different states around a variety of environmental topics. Some of the most active working groups this year included the Bold Decarbonization, Plastic Pollution, Coastal, and Outdoor working groups. Throughout the year, NCEL Working Group members shared how they are working together to hold producers accountable for plastic waste, advance offshore wind, improve outdoor access and equity, and more. 

  • Get Involved: Want to join an NCEL working group? Contact NCEL staff. (Working Groups are only open to current legislators)

State Leads: In 2022, NCEL had 38 State Leads across 33 states and territories. State Leads play crucial leadership roles in the NCEL network, helping to organize in-state events, acting as the points of contact in their state, and engaging other legislators around environmental topics. 

  • Meet the 2022 State Leads and learn more about the program here.

NCEL in the News: The work of the NCEL network received 146 media hits from local, regional, and national news outlets such as Bloomberg Law, The Boston Globe, Governing, Politico, The Washington Post, and more. 

Sign-on Letters: NCEL organized and circulated five nationwide sign-on letters with 483 legislators from 49 states and territories signing at least one. The sign-on letters called on the federal government to address various environmental priorities such as establishing a National Biodiversity Strategy, centering health and climate in U.S. public housing, providing dedicated funding for states to recover endangered wildlife, improving gas furnace efficiency standards, and ensuring equity in the America the Beautiful conservation initiative.

New Resources: Our bill tracking map launched in January, helping state lawmakers and others keep up with policy trends around the country. We also released seven brand new fact sheets, four briefing books, and many more new pieces of digital content to give legislators actionable and engaging information to advance strong environmental policy. Explore NCEL’s Resource Center.

Legislative Success

Despite shorter legislative sessions and midterm elections in many states, strong environmental policy continued throughout 2022. It was another very active year for bills supporting low-carbon transportation systems, plastic pollution solutions, offshore wind energy, and outdoor engagement

Additionally, there was a continued increase in states working to incorporate justice and equity into climate legislation, as well as working to advance sustainable agriculture solutions.

2022 National Forum

After two years of being held virtually, NCEL convened over 100 state legislators from 35 states in Denver, Colorado for our National Forum. The Forum provides state lawmakers the opportunity to learn about emerging topics related to climate, energy, conservation, and environmental health, and to collaborate on policy solutions.

This year’s Forum had a central focus on NCEL’s dedication to ensuring a healthy environment for all, opening with a plenary session on centering health in environmental policy. Learn more about the topics covered at the 2022 National Forum.

During the Forum, we presented four state lawmakers with NCEL’s annual awards for their outstanding work advancing environmental legislation and programs.

Rising Environmental Leaders

Recipients of the 2022 Rising Environmental Leader Awards were Delaware State Representative Madinah Wilson-Anton and West Virginia State Delegate Kayla Young. The award recognizes NCEL members who demonstrate strong leadership on environmental issues early in their legislative careers. 

Environmental Achievement Award

NCEL presented New York Assemblyman Steve Englebright with the Environmental Achievement Award. Named after NCEL’s founder, the award celebrates legislators that have shown a continued commitment to environmental success and impact throughout their careers.

Environmental Activism Award

North Carolina State Senator Natalie Murdock received the 2022 Environmental Activism Award. Named in honor of Robert “Renny” Cushing, a former New Hampshire Representative, the award goes to a member of the Caucus for their outstanding activism on environmental issues.

Looking Ahead to 2023

Thank you for being a part of NCEL and for all your hard work this year!

With all 50 states back in legislative session in the new year, NCEL staff are more ready than ever to work as the remote environmental staff for legislators across the country. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist with your legislative efforts.

Stay tuned early in the new year for the launch of our 2023 bill tracking map and a preview of what we see as the trending policies for the new year.

Please consider becoming one of our Sustaining Members with a monthly contribution of $15. You can also make a one-time donation. Your tax-deductible donations help provide crucial support to legislators across the country working to pass strong environmental policies.