NCEL’s Year in Review – 2023
December 18, 2023
Throughout 2023, NCEL saw growth and expanded impact as the go-to organization for state lawmakers seeking to learn and collaborate on environmental policy. Thank you to state legislators across the country for your commitment and dedication to environmental solutions. Below is a recap of NCEL’s 2023 impact, some of the year’s state legislative victories, and what to expect in 2024.
Throughout the year, NCEL hosted 62 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 Southwest Legislators Transmission and Energy Convening in New Mexico, held our annual Mississippi River Legislative Caucus Forum in Louisiana, co-hosted a West Coast Legislator Convening with the Seattle Aquarium, and so much more!
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.
- Get Involved: Are you a current legislator and want to join an NCEL working group? Contact NCEL staff.
NCEL has 39 State Leads across 34 states. 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 2023-2024 State Leads and learn more about the program.
NCEL in the News
The work of the NCEL network received 100+ media hits from local, regional, and national news outlets such as Utility Dive, Stateline, Route Fifty, Governing, AgriNews, Politico, and The New York Times.
NCEL organized and circulated eight nationwide sign-on letters with 616 legislators from 52 states and territories signing at least one. The sign-on letters called for: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to strengthen its regional transmission planning rule, increasing federal assistance for endangered species, setting restrictions on the federal hydrogen tax credit, supporting the EPA’s proposed national primary drinking water regulations, supporting increasing the efficiency levels of water heaters, requesting a Major Disaster declaration for East Palestine, Ohio, ensuring renewable energy jobs are not threatened by the World Trade Organization, and urging for a strong National Nature Assessment.
Our bill tracking map helped state lawmakers and others keep up with policy trends around the country in 2023. We also released 23 new fact sheets and many more resources to give legislators actionable and engaging information to advance strong environmental policy. Some of our major publications include:
- Zero Waste Policy Roadmap provides policy solutions to address the entire plastics lifecycle.
- A Natural Legacy for the Future examines all of the country’s State Endangered Species Acts and provides case studies and strategies to improve species protection.
- Outdoors as a Climate Solution Briefing Book offers examples of how outdoor policies are being implemented as climate solutions.
- Outdoor Opportunity Toolkit provides a framework for establishing state-level outdoor opportunity funds and grant programs.
- Utility Briefing Book equips lawmakers with the tools needed to modernize the utility grid enabling the reliable integration, distribution, and utilization of clean energy resources.
States around the country wrapped up their legislative sessions after another momentous year for bold and equitable environmental policies. In the wake of consequential midterm elections and a divided U.S. Congress, states continued their leadership on policy solutions for combating climate change, conserving biodiversity, and protecting communities against environmental harm in 2023.
Legislators from across the country convened in Indianapolis, Indiana in August at NCEL’s 2023 National Forum to network, learn about trending environmental solutions, and collaborate for a healthier planet and people. The Forum provides state lawmakers the opportunity to learn about and collaborate on emerging topics related to climate, energy, conservation, and environmental health. Learn more about the topics covered at the 2023 National Forum.
During the Forum, we recognized six state lawmakers for their outstanding work to advance environmental legislation and programs.
Recipients of the 2023 Rising Environmental Leader Awards were Minnesota Representative Sydney Jordan and Arizona Senator Priya Sundareshan. The award recognizes NCEL members who demonstrate strong leadership on environmental issues early in their legislative careers.
NCEL presented Maryland Delegate Lorig Charkoudian and Rhode Island Senator Dawn Euer with the Environmental Achievement Award. Named after NCEL’s founder, the award celebrates legislators who have shown a continued commitment to environmental success and impact throughout their careers.
Oregon Representative Khanh Pham and New Mexico Representative Tara Lujan received the 2023 Environmental Activism Award. Named in honor of Robert “Renny” Cushing, a former New Hampshire Representative, the award recognizes outstanding activism on environmental issues.
Looking Ahead to 2024
Thank you for being a part of NCEL and for all your hard work this year!
NCEL staff are more ready than ever to work as the remote environmental staff for state 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 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.