Jul 13, 2022 - Politics

Environmental Defense Action Fund launches Texas PAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Environmental Defense Fund's advocacy arm has launched a Texas political action committee in an effort to elect more pro-climate candidates up and down the ballot, the group first told Axios.

The big picture: The PAC, which will support Democratic and Republican candidates, aims to pass lasting environmental policies in Texas.

Why it matters: The Environmental Defense Fund is one the nation's largest environmental organizations and the Texas arm will be its only state-based PAC in 2022.

  • The group's advocacy arm, Environmental Defense Fund Action, has invested in candidates on both sides of the aisle, although no congressional Republicans from Texas have directly received money from the group, according to Open Secrets.
  • EDF Action joined a coalition of climate and environmental groups last month, vowing to invest over $100 million into pro-climate candidates at the federal and state level this year.

Yes, but: While polling has shown that a majority of Texans believe climate change is happening, voters remain divided along party lines over its urgency and how to deal with it.

What they're saying: Colin Leyden, Texas political director for Environmental Defense Fund Action, said progress on environmental issues can't be made without Texas, which is the country's leading energy producer.

  • "We're convinced that we need to be investing in Texas in the short and long term and part of that is making sure that we're having environmental voters and voices as part of the electoral process," Leyden said.
  • The PAC could support candidates ahead of the November midterm elections, although the group has not publicly announced which candidates they're eyeing.

Reality check: Voters may be unlikely to prioritize environmental issues while the political conversation is dominated by abortion, guns and inflation.

Leyden said the PAC's strategy will be to "help encourage voices on the right side of the aisle," who are boosters of renewable energy and having conversations about climate.

  • "There's plenty of Republicans currently in the Legislature who are supporters of wind and solar out in West Texas in their districts," Leyden said. "It's impacting the conversation that's happening in both of the parties."

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