POW Action Fund: We Crushed it On Capitol Hill

What Are Lobby Days?

If you’ve been with us for a while, you might be familiar with our annual pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. And if you’re just starting out with the POW Action Fund, you might be a little confused as to why an organization born and bred in the mountains spends so much of its time in a place that makes even the hardiest alpinist’s heart rate spike. Stick with us.

While we’d love to do all of our work from where we’re most comfy (i.e. the chairlift, the backcountry, desert canyons, big walls, etc.) our political leaders aren’t quite ready to meet us there. So to make sure we’re represented fairly, we’re bringing the outdoor community to them. Enter our lobby days––a yearly tradition working with our elected officials to create the political will needed to solve the climate crisis.

Kicking it Off at the Capitol

Each year, we prep for this trip by training professional athletes, outdoor influencers and forward-thinking business leaders from the outdoor and snowsports industries on climate science, climate policies and how to convey to our federal lawmakers the urgency of the situation. Our lifeblood and our livelihoods depend on curbing the climate crisis ASAP, and we’re making sure our representatives understand that.

It turns out when we show up with the leaders of the outdoor community and take a seat at the table with our elected officials––they listen. And this year, we were stronger than ever.

Just check out our trip by the numbers:

  • Days on the Hill: 3
  • Total lobby day attendees: 45
  • Meetings: 36 (19 House, 17 Senate)
  • Athletes who testified in front of the Senate: 3
  • Meetings with members of Congress we’ve NEVER met with before: 19
  • House briefing and reception attendees (including Hill staffers): 100+

Our Favorite Highlights

One of our top highlights was the Senate Democrats Special Committee on Climate Change hearing hosted by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) where POW founder Jeremy Jones and Alliance members Tommy Caldwell and Caroline Gleich delivered what Sen. Schatz called “absolutely inspirational” testimonies. Check it out for yourself.

But what really sealed this trip in as one of most epic lobby days in history was the indescribable energy we felt when the House passed The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (HR 1146) while we were there! Which might not seem like a big deal but honestly, it was the difference between watching The Dawn Wall on a dirty laptop screen vs. dangling off the side of the mountain with Tommy Caldwell himself. The feeling of being there in person just can’t be replicated. #sorrynotsorry if we’re still a little dreamy-eyed with the thrill of it.

What Comes Next

The best news is that we weren’t alone in our celebration. Seventy percent of Americans oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge and moving this bill through the House gets us a step closer to protecting the Refuge. We know how important it is to the outdoor community too––8,000 of you took action on this issue showing what we can accomplish when we choose action over apathy. Now, it’s off to the Senate and we’re already rallying the troops. It’s time to step up, one more time, and get to work on this bill.

While we weren’t able to bring our thousands of supporters with us (our policy and advocacy director––who single-handedly runs this trip every year––just had a minor heart attack from even joking about it. Sorry Lindsay!) we’ve still got a way for you to be a part of the movement. A big part of our D.C. trip this year was thanking our reps for supporting and passing HR 9 (aka the Keep Paris bill).

Now it’s up to the Senate to pass S 1743, the International Climate Accountability Act (the Senate’s version of Keep Paris). This bill gets us back on track to meeting the standards set out in Paris and will cut greenhouse gas emissions from 26 percent to 28 percent (below 2005 levels) by 2025. We know what you might be thinking: how will this bill ever get through the Senate? Well, 1). It won’t with that attitude and 2). Even if it doesn’t, knowing who the climate deniers are who reject this bill sets us up pretty well for 2020 elections. We’re playing the long game, people. Tell your lawmakers to vote YES on this bill!

Plus, your voice matters. Just check out HUGE namedrop we got plus a shoutout to the snowsports community:

And We’re Out!

And with that, we wrap out our 2019 lobby days. But we’re by no means finished taking action. Sign up for our email list to make sure you never miss events and climate actions in your neck of the woods.