As Congressional climate agenda stalls, environmental activists and UNITE HERE Local 11 press resort owners whose leaders fund anti-environment politicians
Last week a coalition of environmental organizations and allies called out Terranea Resort owners JC Resorts and Lowe for throwing millions at anti-environment politicians and other conservative causes.
The Terranea, a sprawling property along an environmentally sensitive stretch of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, bills itself as a “sustainable” and “eco-friendly” resort.
Yet an open letter to the resort signed by leading environmental groups highlights that since 2012 executives of Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts have collectively contributed over $2 million to anti-environment Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump and conservative causes like the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity PAC.
Nico Gardner Serna with Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, a signatory to the letter, said: "As an environmental activist/leader with the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles who was raised in and currently lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, I am deeply concerned about Terranea’s ownership executives making political contributions that stand in the way of our fight against global climate change. Political contributions are moral statements. I would like to see them stop giving money to climate change-denying politicians like Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, and Lindsey Graham, and instead commit to protecting the land, air, water, and animals in this region.”
In addition to the Sunrise Movement Los Angeles, the open letter is signed by Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, Communities for a Better Environment, CA Environmental Voters (League of Conservation Voters), Physicians for Social Responsibility, LAANE, Labor Network for Sustainability, and the hospitality workers’ union UNITE HERE Local 11. Examples of political donations highlighted in the letter, which can be accessed here, include the following:
· House Minority Leader Republican Kevin McCarthy was the largest recipient of Lowe executives’ largesse, receiving $189,800 since 2012. McCarthy received a 3% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters and has opposed the Biden Administration’s efforts to move the country away from fossil fuels.
· Robert J. Lowe Sr. contributed $50,000 to the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity Action (AFPA) from October 9, 2020 through October 1, 2021. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, “AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by Charles Koch—opposing labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and any effort to combat climate change.”
· Contributions from JC Resorts Chairman Paul Reed included $16,600 to Donald Trump. The New York Times has reported that “the damage done by the greenhouse gas pollution unleashed by President Trump’s rollbacks may prove to be one of the most profound legacies of his single term.”
“As a union, we are committed to ensuring that workers across the hospitality industry work in environments where they and their surrounding communities are treated with dignity and respect. That extends to the natural environment, animals, and habitat. It is outrageous that executives of the owners of Terranea, a resort billed as environmentally friendly, would be funding the politicians responsible for blocking reform to stop catastrophic climate change,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
The signatory organizations are calling on “Terranea’s owners Lowe and JC Resorts to immediately stop their leaders from making donations to Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy and Republicans like them who are standing in the way of our fight against global climate change.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 is a labor union representing over 32,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona who work in hotels, restaurants, universities, convention centers, and airports.
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