Reviewing Primary and Secondary Asks

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This training reviews the updated context for CCL's Fall 2023 Primary and Secondary Asks as well as guidance for lobby teams as they plan their Fall meetings. This is a recommended training for any CCL volunteer planning on being a part of their group's lobby meeting.

TOC and Guide Section
Fall 2023 Primary Asks

For all members of Congress:

Build an American Grid for the 21st Century Support the BIG WIRES Act 

Citizensʼ Climate Lobby believes it is critical to speed up the process of building America's clean energy infrastructure. Changes to the current process for permitting energy projects must be made so America can lower greenhouse gas emissions and ensure American households have access to affordable and reliable clean energy. CCL appreciates that the debt ceiling agreement included some provisions that will help streamline clean energy permitting. But it's not enough. 

More comprehensive permitting reform is still required and speeding up the process to expand and update our countryʼs energy transmission system is a key part of what is still needed. The Building Integrated Grids With Inter-Regional Energy Supply (BIG WIRES) Act would be a major step in the right direction and provide Americans with low cost, reliable energy. 

Currently, the U.S. electrical grid is unable to move large amounts of energy from one part of the country to another. Additionally, new energy projects are finding it more and more difficult to connect to the existing grid. The status quo has led to lower reliability and higher costs for consumers. The BIG WIRES Act would address this issue by directing FERC to better coordinate construction of an interregional transmission system and require each of the FERC planning regions to be able to transfer 30% of their peak electrical loads to neighboring regions. 

The BIG WIRES Act would: 

  • Improve Electrical Grid Reliability: Establishing minimum-transfer requirements would enable greater interregional power flows, which is key to electrical grid resilience.
  • Reduce Energy Costs: Upgraded transfer capabilities would dramatically lower energy costs for American families, both by allowing regions where power prices are cheap to sell to regions where it is more expensive and by allowing all regions to connect new, low-cost resources to the grid.
  • Be Tech-Neutral: All types of generation – renewable, nuclear, or fossil – need transmission to connect to the grid.
  • Prioritize Regional Flexibility: In meeting the minimum-transfer requirements outlined in the bill, FERC regions would decide how they will upgrade their systems. 

We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to enact needed changes to our energy infrastructure permitting process. We believe both parties must come to an agreement on reforms and the BIG WIRES Act should be an important component of any permitting reform package.

The one-page description of this bill to share for our lobby meetings is on the primary ask page where you can click on the .pdf  file or blue hyperlinks for more information.

For more information about the BIG WIRES Act see, our training on it here.

Fall 2023 Secondary Asks

For Fall 2023, there are two secondary asks (choose one or two) for your lobby meetings are:

  • Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystems (RISEE) Act (S.373/ H.R.913)
  • Increased Technical Service Provider Access Act of 2023 (S.1400/ H.R.3036)

Note: one-page descriptions of each bill are available on the  Secondary Asks Resources page

How We Choose Secondary Asks

We look for bills that are:

  • Bipartisan, achievable in the near term, complementary to/or related to policy priorities
  • Other considerations this time, greater focus - we learn & adapt; when we had many secondary asks, our impact was diluted; this is why we’ve narrowed it down to just 2
  • Farm bill - second biggest climate opportunity (other than permitting reform) - why TSP is so important
  • 2030 clean energy targets - offshore wind coming under threat due to rejections from several states; to hit these targets, we need offshore wind; also need to address coastal impacts; this is why RISEE is so important
  • Persistence - get these across finish line

TSP Access Act 

CCL lobbied on the TSP Access Act in June and we were able to get 27 new cosponsors in the House and Senate. We made great progress in getting this important bill in a prime position to be considered for inclusion in next year's Farm Bill. With Farm Bill negotiations continuing, we need to double-down on this bill, grow even more support to ensure it is included in a final farm bill package. 

Problem: a  shortage of  Technical Service Providers (TSPs),  is impacting the ability of agricultural producers to fully utilize current conservation and climate programs. 

TSPs help producers to access USDA conservation programs through one-on-one assistance. Critical to allow access to the $20 billion in conservation funding through the IRA.

  • Non-Federal Certifying Entities: USDA to establish a process to approve non-Federal certifying entities within 180 days of enactment. 
  • Streamlined Certification: USDA to establish a streamlined certification process for TSPs who hold appropriate specialty certifications (including certified crop advisors) within 180 days of enactment. This guarantees that applicants with other certifications aren’t burdened with duplicative training, but are still trained in the competencies needed to serve as a TSP.
  • Parity in Compensation: The bill ensures that TSPs—who are often paid using conservation program dollars—are paid the fair market rate for their services.


We lobbied on the RISEE Act last year and the bill was very close to being included in last year’s final spending package. 

There is also greater need as we see many states turning away offshore wind projects due to cost and a lack of benefit to their residents. 

Another large spending bill or legislative package will be the best opportunity for RISEE.


Problem: Under current law, all revenues earned from offshore wind leases and generation beyond state waters go to the federal government, some of the revenue from offshore oil and gas goes back to the states.

A need for funding for coastal reliance and conservative 

The bill would 

  • The RISEE Act directs 37.5% of offshore wind revenue to neighboring states
  • develop dedicated funding streams for coastal infrastructure and resilience efforts to safeguard vulnerable communities and businesses most threatened by sea level rise and coastal erosion.

State funds can be used: 

  • For coastal restoration, hurricane protection or infrastructure; 
  • To mitigate damage to fish, wildlife, or other natural resources, including through fisheries science and research; and 
  • To implement a marine, coastal or conservation management plan 

The bill amends GOMESA by:

  • Eliminating the state revenue sharing cap, currently at $375 million 
  • Lifting the Land & Water Conservation Fund’s state side funding cap of $125 million
  • Protecting GOMESA revenues from sequestration

Bills supporting bipartisan climate action

CCL often identifies bipartisan bills that have been introduced that could be useful secondary asks. Our primary objective in promoting these bills is to encourage bipartisanship on climate solutions policymaking in Congress. The bills all have cosponsors of both parties, all are complementary to a strong carbon price, and all address policy issues that a carbon price does not. Descriptions of each bill are on the secondary asks page where you can click on the .pdf  file or blue hyperlinks for more information.

As we build momentum for bipartisan action on climate and develop relationships of trust with our members of Congress, we suggest keeping to topics of common ground. Rather than bring up the vinegar, talk about the honey.  We have learned through motivational interviewing techniques that preparing others for change involves helping them see change as something they create and meets their needs.

Also, know the secondary asks list is not exhaustive; if there is a bill your group would like to use as a secondary ask that is not on this list, please contact CCL’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Ben Pendergrass, at Use your best judgment when deciding whether you want to make one or more of these bills a secondary ask. If any of them are a source of conflict within your group, please pick a different secondary ask.

The value of secondary asks

After making the primary ask and subsequent discussion, it may make sense to make a secondary ask. Getting legislation passed is a complicated, coalition-building process in which lots of smaller steps must happen before we get a law. Many members of Congress may be willing to support other bills that fit into the broader picture of addressing the climate crisis and are complementary to a carbon price, and these could be stepping stones toward support for bringing the U.S. in line with the rest of the developed world.

You should always be clear that what you want is our primary ask. After making the primary ask and subsequent discussion, it may make sense to make a secondary ask. Getting legislation passed is a complicated, coalition-building process in which lots of smaller steps must happen before we get a law. 

A record of success

In December 2020, the U.S. House and Senate passed a massive omnibus package. The package includes the major provisions from three of CCL’s “secondary ask” bills from December Lobby Day: the BEST Act, the USE IT Act, and the Climate-Ready Fisheries Act. In July of 2021, the Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act by a vote of 92-8 in a remarkable display of bipartisan support for climate action and was included in the Omnibus Package that passed in December 2022.  In September 2021, Congress agreed upon a bipartisan infrastructure package that includes provisions from CCL’s “supporting ask” bills used in June 2021, the Storing CO2 And Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act and the Hope for Homes Act supporting ask was wrapped into Inflation Reduction Act that was enacted in August 2022. The inclusion of these measures in both the larger omnibus packages shows that CCL’s volunteer lobbying has an impact. This is a powerful reminder of why CCL supports other bipartisan climate bills - because we can make a difference.

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Skip ahead to the following section(s):
  • (0:00) Inro & Agenda
  • (6:40) What's Happening In Congress?
  • (10:25) Strategy Around the Primary Ask
  • (19:19) How To Frame An Ask 
  • (22:50) Secondary Asks
  • (34:57) Final Thoughts
  • Q&A Discussion (
  • Ben Pendergrass
  • Jenn Tyler
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Press play to start the audio (37m 00s)
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Audio Outline
Skip ahead to the following section(s):
  • (0:00) Inro & Agenda
  • (6:40) What's Happening In Congress?
  • (10:25) Strategy Around the Primary Ask
  • (19:19) How To Frame An Ask 
  • (22:50) Secondary Asks
  • (34:57) Final Thoughts
  • Q&A Discussion (
  • Ben Pendergrass
  • Jenn Tyler
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To prepare yourself, research the full suite of resources for planning a meeting with a member of Congress.