Much of the world may have its eyes on the NBA to see where LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony end up. But there's a different — granted, cheaper and less exciting — free agency shuffle going on among the country's environmental groups.
Green groups are staffing up to boost their influence ahead of the midterm elections, hoping to capitalize on renewed interest in climate change. And the introduction of millions in new money thanks to Tom Steyer's $100 million spending pledge means the stakes are suddenly higher.
It's not unusual to see a lot of hiring and movement before an election, since the two-year cycle requires new investments and efforts. But this isn't a typical cycle for environmentalists: Steyer's cash has made climate a wedge issue in tight races, and groups across the spectrum have said they'll up their spending.
And protecting President Obama's Climate Action Plan — headlined by rules cracking down on carbon emissions from power plants — from congressional attacks has added urgency for greens working to build a pro-climate majority.
Nobody is getting a LeBron-sized $85 million max contract, but signing season is heating up.
The League of Conservation Voters made a splash last week when it hired Daniel J. Weiss, a three-decade climate veteran most recently with the Center for American Progress. As the LCV's new senior vice president of campaigns, Weiss will oversee the group's efforts to spend more than the $14 million it poured out in the 2012 cycle.