Tell FERC to make the Atlantic Coast Pipeline History!

On June 15 The Supreme Court ruled that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can cross under the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest. Doing so removed a major obstacle to the project, but did not provide a clear path to how or when the project can be completed. A thicket of lawsuits persists and dozens of state and local permits remain in question.

Billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and with no end in sight, the ACP’s corporate owners — Duke and Dominion — are asking for an extension. On June 19 they filed a petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend their certificate of public good and necessity by two years.

Sign here to tell FERC to reject the extension, and make the ACP History!

Then, RSVP to join BXE and friends on Wednesday July 1 to deliver all the comments in a fun, interactive, arts-based webinarRSVP here to join us live at 11am ET on July 1, or click here to RSVP for the Facebook invite – we’ll share a recording of the webinar, and more details on how to comment and be involved.

The existing FERC permit, which has been the source of several lawsuits and legal challenges, expires October 13, 2020. If FERC denies the request to extend the permit by 2 years, the ACP is history. But FERC is not known for listening to public comment, or evaluating fracked gas pipelines on the objective merits of whether they will hurt people, communities and the climate. Which is probably why they gave us a measly 14 days, immediately before 4th of July weekend, to offer comments.

Lawyers, environmental groups, and experts are filing formal comments to oppose the extension of the ACP’s permit. But we need more than a good argument – we need public outrage and attention to stop the ACP.

Sign here to tell FERC that they must reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s application for a permit extension. If you sign before July 2 we’ll include your comment in the docket as evidence of the public’s opposition and deliver them as part of a creative, artistic, impossible-to-ignore demonstration before FERC’s next commissioners’ meeting on July 17.

Make DC the 51st state – and win climate justice

This is one of my ideas that sounds crazy, but it’s actually really not: Make DC the 51st and deliver climate justice for all.

Like how a Green New Deal that ends fossil fuels would create jobs, rebalance the economy on behalf of millions of working Americans and stop climate catastrophe. Or how chocolate + peanut butter are two great tastes that taste better together. DC statehood is actually a simple, just, good idea – that actually might be a key to solving the climate crisis.

I’ll explain more, but if you’re already on board – Sign here to tell Congress: Make DC the 51st state, and deliver climate justice for all.

Here’s the simple facts: More than 700,000 people, most of them black and brown, live in the District of Columbia. They vote, pay taxes, serve in the armed forces, and are responsible for maintaining the roads, safe drinking water, breathable air, and police that serve and protect every member of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House — but they get no vote in Congress, have no say in federal policy, and cannot even stop armed federal troops from attacking their citizens. They are the very definition of “taxation without representation” which the founders of America fought a revolution over.

But this Friday, June 26, Congress will vote on whether to make DC the 51st state for the first time since 1993. And if they vote to approve DC statehood, we could gain more than a 51st neighbor and ally – we could get 2 more votes in the US Senate to affirm a Green New Deal, and end to fossil fuels, and a real, just, response to the climate crisis.

The fight for DC statehood became all the more urgent this month. On June 1, Donald Trump sent federal troops into DC neighborhoods to round up nearly 200 people protesting police violence in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and hundreds of other Black people across the country

While Trump has been clear he hates DC statehood, his actions may have galvanized the new the civil rights movement, and lent new urgency to our cause.

Sign and send the petition to your member of Congress: Demand they pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.

D.C. residents serve on juries, in the U.S. military, pay taxes, and work hard to build safe, strong communities where they live. But they have no vote on any decisions our Congress makes every day.

And that’s too bad for the climate, as well as civil rights. In the last few years DC has banned plastic bags, considered an aggressive carbon tax, and shut down coal plants and gas pipelines. These people are our allies in the fight for climate justice – and we’ll never have a better chance to add 3/4 of a million votes in favor of our values than right now.

There’s more energy now than ever in Congress to ensure DC residents have direct representation federally. A few weeks ago, the House Oversight Committee voted in favor of legislation supporting DC statehood, and H.R. 51, the Washington, DC Admission Act, has over 223 cosponsors. 

This Friday, the full house will vote on H.R. 51 to recognize DC as the 51st state, and we must ensure that lawmakers pass this overdue civil and climate rights bill for DC residents.

Sign and send the petition: Urge Congress to pass the Washington, DC Admission Act to enact DC statehood.

Rise up with us for black lives Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Black communities in Texas finally received the news that they were free. 

Juneteenth (June 19th) is a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance, and centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the U.S. This Juneteenth is a rare moment for our communities to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all our people. 

Join us on the #SixNineteen mobilization on Juneteenth weekend, June 19–21, 2020. Take action in front of the White House, in your community, or at home. 

We’ve been proud to endorse the demands of the Movement for Black Lives and work in solidarity with black leadership in communities all over the US where we live. Now, we are called into action again as part of the Juneteenth mobilization to support these three demands:

  1. Defunding of police;
  2. Investment in Black communities; &
  3. The resignation of Donald Trump. 

You can support these demands by joining us in DC, in your home community, or from your home. We want everyone to be safe, and we want you to engage in action that matches your level of experience and ability in this moment. But we are asking everyone, including you, to show up this weekend in solidarity.

Click here to see if there’s a local event in your area, and if not, sign up to host one in accordance with the principles laid down by the Movement for Black lives.* 

Right now, uprisings are taking place in all 50 states, and more than two-thirds of Americans agree that police violence is systemic. We haven’t experienced mass mobilizations like this since the uprisings led by courageous Black folks in Ferguson and St. Louis. These actions include small towns, as well as major cities in both red and blue states.The energy is sustained and escalating. The Movement for Black Lives is alive and vibrant – and we are a part of it.

Juneteenth is our next opportunity to rise together. Will you join us in action this weekend?

* If you want to show up, in person, online, or in DC you must do so in accordance with these rules: 1. We Keep Us Safe. 2. Respect Black Leadership. 3. Find Your Lane. 4. Make All Black Lives Matter. 5. Change the System. Learn more about the principles and the plan at the six nineteen website

Defund Police, invest in communities

All over the Country and around the world, people continue to surge into the streets and speak out online in response to the police murder of George Floyd Breonna Taylor, and so many more. In response to peaceful protest against racist police violence, militarized police forces have responded with batons, tanks, tear gas and worse; all to protect capitalism and property instead of actual human, black, lives.

As many of us speak out in or communities at home, Congressional leaders are coming together to form a national response as well – and we need your help to push them to include bold, abolitionist demands when they do.

Will you join Congresswomen (and squad leaders) Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, us, and many others to demand divestment from police and investment in our communities?

Since the 1960s, America’s racist system of over-policing and mass incarceration has grown out of control. The U.S. now spends close to $200 billion per year on police and prisons. At the same time Black communities are over-policed and over-incarcerated, they’ve been shut out of wealth and property ownership, which is why the racial gaps in wealth and health are so terrible. After centuries of economic injustice and environmental racism, Black people are now six times more likely to die from the coronavirus than white people.

We’ve partnered many times with Poor People’s Campaign in the last few years, and when we do, Rev. Barber always reminds us: To truly achieve justice, we must focus both on “who” and “what” oppresses and kills Black people in this country.

Trump’s racist, fascist rhetoric is dangerous and hurtful. But violent anti-Black racism has been built into our country since its founding, and simply removing Trump will not stop it or make us safe. Initially formed as slave patrols, police have always existed to maintain control rather than safety or justice.

We’re seeing that all too clearly right now, as militarized police forces use expensive equipment and weapons to terrorize protesters. Meanwhile, cities are setting curfews to instill fear and criminalize our constitutional right to protest. All to maintain the unjust status quo and delay justice. Could there be a clearer demonstration that this system is rotten at its core?

Sign now to tell leaders at all levels of government: We must divest from police and invest in our communities!

I know calls to DefundPolice can sound extreme. Many of you have emailed me back in response to our earlier messages expressing unease with the policy, or fear of how it will be enacted. It’s our policy to remove anyone expressing racist sentiments – including replying with versions of the racist talking point “all lives matter” – from our list and community.

So if you’re still here, you may not be comfortable with these demands, but you’re not overtly opposed to black life or black liberation. We encourage you to sit with your un-ease, especially if you are not black, so we can listen to and uplift the voices of black people.

Because in addition to being the right, anti-racist thing to do, following black leadership is effective. Since the Movement For Black Lives released their demands (which we’ve endorsed), leaders in our cities, states, and federal government have jumped to adopt them:

  • In response to the demand to divest from the police and investment in Black communities: 
  • In response to the demand that local schools, colleges, universities, and all public institutions cut ties with the police.
  • In response to the demand that the rights of protestors be respected.
    • Cities like Portland Oregon and Seattle have banned the use of tear gas (enforcement is an ongoing challenge);
    • Cities around the country including Philadelphia, NYC, and Oakland have rescinded their curfews, which were used to harm protesters and take away our constitutional rights
    • Federal troops have been pushed out of D.C.
  • In response to our demand for an end to the war against Black people.
    • All 4 officers involved in the murder of George Floyd have now been charged, and Derek Chauvin’s murder charge went up to 2nd degree (not 3rd degree). Though Breonna Taylor’s killers have still not been charged.
    • And the U.S. Supreme Court is re-examining the “qualified immunity” doctrine, which makes it near-impossible to hold police officers accountable for misconduct.
    • Reforms on policing are moving in state legislatures like Michigan and Colorado, in cities like Louisville and Minneapolis, and in Congress.

All of these actions in just the last few days and weeks show what our movement is capable of. Now, we’re asking you to sign on along with leading progressives in Congress to support the demand divestment from police and investment in our communities. Join us, and together, I believe that we will win.

Join Actions in Defense of Black Lives – NOW.

I’ll keep this short, because I know a lot of you, like me, are already caught up in local efforts to defend black lives in this extraordinary moment.

The murders of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers, as well as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many more, have touched off a nationwide conversation, protest and moment of revolution. All over the country, and all over the world, people are taking to the streets, flooding social media, calling politicians and demanding justice for those who have been killed by the police. We unequivocally endorse the demands of the Movement for Black lives, and now is the time to join them.

From their call to action:

With all actions, there are a variety of risks and roles. All roles are important, and this moment is no different. In the last three months, 100,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19, and Black people are dying disproportionately. As we move into collective and community action, we have to learn the risks involved, and how to keep ourselves and our communities safe. There is no one right way to take action. Do what you can from where you can. Power building takes many shapes. Thanks for joining us.

The Movement For Black Lives, and organizers mobilizing across the country, invite you to take part in a week of action June 1st to 7th in defense of Black lives. This is an opportunity to uplift and fight alongside those turning up in the streets and online

If you’re struggling to find the right way to take action in this moment, here are some resources:

  1. Check out the Movement for Black Lives’ site and call to action. It has actions you can take from home, and actions you can take in the streets; actions you can take alone, and actions you can take with friends. Most important, these are demands from black leaders, and they’re asking us to show up, right now, to support them.
  2. Chip in to support local bail funds, mutual aid funds, and use your money to support local protest, action and organizing. Here’s a great page that will let you split a donation in (almost) any amount between up to 70 local groups.
  3. Recognize that showing up for black lives IS showing up for climate action. M4BL has has a position supporting divestment from fossil fuels and investment in communities for years. And if you’ve ever showed up to protest polluted water in Flint MI, Denmark SC, or dozens of other cities you should have already been following black leadership. And while it’s not as important as saving literal human black lives, a policy shift that defunds police and incarceration at the local, state, and federal level has always been part of the plan for how to pay for a Green New Deal. If you want to learn more about how to support and show up respectfully in this moment, check out this webinar with the Sunrise movement.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your race or ethnicity: This is the moment to take action and show up in defense of Black Lives. Check out the call to action, find an activity that works for you, and get to it or back to it.

Stop Trump’s next Dirty Deal

Earlier this month, we warned you that Trump and team were bailing out fossil fuel companies with money stolen from Congressionally-appropriated funds to help families, workers and small businesses survive COVID-19. And we’ve been fighting ever since to make sure Congress’ next COVID-19 bailout bill protects people, not polluters.

On May 15, the House passed another the $3 trillion relief package, called the HEROES act. There’s some excellent stuff in the bill –including many parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights (EWBOR), which we support.

But in their haste to protect essential workers, House Leadership left out all the stuff that would have stopped Trump from stealing the money, again, and using it to Bailout fossil fuels– including the ReWIND act.

Congress is on a recess for Memorial Day, but when they come back, negotiation over this bill is expected to be their first priority. Will you email your Representative now and tell them to get it right this time – and make sure Congressional bailouts help people and essential workers, not polluters?

The ReWIND Act would prevent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds from being diverted to fossil fuel companies, making more money available for essential workers and communities. And it’s not as if House leadership doesn’t know about the problem: numerous reports have documented that Trump and his dirty associates are already diverting billions of taxpayer dollars to fossil fuel companies.

With more than 40 House and Senate cosponsors already, it’s a popular idea with a real chance of being included in the next Congressional relief bill. But Senator McConnell and the Republican-led Senate have indicated they will not consider the HEROES Act, ReWIND, or any form of additional COVID response bill, saying they have “not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately”.  And then he adjourned the entire Senate for two weeks so they could go home and have a vacation.  

We have a lot more work to do. Can you email your Member of Congress and tell them:

  1. Get back to work NOW – take up the HEROEs act negotiation with the Senate ;
  2. Fight to pass, and keep key provisions of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights in the next COVID response bill;, And
  3. Cosponsor the ReWIND Act to stop another fossil fuel industry bailout at the expense of public health crisis and frontline workers, and add it to HEROES during negotiation!

header image by  Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Tell the Senate to get serious about Essential Workers

Essential workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and many are working in high-risk conditions without appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. But Mitch McConnell and his Republican Senate say they have “not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. And to prove the point, they just went home for a two-week vacation.

Essential workers are home care workers, grocery and drug store employees, domestic workers, food service workers, government employees, janitorial staff, farm workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, transit workers, and child care workers. Anyone who has to remain on the job without the ability to telework during this emergency.

These workers put their health on the line when they go to work every day, often without adequate worker protections and benefits. But instead of helping Essential workers, Donald Trump and Senator McConnell have conspired to give hundreds of millions of dollars (and counting) to the fossil fuel companies profiting off climate change. That’s money stolen from Congressionally-approved funds designated to help families, workers and small businesses survive COVID-19.

If you agree that essential workers deserve labor and health care protections, pick up the phone and call your Senators right now at 1-833-933-0204. Tell them to get back to work by taking up the House-passed HEROES act, improving it by keeping the Essential Workers Protections, and adding in key pieces of the ReWIND act as well.

Here’s what’s been happening: Last week, the House passed another the $3 trillion relief package, called the HEROES act. There’s some excellent stuff in the bill –including many parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights (EWBOR), which we support. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights included in the HEROES act would provide $200 billion for hazard pay, paid sick and family leave, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers, and improved collective bargaining. HEROES is also also inclusive of immigrants, which is something that got left out of the initial Congressional response, and broadens the definition of ‘essential’ workers to include people who work in sanitation, grocery stores or as domestic aides.

But in their haste to pass HEROES, House Leadership left out a bunch of other good ideas we support from the bill, – including the ReWIND act that we emailed you about last week. Remember, the ReWIND Act would prevent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds from being diverted to fossil fuel companies, making more money available for essential workers and communities. And it’s not as if House leadership doesn’t know about the problem:  numerous reports in the last week have documented that Trump and his dirty associates are already diverting billions of taxpayer dollars to fossil fuel companies.

Most frustrating is that Senator McConnell and the Republican-led Senate have indicated they will not consider the HEROES Act, or any form of additional COVID response bill, anytime soon. And then he adjourned the entire Senate for two weeks so they could go home and have a vacation.  We have a lot more work to do.

HEROES has passed the House, so the first step is to get the Senate back to work, and back at the negotiating table. Some Republicans are beginning to realize they can’t just deny, lie, and dismiss the pandemic like Trump does. So if we we can get them back, and get them talking, we have room to negotiate. And right now the items we want on the table are HEROEs, the Essential Workers Bill of Rights, and ReWIND.

Call your Senators now at 833-933-0204 and tell them to get back to work by taking up the House-passed HEROES act, fight to keep the Essential Workers Protections, and improve it by adding in key pieces of the ReWIND act.

No Dirty Deals, pass the ReWIND Act instead!

Congress is already negotiating on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, and Trump and his allies are pushing hard for another big bailout for fossil fuels. Alarmingly, some elected leaders are considering a dirty deal where they’d trade another fossil fuel bailout  for good-but-inadequate tools like tax credits for renewable energy and electric cars. 

Fortunately, not everyone is tempted by this devils bargain:  Dozens of Democrats in the House and Senate have signed on to support a new bill called the ReWIND act that would ban fossil fuel bailouts, and give us more control over the +$2 trillion Congress has already appropriated.  

So far, we’ve got more than 30 members of Congress on our side, but we need more than 200 to stop the dirty deal and pass the ReWIND act as part of the next Congressional stimulus bill. Can you write to your member of Congress now?

Now is the time to speak out: Amid a historic shock to energy and fossil fuel marketsthe corrupt Trump Administration and their allies are scrambling for any way to use our tax dollars to prop up the fossil fuel industry. They’ve already tried offering special loans to fossil fuel companies, stopping enforcement of key environmental laws, waiving payments and taxes the oil and gas companies are supposed to pay, and more. Last week the Federal Reserve relaxed allowed more risky and un-profitable fossil fuel companies to get federal bailout dollars, and Republicans in Congress promptly demanded the fossil banks give them a loan.

Trump and his cronies can only get away with all this because Democrats in Congress failed to negotiate tough oversight and restrictions in their last relief bill, called the CARES act. A new bill called the ReWIND Act seeks to fix that and stop future fossil fuel bailouts. The ReWIND Act would block the Trump Administration from using COVID-19 stimulus funds to bail out big polluters, stop many of the schemes Trump has taken or may attempt to benefit the fossil fuel industry, and ensure that the public has a say to protect our health and wellbeing.

With nearly 40 cosponsors already, it’s a popular idea with a real chance of being included in the next Congressional relief bill. But some Corporate Democrats would rather negotiate a dirty deal than stand up to Trump and his corrupt cronies. An internal Morgan Stanley report leaked to the media showed that big banks are working with the fossil fuel industry to trade a fossil fuel bailout for renewable energy tax credits

We can’t let that happen. We need to tell Congress NOW that there’s no time for a dirty deal as part of the next stimulus package​, and that passing the ReWIND Act would stop another fossil fuel industry bailout at the expense of public health crisis and frontline workers. Click here to tell your member of Congress: No Dirty Deals, cosponsor the ReWIND Act and push for its inclusion in the next stimulus bill!

Virtual Rally: Rise with the Wet’suwet’en!

For the last few weeks, we’ve been honored to follow the indigenous leadership of the Wet’suwet’en people fighting the Coastal Gaslink pipeline on the frontlines of the COVID and climate crises.

Tomorrow, May 7, we’re gathering online for a #ShutDownKKR virtual rally and communications blockade where we’ll deliver more than 200,000 signatures (including yours!).Join us!

We’ve already told you how despite the pandemic, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) — the same company behind the KeystoneXL pipeline — is still sending workers to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline. TC Energy staff, backed by armed police are invading Wet’suwet’en lands without consent, putting Indigenous elders and land defenders that already don’t have easy access to healthcare at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. Workers are living by the hundreds in “man camps” that are also breeding grounds for violence against Indigenous women.

But pipeline construction can’t continue without investors funding the project — and the biggest Coastal GasLink pipeline investor of all is KKR, a New York-based equity firm.

KKR still has still time to walk away from the pipeline, if they want. So our plan is to flood KKR with calls, emails, and tweets and make it clear that nobody will ever do business with them again if they invest in genocide, colonization and climate chaos!

Join our event on Facebook tomorrow and we’ll share easy and accessible tools to email, call, and post on KKR’s social media accounts. While the COVID-19 pandemic may keep us from gathering in the streets, it will not stop us from being defiant and uncompromising in our opposition to fossil fuel profiteers.

Take one minute right now to RSVP join the May 7th #ShutdownKKR virtual rally and communications blockade on Facebook.

Dirty, Dishonest Dominion can’t duck divestment online

Dirty, dishonest, Dominion Energy – the principal company backing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – is holding their annual shareholders meeting (AGM) online tomorrow, May 6. They hope that because the meeting is online this year, due to the pandemic, that we’ll stay home and not pressure them to stop investing in fossil fuels, especially the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, like we have in the past

Dominion’s wrong – and we’re showing up online tomorrow right before the shareholder meeting to give them a piece of our mind. Can you join us?

Here’s what’s going on: Last year, Dominion held their shareholders meeting in my hometown of Columbia South Carolina. We worked with a team of activists from SC, NC, VA and beyond to show up and hold a protest outside the meeting while a crew of activist shareholders went inside to lobby Dominion to divest from fossil fuels and especially the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

In the year since, things have not gone well for Dominion and the ACP. The pipeline has been mired in court over legal objections to their plan to cross the Appalachian Trail on US Forest Service Land. That court case landed at the US Supreme Court in late February, and we were there as part of a street protest and Non violent civil disobedience action lead by North Carolinian’s impacted by the project.

While the pipeline has been stopped (for now) by the courts, the costs haven’t stopped going up. In fact, a new report out today from our friends at NC Warn and Friends of the Earth found that sticking with the ACP will increase energy costs $30 billion across VA, NC and other impacted states.

But while the news is mostly-bad for the pipeline, it has been mostly good for Virginians who want to invest in clean power. In March, Virginia passed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which mandates that the state’s utilities, including Dominion, switch to pollution-free energy by 2045.

That one decision basically makes the ACP un-viable. But the pandemic, combined with a major drop in oil and gas prices have pushed fracking and pipeline companies to the brink of bankruptcy and dramatically slashed demand for gas pipelines and power plants. While Trump and co are angling to bail out big oil and gas producers, it would take months or years for that money to trickle down to utilities like Dominion.

Faced with all these headwinds, you’d think that Dominion would drop its support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. But instead, they’ve been doubling down on their support – taking on more investment in the pipeline and lobbying to get around the Virginia law and scuttle clean energy requirements in North Carolina and South Carolina.

So, tomorrow, before their shareholders meeting, we’ll gather online and make some noise telling Dominion and their shareholders that it’s time to divest from fossil fuels and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Join us tomorrow (May 6) at 8:30 am before the shareholders’ meeting on zoom to take action. Together we’ll post on social media, call executives and take online action! We’ll hear reports and briefings from experts and shareholder advocates and give you all the info and talking points you need.

PS we’ll also be meeting at 11am on Thursday May 7 before the Duke Energy Shareholders meeting. Join us for that one too!