It took a tornado in the Capitol to pass this disaster relief bill. Make sure Trump signs it

Earlier today, the Senate passed a disaster relief package that’s been held up for months by partisan bickering and Trump’s racism.

It’s an important step toward getting the billions of dollars in disaster aid that we desperately need to respond to the last two years of climate fueled super storms. Ironically, the vote happened minutes after a tornado warning sounded in the US Capitol itself, and hours after tornadoes killed at least three people in Missouri – a dark reminder that climate change is powering stronger storms all over the U.S.

But while the vote was nearly unanimous: 85 to 8 in the Senate, Trump’s support is still not guaranteed. That’s because the bill gives $19.1 billion to help communities ravaged by climate chaos – from the floods in Nebraska to wildfires in California – including $900 million for Puerto Rico to recover from Hurricane Maria.

Trump has been objecting for months to the money for Puerto Rico, and had also demanded money for his racist border wall. And all that was before he flew off the handle this week in a meeting over infrastructure and said he’d block everything until the House stops investigating his crimes and misdemeanors.

Now is the moment of truth – will you help us deliver 75,000 signatures to DC right now to force Trump to sign this climate disaster relief bill?

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico a year ago, more than 3,000 Americans lost their lives. Now, as Puerto Rican communities try to rebuild, Trump has continued to lie and spout racist tirades while denying Puerto Ricans access to critical federal recovery funds. Congress has taken the first step, after months of partisan gridlock, to provide Puerto Ricans with aid including funds for expanded infrastructure rebuilding efforts and food assistance programs.

Now the ball is in Trump’s court. It would be the height of grotesque racism for the president to veto the whole aid package because some U.S. citizens “deserve” help after a natural disaster more than others. And any denial or attempt to line-item veto Puerto Rico’s funds will make all our communities vulnerable the next time a disaster strikes. For decades, Congress has acted across party lines to provide disaster relief to ALL U.S. communities without prejudice or partisan bias. With another hurricane season starting earlier than ever due to climate change, it is essential that this bill to support Puerto Rican communities and prepare for future storms pass now.

Sign now to add your support and help us delivery 75,000 messages to DC to force Trump to act.

What are we going to eat under the Green New Deal?

Ok, you’ve heard the hype: The Green New Deal is going to ban hamburgers (it doesn’t); the Green New Deal will force vegan soylant green on the unwilling masses (nope); The Green New Deal doesn’t care about farmers — actually, on that last one, it could do a better job helping farmers, but not because it’s an evil socialist plot. The Green New Deal RESOLUTION is just a little vague on the whole food and agriculture thing, and that’s a problem because we can’t solve the climate crisis without changing our food and agriculture system.

A few weeks ago, we were proud to join more than 300 other groups in sending a letter to Congress demanding that they take on food and agriculture as part of a Green New Deal. But the House committees where this could be considered have been busy with disaster relief, or worse, wasting time on big bailouts to corporate agriculture as part of the 2019 farm bill.

Will you help us give them a kick by signing this petition demanding congress tackle food and agriculture issues in the Green New Deal?

Farming and food is the biggest overall employer in the United States, employing some 23.5 million people. If you have a brother, sister, mother, daughter, father, son, friend or neighbor, odds are that one of them works in food and farming.

Partly because of its size, food and agriculture are also one of our biggest contributors to climate change. Meanwhile, the agricultural industry that we all depend upon — as well as the farmers, fishers, farmworkers, food-chain workers, and communities that make up our entire agricultural economy — are harmed by the impacts of weather-related disasters and disruptions as the effects of climate change come to pass.

For the Green New Deal to be truly effective, the workers who grow, cook and care for our food — from the immigrant picking vegetables in the field, to the truck driver who transports them, to the chef or line-cook who prepares your meal, and everyone in between — needs to be part of the solution.

Our petition lays out four key demands for a Green New Deal that makes food more delicious, the agricultural sector more fair, and fights climate change at the same time:

  • Carbon reduction, sequestration and climate resilience via a rapid, just transition that empowers farmers and ranchers to adopt ecologically regenerative, organic and agroecological practices;
  • Fair prices for farmers, ranchers and fishers, anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions with family-sustaining living wages for workers;
  • Diversified, resilient local and regional food economies anchored by family farmers, ranchers and fishers that ensure healthy, sustainable food for all, combat consolidation in the food and farming sector and reverse the rapid loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
  • Avoid “false solutions” and agribusiness-sponsored proposals that do nothing to address the systemic causes of our climate crisis and delay progress.

Making fundamental changes to our food and farming system is urgent and central to reducing the impacts of  climate change , and is crucial to ensuring food and agricultural justice for the most vulnerable for current and future generations. Sign now to support a Green New Deal that respects the role food and agriculture play in addressing our climate crisis. Science shows that we have no time to lose.

We stopped the Williams Pipeline! (for now)

If you’re one of the thousands of New Yorkers who signed the petition to stop the Williams Pipeline, THANK YOU! We wanted to let you know that on May 15 Cuomo’s Department of Environmnetal Quality officially stopped the pipeline, for now.

This isn’t the end for the Williams Pipeline — The company has already re-applied for the DEQ permit, and they can also sue the Cuomo administration (as they have in the past) or avail themselves of Trump’s recent executive order, which is specifically designed to allow federally approved pipelines (like this one – which received FERC approval just a few weeks before) to override state permits.

But no matter what happens next, this is a moment to celebrate. So we wanted to pass on this note from our dear friends at the Sane Energy Project to all of you who signed the petition. Take a moment, savor the victory over fossil fuels, and consider chipping in to support these amazing organizers if you can.

You’re a part of history!

Last week, Sane Energy Project announced a MAJOR win. Along with our allies and thousands of people like YOU, we beat the odds and stopped the Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline. Your support made it possible for us to organize thousands of people to sign petitions, attend rallies, info sessions, meetings, and phone Governor Cuomo to make it clear that we wanted no part of this toxic pipeline. Like our victory in stopping the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Port, this win proves that persistent, passionate grassroots organizing can carry the day.

Before the dust settles on this victory, we were already jumping into a statewide tour called Sit, Stand, Sing: The Many Roles of Non-Violent Direct Action. For the next month, we’ll be working with activists in five communities in New York State to fortify efforts to stop fracked gas infrastructure projects across the state.


We need your help now to continue fighting to stop every one of these dangerous projects and to continue pushing for a just and rapid transition to renewables. We can’t do this work without you. Please make a gift now.


P.S. Williams has already re-applied to build their pipeline in New York State just two days after we denied them permission. With your support, we vow to continue our strong and organized presence to make sure renewable energy is our future. Please donate today!

Watch this gorgeous photo montage below of our sunset march to Stop The Williams Pipeline! We could never have done this without each other, and we see YOU in this video!

Sane Energy Project
Video of Stop Williams NESE Pipeline March

There’s no room for the Williams fracked gas pipeline in the Green New Deal

Since the start of this year, I’ve been telling you about the exciting Green New Deal proposed by NY Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I’ve also been straight with you (and members of Congress) about what I see as one of the resolution’s main failings: that it doesn’t explicitly rule out pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure in it’s vision.

Now the two ideas have come together right in the backyard of Rep Ocasio-Cortez, and we have a chance to do something about it.

Will you sign here to Demand our New York elected leaders oppose the William’s pipeline as part of a fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal? We can’t make the big changes that are necessary until we commit to stopping projects like this that will take us in the wrong direction.

For those of you who haven’t heard: the Williams Pipeline company wants to build a 23 mile long, 26-inch wide pipeline under the lower bay south of Manhattan, and deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania into Brooklyn, Long Island and other parts of the city. It’s a dangerous, unnecessary plan that will lock New Yorkers into another 20-50 years of dirty fossil fuels, just at the moment scientists tell us we have 12 years to radically transform our energy economy as part of a Green New Deal.

So you’d think that Representatives like Ocasio-Cortez would be lining up to oppose this project, right? Not so fast. The Green New Deal resolution paints a vibrant picture of the future, but it’s silent on the issues of fossil fuels and pipelines. And until a few days ago, not one of our federal elected officials had spoken out against the Williams pipeline.

A few days ago, Congressman Jerry Nadler became the first federal elected official to say he’d oppose the Williams Pipeline as part of a Green New Deal – yay! Nadler, whose district includes neighborhoods hard hit by Superstorm Sandy like Red Hook and Sunset Park, told us “At this point we shouldn’t be building pipelines, because we shouldn’t prolong our use of fossil fuels.”

But when local organizers asked AOC to do the same thing, her staff said she needed to see more tweets first. Really? How many tweets, exactly, does the author of the Green New Deal resolution need to see before she opposes a pipeline in her own back yard?

Will you sign now, so we can tell Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez that you’re with us and demand our leaders oppose the Williams pipeline as part of a Green new Deal?

This isn’t a minor issue to New York fracked gas companies: On Monday fossil fuel giant National Grid presented a plan to build the Williams fracked gas pipeline as part of a plan they said is supposed to cut emissions 80% by 2050. They’re trying to write their dirty pipeline into our vision for a clean and healthy New York!

But New Yorkers know fracked gas pipelines are a non-starter, and we’re proud to partner with the Stop the Williams Pipeline coalition on this petition – including 350 Brooklyn, Food and Water Watch New York, New York Communities for Change, the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Sane Energy Project, Surfrider Foundation New York, and more than 200 cosponsors. Together these groups have done the research to show that we don’t need the Williams Pipeline, and to discredit the green washing efforts and scare tactics. Even today, our partners in New York are hosting an event on sustainable solutions to heating New York buildings called “Heat Pumps not Pipelines”

Now we need you to join us – Sign here to demand our elected officials pick a side and say NO to the Williams Pipeline, and YES to a Green New Deal.

Dirty, Dishonest, Dominion Energy #DIVEST!

We had a busy 2 days of action targeting dirty, dishonest, Dominion Energy at their shareholder meeting in Columbia SC this week.

Check out the reportback video on all our actions, or scroll down to read an account of the more than 5 hours of meetings, speeches and actions. Once you see all the stuff we did, I hope you’ll be inspired to chip in $1.98 or more to support us. We’re still about $500 short of our goal for covering costs of all these events.

Here’s a quick budget for your information :

ItemCost
Food for Community supper$100
Bus Transit for Justice First$1000
Flyers, signs and materials$250
previously raised-$143
Donations from other partner groups-$500
TOTAL left to raise:$707

Monday Night – Community forum and supper

Monday night about 50 of us gathered at the historic Zion baptist Church in Columbia (where Dr King once spoke) for a community supper and teach in. We had reports and stories from all over Virginia, South Carolin, North Carolina and beyond about Dominion’s dirty, dishonest past, as well as a briefing on our plans for the shareholder meeting.

Here’s some video clips of the speakers from that night

Mary Cerulli from Mothers Out Front talked about our global power as a movement working with more than $2 trillion in assets to #Divest from fossil fuels and pipelines.

Greg Yost from NC APPPL talked about the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and how the Carolinas (North and South) are connecting to stop this fracked gas pipeline.

Freeda Cathcart, Indivisible VA talked about the importance of coalitions and working together to make change:

And Finally, Rev Leo Woodberry, from the Justice First tour and New Alpha community development corporation brought it all together in a keynote address that had everyone on their feet marching in one big wave of solidarity by the end.

At the end of Rev Woodberry’s keynote, we had a community supper downstairs, where we heard some more about Justice First’s recent trip to Africa helping communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone set up solar power, and from Chief Pete of the Pee Dee Tribe who talked about struggles with environmental justice during and after the flooding from Hurricane Florence, as well as their concerns about the Atlantic Coast pipeline and harvesting of souther forests for biofuel.

Tuesday – the main event!

On Tuesday we gathered outside the Shareholder meeting and 8 shareholders were admitted in with proxies to address the meeting. The rest of us handed out about fliers And held banners outside so everyone knew our demands. At the end of the Shareholder meeting we held a press conference touching on Dominion activity inside and outside the shareholder meeting.

Shareholder season update

It’s been a busy few weeks with Drew and the 198 methods crew running around DC, North Carolina and other locations to support direct action campaigns that challenge fossil fuels and climate chaos.

In particular, this spring, we’ve been working on getting the biggest banks, regulators and corporations behind the build out of fossil fuel expansion to change their plans and invest in a fossil-free Green New Deal instead.

Check out this video where Drew explains a bit about how and why we’ve been doing all these banner drops, climbing actions, and other protests.

Then, click here to support our work this Spring as we head into our final shareholder protest, this time targeting Dominion Energy – the company behind the Atlantic Coast pipeline, Cove Point gas export terminal, and much more.

Here’s a quick synopsis for those who like to read their news:

All of this – the travel, materials for banners, food and housing for activists we work with – is supported by donations from 198 methods supporters like you. We take no money from corporations or foundations, so we need your help to keep up this level of activity.

If you appreciate our work as part of a global movement to shut down fossil fuels, Divest from dirty energy, and build a cleaner future together under the framework of a Green new Deal, please chip in now.

Up in the air to stop the pipelines

This morning, I got up early, climbed a ladder 35 feet up, and perched on top of the front door of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with a banner that reads “FERC NO, Federal Renewable Energy Commission YES!”

It’s not a 100% safe, or legal way to make a point. But I thought it was important enough, and that this is a critical moment in which to make this point. 

Let me explain:

The Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FERC) is the agency in DC responsible for regulation of our interconnected electricity grids, as well as review, permitting and (almost always) approval of natural gas infrastructure in the United States. It’s already a powerful agency that oversees billions of dollars in infrastructure and is empowered to act on matters that can affect your monthly utility bill, and even seize your house or land and evict you through a process called eminent domain. Allies of the fossil fuel industry in DC have fought for years to expand those powers – so that FERC would oversee oil pipelines too, and would have stronger and more expedited powers to force through fossil fuel infrastructure.

For years we’ve battled against FERC and those who want to expand its powersWe’ve fought FERC orders to expedite fracking and new pipelines and LNG terminals. And we’ve been arrested and protested at multiple Senate hearings on FERC and opposed legislation to expand its powers.

But all along we’ve maintained it doesn’t have to be this way. FERC has a clear set of responsibilities that could be really helpful in fighting climate change – they could direct utilities to price renewable electricity more favorably than fossil fuels. They could also stop approving every new fossil fuel project that is proposed to them – especially big new fracked gas pipelines and export terminals, which will lock us into dangerous methane – a climate pollutant 86x more powerful than CO2 – for 30 years or more. 

Hence – FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Our vision is that as part of a Green New Deal, Congress would re-make FERC into an agency that prioritizes the climate crisis and acts to implement the renewable energy future we wall want.

It was even starting to work – In the last 12-24 months we’ve seen cracks between the FERC commissioners, with the two Democrats dissenting on many votes and deadlocking – effectively blocking – approval of new pipelines and gas export terminals. When asked why they are saying no, Democrats at FERC say they hear from the courts, the public, and from scientists that they need to do a better job measuring and addressing the impacts these projects have on climate change.

And then, last week, Donald Trump poured gasoline and methane all over that raging fire of a debate:

In a series of Executive Orders, Trump made plain he intends to use the Department of Energy (which oversees FERC), EPA and other federal agencies as a cudgel to ram through new oil and gas pipelines. Taken together with a series of state-level laws that ban protest at pipeline construction sites, Trump’s fossil-nationalism says this: 

  1. Fossil fuel companies should be paid more than any other energy sector. If ratepayers disagree, or the market simply moves in a different direction since the fuel for renewable energy is free, the Government will subsidize fossil fuel companies and force you to pay more money for dirtier energy.
  2. If fossil fuel companies want to build a pipeline through your town, put a compressor station on your front yard, or an export terminal where you fish, they can do so. Their wish is your command and they can take your land, your tribe’s land, or your town/state’s land to do it. If you think that’s unfair, you don’t want a pipeline in your front yard or sacred places, even if you take the time to convince your city council, tribal council, governor, mayor or other elected officials to join you in opposing the project, they will all be overruled. What’s yours, what’s sacred, what belongs to all of us in common – none of it matters. The fossil fuel industry gets what it wants, and you -as a ratepayer and a taxpayer – will pay them for it whether you like it or not.
  3. If you’re a shareholder, an investor, or a capitalist of any kind that believe climate change is a real, urgent threat – companies are ordered by the FEC to ignore you, and your right to talk about climate chaos, fossil fuels and investment strategy that does not burn the planet down is blocked. If you try and speak out anyway, your status as a licensed investor can be challenged and you can be removed from public exchanges. Fossil fuels are the only way to make money, and any dissent will be punished.
  4. Oh and if you resist, if you lay down in front of the machinery of destruction and put your body on the line to stop this madness – you will be arrested, probably by heavily armed federal agents, and put in jail. In an increasing number of states, simply praying for peace in the path of a pipeline could get you locked up for a decade or longer.

Which is why I’m up here. We have a clear plan for how FERC can stop being part of the problem, and transform into FREC – a part of the solution. Trump and Co. are clearly not going to help implement that vision, but Congress might – and you can help! Here’s how:

  1. Check out the livestream and photos from our partners in action at BXE above
  2. If you’re interested in supporting our work, click here to chip in – we have more actions planned this spring at Shareholder meetings and corporate gatherings!
  3. Call Chuck Schumer at 202-224-6542 and Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965 to urge them to support legislation to replace FERC with FREC.

Quick, slightly belated, update on Bernhardt

As you probably heard by now – Bernhardt was confirmed by a vote of 56-41 last week, over the objections of nearly 200,000 of us who signed, called, texted, and petitioned to oppose his nomination. The vote was largely along party lines, with three of the same Democrats who voted against the Green New Deal — Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) — voting for Bernhardt, as well as Maine’s so-called Independent Senator, Angus King.

It’s frightening, of course, to have such a dangerous and dirty nominee confirmed to an important post  that oversees so much of our public lands and waters, as well as many of the US Government’s interactions with tribal nations and indigenous people through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

But Bernhardt didn’t get away scot-free: He takes is official position under more investigations than most previous Interior Secretaries ever see. And House Democrats will be sure to scrutinize every corrupt rule and racist policy Bernhardt tries to promulgate.

That’s the power of our actions together online – some bad things we can stop outright, and others, like Bernhardt’s nomination, we can slow and make more problematic for the drillers, frackers, and  fossil-fueled cronies Trump appoints.

So thank you for taking action.

I also want to remind you that this isn’t over – nor is it the only thing we’re fighting right now. For those of you who are new to this list – Welcome! The thesis idea here at 198 methods is to use the anti-authoritarian tactics first popularized by Gene Sharp as a non-violent alternative to armed populist revolution, and popularized again in recent books like This is an Uprising and Twitter and Teargas, as a specific model for fighting fossil fuels and climate chaos in the United States.

And if you’ve ever questioned if we’re really living in a fossil-fueled oligarchy or dictatorship – just consider the last week of Trump News: His recent Executive Orders basically direct federal agents (that’s the nationalism part) to overrule local objections to fossil fuel projects and disregard shareholder resolutions opposing climate change. 

Combined with Bernhardt’s dirty, corrupt, partisan confirmation vote, it’s one of the most blatant moment’s of Trump putting the profits of fossil fuel barons ahead of the rule of law, the safety of our communities, and the survival of our climate and common home.

If you want to see more about how we’re fighting back this spring – with actions that strike back at the heart of the fossil fuel and pipeline empires in Washington DC, and take the fight to the shareholder meetings and financiers of climate chaos – check out our blog, and stay tuned!

Taking the fight to #fossilbanks

Get Excited — It’s shareholder meeting (AGM to our friends in Europe) season; And this year we’re taking the fight to some of the biggest #FossilBanks and investors on the planet.

You may remember a few weeks ago when a coalition of friends (including 198 methods) released a big report showing that global banks have invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels. Now, those same banks, and the pipeline companies they finance are holding annual shareholder meetings and we’re ramping up the pressure to demand they #Divest from fossil fuels and climate chaos as part of a Green New Deal.

The first events start this week in Seattle and Charlotte (amongst other places) check it out and sign up to join and event near you.

OR – if you can’t make it to an event or there isn’t one planned near you right now – click here to chip in $1.98 or more to help us challenge these banks and corporate frackers in front of their shareholders with daring and creative protests.

These protests are part of a big, international, coalition that’s working to make the climate crisis a real, immediate concern for big banks and investors. Because to stop a further climate chaos, we urgently need to bring the fossil fuel era to an end. But only massive public pressure will make banks divest from pipelines, fracking wells and other climate-wrecking industries. So we need your help and participation to build that pressure on the Fossil Banks.

So what’s our plan? We’ll be all over this spring protesting at shareholder meetings. Check out some of the upcoming events or visit our Facebook page to see and RSVP:

  • April 10 – Charlotte NC and all over the Country protesting at Chase and Wells Fargo branches, in particular.
  • April 24 – Bank of America Shareholder meeting in Charlotte NC; and
  • May 7 – Dominion Shareholder Meeting Columbia SC

Lots more events are being planned – so stay tuned and drop us a line on Facebook, on Twitter, or right here on the good old fashioned website if you have an AGM/Shareholder meeting you want help planning!

Image courtesy of Fund Our Future

UPDATE: Bernhardt caught red handed, Senate Committee votes to confirm him anyway

Early this morning, the New York Times released a story that proves that David Bernhardt – Trump’s corrupt, dirty nominee to replace Ryan Zinke as head of the Department of Interior – lied to Congress by continuing to lobby Interior more than a year after he swore he’d stopped.

The evidence is an April 2017 invoice that shows David Bernhardt billed $25,000 “for professional services rendered” in February 2017 – well after he filed official papers saying that he had ended his lobbying activities in April 2016. But it’s only the latest in a string of scandals that clearly show Bernhardt is a walking conflict of interest.

The full Senate is expected to vote next week – can you sign now to demand the Senate vote NO on Bernhardt, so we can deliver your name next week?

It should have been the smoking gun Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee needed to block, or at least delay his nomination. Instead, climate-denying Democrat in name only Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME) and every single Republican voting in favor of Mr. Bernhardt’s confirmation.

But just because these two Democrats are traitors in the face of corruption and climate chaos, doesn’t mean the fight is over. The whole Senate doesn’t vote until next week (or later, if today’s news delays or derails Bernhardt’s nomination). And several Republicans are continuing to withhold how they will vote until Bernhardt promises them special favors and exemptions from his offshore drilling plan.

We need to make sure the whole Senate know’s Bernhardt’s a dirty, corrupt, climate denier before they vote. Sign now, and we’ll deliver your name next week along with our partners.

PS – need a refresher on Bernhardt and the dozens and dozens of shady deals in his past? Click here for the post earlier this week which has links to in depth reporting and investigations from the Times, DeSmogBlog, Outside and more.