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!

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.

Trump’s Most Corrupt Nominee yet.

Trump has nominated David Bernhardt to run the Department of Interior, making him the latest in a line of corrupt former lobbyists nominated to regulate the industries they used to work for.

This is almost be a cliche at this point: Bernhardt follows Ryan Zinke, who resigned under a cloud of investigations and allegations of corruption. Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, who thousands of us called, emailed, texted and got arrested protesting was confirmed last month to replace Scott Pruitt – who was forced out over similar corruption charges.

But Bernhardt is especially bad – and there’s still time to stop him. At his committee hearing last week, he was questioned strongly by Republicans and Democrats. And his during his previous vote to be Zinke’s deputy, only 53 Senators supported him.

If we can convince just a few more Senators to oppose Bernhardt, we could stop him and take down some of Trump’s most corrupt, dirty, and totalitarian plans for US “Energy Dominance.”

But a vote is expected before April 12, so we’re teaming up with a big coalition of groups to deliver more than 150,000 signatures next week. Can you join us and sign on now?

Too corrupt even for Trump

Like I said, in an administration notorious for corruption and conflicts of interest, Bernhardt is especially bad:

Sign now, and we’ll deliver your name along with more than 150,000 others next week before Bernhardt gets a vote!

We’ve taken down Trump’s corrupt agents before – firing Pruitt, Zinke, and driving others out of office. We’ve also built a powerful bulwark against his nominees by getting every single Democrat to vote in opposition to Trump’s nominees to FERC and other agencies.

But we’ve never succeeded in taking down a nominee at this point in the process. If we stop Bernhardt, we wont just stop a corrupt, misogynist, oil-baron from taking over the Interior Department (though that would be a good thing) we’ll deal a major blow to Trump and Co.’s plans to drill, frack, and mine every inch of our public lands and waters – no matter what the damage to our climate, communities, or people.

That’s why it’s critical that you tell your Senators you won’t stand for another fossil fuel industry hack who puts the profits of his former clients above the health and safety of the American people.

Bernhardt is a walking conflict of interest. Tell your Senators to oppose his nomination.

Breaking: Trump tries to ram through KeystoneXL, Again

Trump just issued a presidential permit for construction of Keystone XL, again.

He’s trying to get around a recent court order by the Ninth circuit that preserved an injunction to stop TransCanada from building the pipeline, at a potential costs of billions of dollars.

If you’re ready to get in front of this pipeline and take action to protect our water, communities and climate we need you now – and we need you trained and ready to take action.

Join a training and get prepared to mobilize against the Keystone XL pipeline. Register for a Promise to Protect training near you.

Promise to Protect training tour

Trump has been trying to build the Keystone XL pipeline since his first day in office. You may remember that the order expediting Keystone was one of Trump’s first, signed four days after he took office. Today’s order actually had to supersede the last time he ‘ordered’ the pipeline to be built because the courts struck down that stupid and clumsy attempt.

But Trump’s incompetence is not a sufficient protection against this pipeline. Activists in North Carolina and Virginia have documented dozens of cases where companies keep on building the pipeline after the Courts order them to stop – especially if they know they’ve got the backing of Trump, FERC or federal agencies like the EPA.

This training tour is intended to prepare thousands of us to take mass action to stop Keystone XL, and every other fossil fuel project that comes our way. And we need to be ready for a lot. The US is now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world – and trump and his team are rushing through dozens of new pipelines, refineries and export terminals.

More than 20,000 of us have already signed up through the Promise to Protect website and committed to take peaceful action along the pipeline route. Now we need you to join a training so we can be prepared to resist.

The training covers more than just logistics and theory. Taking place along the pipeline route and in nine cities, these are indigenous led briefings to prepare you to be good relatives and understand the vulnerabilities and opportunities of this and other pipeline projects

At the training, you’ll learn about nonviolent direct action and support roles, protocols for mobilizing in Lakota territory, and how to apply these lessons to local campaigns, which we’ll need in order to create a nationwide wave of resistance against fossil fuel development in our communities.

Sign-up for the Promise to Protect Training Tour this spring to get ready now for future action against Keystone XL.

Fossil Banks invest $1.9 trillion in climate change

It’ll come as no surprise to regular 198 methods readers and activists that since the Paris climate agreement was signed in late 2015, global banks have invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels. About half of it going to companies like Energy Transfer Partners, Transcanada, and others investing in a massive expansion of fossil fuel projects at exactly the moment climate scientists tell us we have 12 years to radically reduce emissions.

It’s all in the new report Banking on Climate Change: Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2019 by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club, Oil Change International and Honor the Earth, and endorsed by more than 160 organizations ― including us!

Can you help us fight back? Click here to host or attend one of dozens of protests at local bank branches on April 10 and call out banks dirty investment in climate chaos.

In 2015, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon supported the Paris Climate agreement and pledged and investment strategy “consistent with a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions.” But the report shows he’s been anything but consistent. In fact, Chase is the number one bank investing in fossil fuels with $196 billion invested in coal, Arctic oil and gas, fracking, tar sands, and other fossil fuels ― in the last 3 years alone!

Lots of European banks like BNP Paribas and ING Bank have taken steps to limit their funding of new fossil fuel projects. But US Banks are continuing to spend $1.9 Trillion on new fossil fuel projects ― and what’s worse, their investment in climate chaos is actually increasing.  

But if we act together, we can make a difference. The Dakota Access pipeline got $2.5 billion of its $3.8 billion in total funding from banks like Chase and Wells Fargo. Without those loans, they simply wouldn’t have enough money to build new pipelines, coal terminals or fracked gas facilities.

So thousands of us joined forces to move our money, demand better banking and #DefundDAPL. Now, I need your help to take action again. Here’s how:

  1. Check out the report and share it with your friends online.
  2. You can share it on Facebook, on Twitter, or email this page to your friends.
  3. Join us as we take action across the country to deliver the message loud and clear that funding climate disaster will not be tolerated.
US Banks are the worlds biggest funders of Dirty Fossil Fuels

Vote imminent on Wheeler

Quick update – Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to lead the EPA is on the Senate calendar today for a so-called “unanimous consent” vote.

That’s the same motion that Lisa Murkowski used more than a year ago to whisk through several nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At that time, no single Senator objected, and as a result we’ve had approvals of dozens of new gas pipelines and export terminals.

The damage that Andrew Wheeler could do as head of the EPA is even greater, and touches on a wide range of issues – from climate chaos, to poisoning farmworkers and contractors with chemicals, to poisoning whole communities (usually communities of color) with mercury pollution from power plants.

We need ever Senator who cares about the planet to vote against Wheeler this week. If we convince Senators this is a litmus-test on energy and environment, we’ll have a much better chance when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate.​

More than 12,000 198 methods supporters have signed a petition opposing Wheeler. And we know this strategy can work because Wheeler’s vote in committee was on party lines. Now, I need your help to melt the phones in the Senate with calls opposing Wheeler.

Click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA.

Last year, we convinced every Senate Democrat to vote against a Trump nominee for FERC. Now, we’re trying to repeat that vote with Wheeler – and maybe add a few Republicans too since some of them have voiced concerns about Wheeler.​

Need a little more on Wheeler? No problem, we’ve got you covered in the blog. You can also mention that, just this month, Wheeler said that the Green New Deal would threaten the entire electric grid – belying both a failure to understand how Renewable Energy works, and willingness to lie to the press in service of the Trump administration and the coal industry.​

If you’re ready, click here or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA. And don’t forget to call back, everybody has two Senators!

Call now to shutdown Wheeler

UPDATE – Quick update – Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to lead the EPA is on the Senate calendar today for a so-called “unanimous consent” vote. Within the last few weeks, Wheeler also said that the Green New Deal would threaten the entire electric grid – belying both a failure to understand how Renewable Energy works, and willingness to lie to the press in service of the Trump administration and the coal industry

You remember Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s climate-destroying nominee to be the permanent head of the EPA? Well he’s about to get a vote in the full Senate.

I’m not going to lie, it’s incredibly unlikely we can stop Wheeler from being confirmed by the full Senate this week. He was passed out of committee last week on a party line votewhich you helped make possible with calls, emails and action demanding that the Committee Shutdown Wheeler, not the EPA in January. And our outspoken advocacy with Friends of the Earth, already got me and my sister arrested while trying to tell Senators about Wheeler’s crimes.

But there’s another really good reason to call your Senator now: Last year, we convinced every Senate Democrat to vote against a Trump nominee for FERC. If we can repeat that this week with a vote on Wheeler, we’ll send a powerful message that confirming Trump’s nominees to key posts on energy and environment is a climate crime. And when it comes time to prosecute the Trump team for their corruption, collusion with polluters, and criminal neglect of our climate: this will be important.

So call now – click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell them what state you live in. Then, tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA. And don’t forget to call back, everybody has two Senators!

Need a little more on Wheeler? No problem, we’ve got you covered:

Wheeler, you might remember, has spent most of his life as a lobbyist for the coal industry, most recently for infamous coal-baron Bob Murray. And in the few months he’s been “acting” EPA administrator, he’s stopped at nothing to put fossil fuel profits ahead of public health and the health of the planet.

While he hasn’t committed the kind of outrageous, headline-grabbing scandals Pruitt was known for, Wheeler is an even bigger danger. In just a few months he’s undermined a critical rule that protects us from Mercury pollution – called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). Mercury, usually emitted from coal burning power plants, is a dangerous neurotoxin that’s especially dangerous for children and pregnant women. Wheeler also rolled back regulations on the super-potent climate-changing chemical hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)And, perhaps most damning, he’s pushed to ease restrictions on the pesticide chlorpyrifos, and the paint stripper methylene chloride — overruling doctors and scientists who spent years proving that they kill farmworkers, contractors and other workers.

Click or call (202) 224-3121 and tell your Senators you want them to vote NO on making climate-wrecking coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler the permanent head of EPA.

Call now for a Green New Deal

It’s here! A joint Resolution for a Green New Deal was just released.

As had been reported many many times, the resolution does not mention fossil fuels or pipelines, and leaves the door open to nuclear power, some kinds of fracking, and more.

Most important the resolution is a starting gun – an official letter introduced in Congress that you can call your members about and tell them why the Green New Deal matters to you.

Pick up the phone right now and dial (833) 768-7693 to tell Congress to be Real Climate Leaders by supporting a strong Green New Deal.

Not sure what to say? Here are some simple talking points based on the demands that more than 1000 activists have been delivering at more than 100 congressional offices this week:

  • This week activists are meeting with congressional offices from coast to coast urging Congress to transform our economy and energy systems through a Green New Deal.
  • More than a thousand activists are meeting with more than 100 members of Congress.
  • We’re delivering more than 100,000 signatures to support a Green New Deal.
  • Specifically, we’re demanding that
    • You support a Green New Deal that halts all new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure and subsidies, and transitions power generation to 100% renewable energy by 2035 or sooner.
    • This must be a bold, progressive policy that ensures a Fair & Just Transition led by impacted communities and workers and one that passes a national jobs guarantee.
    • To tackle climate change, we need to decarbonize the agriculture and transportation sectors and expand access to public transportation.
    • And we must respect and uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.
    • Add your own local concerns too – about pipelines, nuclear power, or any other local issue you’re working on!

I wrote earlier this week about why I’m worried this could be another “all of the above” plan. And as more and more news reports came out, it was clear that was a real danger. To re-cap that argument:

Under the All of the Above plan from Obama, the US dramatically increased production of Renewable energy at the same time we even more dramatically increased fossil fuel production and especially fossil fuel exports. Donald Trump even bragged on it at his state of the Union on Tuesday – and when Trump brags about something, you know it’s just the worst. Some of the places that got hit first and worst by this boom in fossil fuels:

  • The Gulf of Mexico, especially poor, black or brown communities in places like Louisiana and Texas who are also on the frontlines of climate-fueled super storms.
  • Indigenous communities in Canada and the plains, where a boom in tar sands and shale oil brought crime, pollution and pipelines.
  • California communities – again usually poor or black or brown or all of the above – that saw a massive expansion of fracking for oil and gas even as state leaders touted 100% renewable goals and carbon trading markets.
  • And the shale-fields of Pennsylvania, where a boom economy in fracking left behind pollution, bomb-trains, pipelines and chemical plants, but failed to deliver lasting economic stability.

That’s not the Green New Deal we hoped for or need. But even if it’s imperfect, the resolution introduced today is an important place to start conversation. We need to begin changing everything, and we can. But only if EVERYONE shows up right now to tell Congress: This is the moment to call – Congress just started to hold hearings yesterday on climate change, and this new Resolution for a Green New Deal is like a starting gun being fired. Now we race towards solutions, with only 10 years to make the big changes we need.