Get on a Bus to the Poor People’s Campaign

Earlier this week, I sat down and blocked the door to the EPA in solidarity with the Poor People’s Campaign. Sitting with me and just outside, was a crowd of hundreds – multi-racial, interfaith, and intergenerational – together we rallied, sang and demanded change .

The action was electric. And you know Scott Pruitt – Trump’s racist, corrupt EPA administrator – heard about it. Check out the photos and videos of the action:

But shutting down the EPA for a few hours will not fire Scott Pruitt. And even firing Pruitt will not undo all the damage this Administration has done to our health and the health of our planet.

These 40 days of moral action, which 198 methods has been proud to endorse and support, are the start of a massive campaign to address environmental, racial and economic injustice. This Saturday, June 23, there’s a big rally here in DC to cap the 40 days of action, and launch the next phase of the Poor People’s Campaign. Will you join us? Click here to RSVP!

There are busses and car-pools coming from dozens of states, and housing is available Tonight and tomorrow for some activists. Click here to learn more and get connected.

Can’t make it Saturday? Tune in with us on social media, and chip in a few dollars – all the proceeds will be used to help folks get to and participate in Saturday’s Rally.

The Poor People’s Campaign was founded to engage in mass nonviolent direct action the face of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and militarism. All these are products of the same distorted moral narrative that allows Jeff Sessions to claim biblical backing to rip children from their mothers at the border; and it’s the same distorted moral narrative that allows Scott Pruitt to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on frivolous (and illegal) perks for himself, at the same time he is rolling back protections for clean air, clean water, environmental justice and climate change that cost real lives – especially low-wealth communities and communities of color.

Actions like the one I took on Monday are an important part of this campaign, which has included rallies in more than 38 states, and more than 1700 non-violent arrests. But this is only the beginning.

Rev. Barber, co-chair of the poor People’s Campaign says “We must engage in mass power building in poor and low wealth communities declaring We Won’t Be Silent Anymore!!!” Join us this Saturday to take the next step in building that power.

Cracks between the FERC commissioners

I’ve been fighting with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for years now. Most of the time, they seem pretty monolithic: in all the years they’ve existed, they’ve only said no to two (2) pipeline applications. And they’ve always steadfastly refused to acknowledge the damage that fracked gas does to our climate.

That’s why, for the last four years or so, I’ve been working with Beyond Extreme Energy to resist FERC, tell the Senate not to confirm their commissioners, and generally shut down this rubber stamping agency. But now, for the first time I can remember, we are beginning to see cracks develop between the FERC commissioners:

Just a few days ago, the two (minority) Democratic commissioners, Richard Glick and Cheryl LaFleur, voted to void the  FERC permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. There have also been news reports that the two Democrats are demanding a more thorough review of climate impacts – including one time LaFleur took it upon herself to just “do the math” without her Republican colleagues’ permission.

Without question the unrelenting pressure of our movement has had much to do with this, and we need to keep it up. FERC is still accepting public comments on their pipeline review process. And on Monday June 25, we’re going to deliver a big, noisy message to FERC’s front door. Can you support us? You can join me and our BXE friends in DC to take action on Monday, OR you can just sign this petition and we’ll deliver your name along with thousands of others on Monday.


While there have been several dissents from the Democrats over the last nine months since a quorum was restored to FERC, they have not been enough to actually stop any pipeline or permit. And Republican Chairman Kevin McIntyre has made it plain he’s more interested in ‘streamlining’ the approval process than raising new questions or rejecting pipeline applications.

But while we’re not yet on pace to truly reform or “fix” FERC, I do think there’s reason to be optimistic in this moment. The recent comments from Glick and LaFleur show that our pressure has changed some minds already. And we know from past experience that when we show up in force to shut FERC down, commissioners often scurry for the exits, or even retire altogether. If we can force one more commissioner to change their position, or step down and replace them with someone who takes climate change seriously, we’ll have a majority. And THAT is worth fighting for.

PS – Monday’s action will be big, bold, beutifle and memorable. BXE has already laid out thousands of dollar to build art and props, provide food and housing for all of the participants (including me!) and many other logistics. If you can’t make it on Monday, but want to support the action or watch along online, I know they’d also appreciate a donation – anything helps, but a gift of $1.98, $19.80, or $198 is especially nice and let’s them know you’re with us. Thanks.

Show Governor Cooper why his father loved the land between the two creeks

When Governor Roy Cooper gave the green light to the Atlantic Coast pipeline he put his father’s home-town in the path of destruction. Gov. Cooper’s father, Roy A. Cooper, Jr., wrote of Nash County’s Elm Grove Community, “I thank God that I have been privileged to live between the creeks with family, close friends, and with nature at its finest.”

So this weekend, I’ll be joining our friends from NC APPPL again in North Carolina for a “Walk Between the Creeks”. Together, we’ll walk the distance between these two creeks that the Governor’s father loved, and we’ll hold a short ceremony at the mid point with prayer, a water ceremony, and testimony from Nash County residents directly impacted by the pipeline.

We’ve invited Governor Cooper,  his Secretary of Environmental Quality, and other officials  to join us. We hope that the visit and these simple, moral actions will remind the Governor what makes his family home and its waters worth protecting. But even if he doesn’t attend, we know you’ll help us share the story and bring the sacred water we gather to Raleigh on June 21st for an interfaith day of action on clean energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Together we will Stop The Pipeline.

IF YOU CAN JOIN US: The total distance is less than 2.5 miles and we will finish by 1pm whereupon we’ll return to the Dean School for lunch. Shuttles are available back to your car. Please bring a bag lunch and appropriate clothes and shoes for road walking. Also, please bring a small jar of water from a spring, creek, or river near your home for the water ceremony.

IF YOU CAN’T JOIN US: Tune in to watch online, I’ll be live-streaming the whole event starting at about 11am tomorrow. Also, if you can, please chip in a few dollars to support the event – we’ll donate all the proceeds to APPPL and the crew fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in North Carolina

Show up with the Poor People’s Campaign: Because everybody’s got a right to breathe

Since mid-May, thousands of people have been rallying for policies to dismantle systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental degradation. It’s called the Poor People’s Campaign, A national call for moral revival, and the vision was laid down by Dr. Martin luther King 50 years ago.

The call is for all of us to join 40 days of nonviolent moral action, and on June 3, the campaign will focus a week of action on “The Right to Health and a Healthy Planet.” Already, actions have been happening weekly outside of 35 state capitals and Washington, D.C. Thousands have shown up already, and hundreds have been arrested, Including me – Last month, I was arrested in an act of civil disobedience with the Poor People’s Campaign alongside more than a dozen neighbors, clergy, and friends in my home state of South Carolina.

This Monday, I’m asking you to show up and do the same. Will you join a local Poor People’s Campaign action focussed on our health and the health of the planet this Monday?

You don’t need to risk arrest, but there is training and support available for those who want or feel called to do so. All most states ask is that you RSVP and attend a short training on the morning before. Click here to learn more​:

There are lots of good reasons to get involved with the Poor People’s Campaign. Their call for justice on behalf of people and the planet is powerful, and it’s clearly catching on. And in a time when climate-fueled weather events from hurricanes to wildfires threaten more communities than ever, it’s always poor people, communities of color and the disenfranchised who are ht first and worst.

Just last week news broke that independent medical examiners determined that the official death toll in Puerto Rico from hurricanes Maria was closer to 4600, not the 64 fatalities Trump and his team have reported. It’s an outrage that has ​everything​ to do with our nation (and Puerto Rico, in particular)’s dependance on fossil fuels. And it’s a story that clearly connects the dots between Trump’s racism, climate denial, and the disastrous consequences born by our neighbors – especially those who are poor, brown, or dispossessed. ​

But instead of igniting a moral call to action to make sure there are no more Climate fatalities on US soil, the media overwhelmingly focussed on a racist tweet from Roseanne Barr.

I’m not saying this just to knock cable news and the main stream media. But it’s an indication that there’s something sick and wrong with our political discourse. I don’t know if sitting down in the street and getting arrested will change it or heal our political discourse. But Dr. King hoped so; In 1967 he said “People ought to come to Washington, sit down if necessary in the middle of the street and say, ‘We are here; we are poor; we don’t have any money; you have made us this way … and we’ve come to stay until you do something about it.'”

When I was arrested a few weeks ago, I was standing right next to a local reverend who was part of the civil right’s movement in the 60s. A few yards to my left, young people from a neighboring town who cared about climate justice, immigrant rights and more were also arrested standing for their principles. Every Monday for the last three weeks people of conscience have shown up for justice.  On Monday, they show up for the health of our people and planet.

If you’re ready to answer Dr. King’s call 50 years later – if you’re ready to show up, sit in, speak out and make your presence known for climate justice – there’s never been a better time than this Monday June 4. Click here to find the nearest Poor People’s Campaign Action, and sign up to join them on Monday.

Pruitt’s trying to over up this cancer-causing chemical report

Last week, hundreds of 198 supporters joined more than 300,000 petition signers and 100 environmental and social justice organizations in calling on Congress to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

But today, he still has a job. What’s more, just today Pruitt abused his power (again) to bodily remove a reporter from a meeting on toxic chemicals. I’ve said it before, but ANY other EPA administrator would have been fired already. But Trump won’t do it. And so far, it seems like it’s going to take more pressure to get Congress to act. So here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Don’t normalize this latest scandal with your silence. Share the news on social media using the links below, or forward this to friends on email.
    1. Share on Facebook.
    2. Share on Twitter.
  2. Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign. Last week more than 100 of us participated in petition deliveries from coast to coast. But Congress hasn’t responded to our demands. We need your support to keep planning escalating actions and protests that compel them to #FirePruitt.

The backstory

We’ve been petitioning Congress and the Administration for months to Fire Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt EPA administrator. In cased you missed it, Senator Bernie Sanders helped us lay out the case in a conference call (which hundreds of you participated in) early last week. Click here to listen to a recording if you missed the call (Drew helped moderate and screen your questions).

Last week Pruitt was back on capitol hill to testify before a Senate subcommittee and so were our friends — A crew of activists silently held “Fire Him” signs behind Pruitt as he gave his opening remarks, and again owned the media narrative with stories on CSPAN, Politico, MSNBC, and more.

But the action wasn’t contained to the committee room, or even the East Coast: More than 100 198 methods supporters signed up to deliver more than 300,000 petition signatures demanding Congress Fire Pruitt. There were rallies in New York, sit-down meetings in Philadelphia and Boston, and drop-bys and deliveries in Chicago, California, and hundreds of other locations.

Back on capitol hill, Pruitt’s reception with the Senate was not a friendly one. As with last month’s hearing, Democrats generally called on Pruitt to resign and were harsher in their questioning. Republicans were generally more patient, though Republican Subcommittee chair Murkowski did refer to the scandals as “legitimate” concerns. A lot of questions at the hearing were about whether Pruitt may have had a personal hand in covering up a pollution report that the White House said would be a “PR nightmare” if released.

The report in question is reported to expose the health effects from a class of chemicals used to make non-stick Teflon and some kinds of firefighting foam, which are called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Other studies from government agencies have linked those chemicals to cancer, developmental disorders and a host of other health problems and hundreds of communities from Vermont to Souther California may already be contaminated contaminated. Which is why it’s suspicious that Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis caused by PFOA and related chemicals. And, as if to confirm that he doesn’t want to talk about the human and environmental consequences, Pruitt chose not to invite victims, community leaders, and even major media outlets to today’s “National Leadership Summit” on PFOA, PFOS, and other chemicals.

When reporters showed up to cover the meeting anyway, they were refused entry and in one instance forcibly ejected. This is only the latest in a string of scandals and cover-ups involving Pruitt. But it’s important that we don’t get resigned to the Trump cycle of repeating scandals and constant crisis. Pruitt won’t quit, and Trump won’t fire him. And that means it’s up to Congress to take action and #FirePruitt. You can help us keep the pressure up:

  1. Don’t normalize this latest scandal with your silence. Share the news on social media using the links below, or forward this to friends on email.
    1. Share on Facebook.
    2. Share on Twitter.
  2. Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign.

 

Call in with Bernie Sanders tonight to #FirePruitt

This could be the end for Scott Pruitt: Last Friday, the New York Times broke the story that, Pruitt wined and dined a Roman Catholic cardinal who also is accused of “multiple … sexual offenses” just because the cardinal doesn’t believe in global warming. Then he tried to cover it up from the press and the public by changing FOUR. DIFFERENT. PUBLIC. ACCOUNTS.

Congress is angry (as they should be) but that may not be enough. There are indications that last month, when he testified before a House Committee, Pruitt may have lied and omitted informationas he has done many times before with the press and public – and therefore broken the law, again.

The only solution is for Congress to fire him using the impeachment process. And that’s exactly what going to do tomorrow, with your help. More than 300,000 people have signed on to demand Congress #FirePruitt. Now we need to deliver the message:

Can you click here to find your member of Congress’ local office and deliver our petition tomorrow at noon? You’ll be provided with a two page delivery packet and training guide to make sure everything goes smoothly. Then, call 844-881-1311 tonight at 6pm Eastern / 3pm pacific, and Senator Bernie Sanders and FOE President Erich Pica will tell you all about it (Drew will be helping manage the Q&A line with other volunteers).

Time and again we’ve seen scandals about Scott Pruitt, and thought to ourselves ‘this time he’s done for’. But every single time, Donald Trump has stood by his man because he appreciates the work Pruitt is doing to destroy our environment and poison our public health on behalf of big polluters.

The White House Press office says they “hoping” Pruitt can address the scandals at his hearing next Wednesday. We need to show up in force and make it clear that Pruitt can’t cover up or explain away his misconduct.

We’ve got everything you need to deliver a powerful message. Just click here to find your member of Congress’ local office and deliver our petition tomorrow at noon.

You’ll be provided with a two page delivery packet and training guide to make sure everything goes smoothly. When you arrive take a picture of yourself holding up the first page in front of the office. Then head inside and deliver a copy of the second page, which has a copy of the petition we all signed. Finally, post your pictures on social media using the hashtag #FirePruitt and we’ll share them with activists and reporters all over the country.

If you’re ready to Fire Pruitt, get your materials and then call 844-881-1311 tonight at 6pm Eastern / 3pm pacific. Senator Sanders and members of our #FirePruitt coalition will tell you all about how we’re going to win.

Stand and Deliver to #FirePruitt

The Scandals keep piling up for Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt, and dangerous EPA administrator. But this latest one – broken late Friday by a team of New York Times investigative reporters – might be enough to end him:

While on a lavish trip to Rome paid for by taxpayers, Pruitt took a Cardinal who denies climate science and is under investigation for child sex abuse out to dinner at a $240/plate restaurant. Then, he tried to hide it from reporters and the public by changing his official schedule four different times. Wow.

More than 300,000 people have signed on to demand Congress Fire Pruitt. And it’s essential that they do. Trump’s not going to do it – As recently as Thursday his press office said that “The president is pleased with the job that he’s doing…” And Pruitt’s digging in:  He’s refusing to show up at the EPA or speak to anyone but a tiny handful close advisors. And he’ll do anything to change the story, even instructing his staff to leak embarrassing stories about his rival, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And all this after weeks of scandals, nearly a dozen investigations and more!

But Pruitt can’t hide forever. He’s scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee next Wednesday May 16, and Drew’s headed to D.C. to make sure he doesn’t get off easy. Along with dozens of partners, we’re planning to escalate. Can you help?

RSVP to #FirePruittIt’s past time For Congress to fire Pruitt. Trump won’t do it and Pruitt won’t resign voluntarily (people have been telling him to for weeks). So impeachment is the only solution for an administrator this corrupt, venal, and dangerous to the agency he’s supposed to lead and the people he’s supposed to protect.

But Congress isn’t likely to act without a push. Hundreds of members have already called for Pruitt to resign, and they feel like that’s enough. Even worse, some Democrats feel like they’d rather have Pruitt as a punching bag – an example of Trump’s corrupt, reckless leadership team – to campaign against in November’s mid-term election. That’s not leadership or courage.

We’ve said for months that if elected leaders want to act like the climate hawks they claim to be, they need to do more than condemn the Trump administration with words. They need to take action – by refusing to fill vacant posts (like at FERC), firing his most dangerous cabinet secretaries, and refusing to confirm deputies and who will carry out the Trump’s deadly anti-climate agenda with less publicity or notice. Pruitt deserves to be the first to go, given all that he’s done, but he shouldn’t be the last. That’s the message we’ll deliver to every member of Congress next week, with your support

We’ve got everything you need to deliver a powerful message. Before you go to your local congressional representative’s office, print out a copy of this two-page delivery packet. When you arrive take a picture of you and your friends holding up the first page in front of the office. Then head inside and deliver a copy of the second page, which has a copy of the petition we all signed. Finally, post your pictures on social media using the hashtag #FirePruitt and we’ll share them with activists and reporters all over the country.

But we can’t do it without your support. Can you sign up to show up – and if you can’t chip in to support those who can?

 

 

Last chance to Sign on and #Fire Pruitt!

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt, climate-denying EPA Administrator is on the ropes. But he’s not finished yet.

The latest press reports indicate that senior White House staff are practically begging Trump to #FirePruitt. This after even more scandals involving expensive trips abroad that were planned by lobbyists and donors. And a new investigative report that reveals a concerted effort by Pruitt’s staff to protect him from the press, and the public. It’s gotten so bad that Pruitt has basically stopped showing up at work, and refuses to see anyone but a tiny handful close advisors.

But even these reports, which would have ended the career of any EPA chief before, have not been enough for Trump to fire Pruitt. And Pruitt is digging ininstructing his staff to leak embarrassing stories about his rival, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in an attempt to change the narrative. And that means it’s up to Congress to fire him using the impeachment process.

Next week Pruitt is scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee. They could use the opportunity to demand answers and hold Pruitt accountable. But if last month’s House hearing is any indication, they won’t. We’re planning show up and deliver the more than 250,000 petition signatures we’ve gathered demanding Congress take action and fire Pruitt immediately. But I noticed you haven’t had a chance to sign the petition (with us) – Can you click here to sign on before Friday so we can deliver your name next week? 

Our plan, along with a huge coalition of like-minded groups, is to deliver these signatures to dozens of Congressional offices Pruitt is walking out of his hearing on Capitol Hill. If we time it right, it should feel like he’s walking out of a congressional Grilling and into a firestorm of protest.

Over the next few days we’ll have more updates on how to RSVP for a local delivery event in your congressional district, as well as tools to invite more friends, schedule a formal meeting with your member of Congress’ staff and more. But for now, the most important thing you can do is make sure your name is included, along with 250,000 others on this petition demanding Congress Fire Scott Pruitt now.

A week of actions to walk the talk on climate

This is the long version of our report back on the Walk the Talk action in Albany, and the #FirePruitt actions in DC – if you prefer shorter versions of these reports and updates, subscribe to our email list on the home page. We start in Albany, so click here if you want to skip ahead to the Pruitt news, click here. And to cut to the chase – we’re looking to raise another $500-$1,000 to cover the costs of this. The funds will be used to support travel and logistics and legal support for more than 55 people (all of whom need to return to Albany next week for a court date. Click here to chip in if you can.

Cuomo Walk the Talk

The week got off to an AMAZING start on Sunday with the Cuomo Walk The Talk Action Camp. about 100 of us gathered in Athens, a few miles south of Albany, for an all day planning meeting, art build and action walk through. It was an intersectional crowd with first time action takers in their late teens and twenties, and experienced grandparents who’d planned or participated in hundreds of direct actions before. Our friend Eric took amazing photos so you can see how it looked.

With our plans made, our art painted I shot everyone a quick email asking for donations and cued it to send the next day while I was at the action. It’s a good thing I did because Monday was BUSY!

We were just one of more than 100 organizations that endorsed the Cuomo Walk the Talk action, and every group brought something to the action. One of the biggest was busses: more than 1500 people came on 19 buses from Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, Rochester, Elmira, Caroline, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, Oneonta, Binghamton, Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and Ithaca. Together we formed a massive crowd, too big for the sidewalks we were permitted to hold and pressed in close to  hear Karenna Gore, Tim DeChristopher (Fresh from their necessity defense win in Massachusetts last month) speak alongside frontline community leaders from Sheridan Hollow. Sheridan Hollow is a frontline EJ community in Albany that is home to a power plant that used to burn trash. Now, Cuomo wants to convert it to a fracked gas powerplant, deepening the city and the region’s reliance on fossil fuels.

From the opening rally, we marched just under a mile to the Statehouse lead by beautiful art, two brass bands, and a whole lot of energy for our 3 demands — ending all fracking infrastructure, moving to 100% renewable energy, and making polluters pay, where we heard some more from young leaders like Lee of Sane Energy and Patrick of New York Communities for change. They fired up the crowd (tired from walking the last few blocks up a steep hill) and then lead people inside to rally in the only public space big enough to hold our crowd. More great photos from Eric here.

But it was at that moment that our “red team” split off from the main rally. Instead of going to the staircase, we headed directly for the Governor’s office. In the “war room”, decorated with murals of New York’s conquests in war, we sang and unfurled a giant sun-shaped banner that exactly covered the state seal on the floor. Then we marched for the Governor’s office, but the State police literally shut the door in our faces: locking the glass door from the main stairwell to the “hall of Governors” that leads to Cuomo’s ceremonial action. The message from Cuomo was clear: when it comes to demands that he Walk the Talk on climate, he doesn’t want to hear it.

But we weren’t taking no-answer for an answer. So 55 people including friends from BXE, Sane Energy, NYCC, and Food and Water Watch, sat down and refused to leave until Cuomo met our demands: ending all fracking infrastructure, moving to 100% renewable energy, and making polluters pay.

I was especially moved by the action that Kim and the team from Sane Energy had devised: Each of the 55 arrestees sat down on the floor, and one by one read a short statement on why they were there, which they’d also written on piece of red ribbon. Many people talked about the need to protect their children and grandchildren; some young people talked about the uncertain future their generation faces; and more than one person paid homage to David Buckel, a civil rights lawyer and environmentalist who set himself on fire to protest fossil fuel use, after leaving a suicide note nearby. After each person read their statement, they tied themselves to their neighbor with the ribbon – so that they were literally bound together by their stories.

It was a powerful action, and we were delighted to be able to support it by supporting several of the BXE arrestees and live-streaming the action on facebook where thousands of people watched along. Here’s a short video 350.org made of the action:

And here’s the Livesteam of the whole 3 hour long action.

The next day, I jumped in a car with a few of the BXE folks who’d been arrested and drove back to the DC-Baltimore area. But all 55 of the arrestees have to return to Albany next week for a court date. We’re raising money to send to Sane Energy, who coordinated the action and is making sure that everyone gets to their court date and stays free. If you can, please chip in to support this action and the ongoing support costs.

The hearing that should have Fired Pruitt

We were back in DC because Scott Pruitt was scheduled to testify before a congressional subcommittee. More than 225,000 Americans have signed on to demand Pruitt be fired after a wave of scandals – including many 198 methods members – and we wanted to make sure he felt the heat.

With leadership from Friends of the Earth, we created a carnival atmosphere outside the Rayburn congressional office building. FOE passed out fliers at every entrance, so there was no chance that any member of Congress or their staff could ignore our message that it’s time to #FirePruitt. And a team from several organizations waved signs, danced in a giant Pruitt head and generally had a good time making Scott Pruitt look ridiculous.

Pruitt however, did not look amused as he jogged past our protest. So it was a good thing Lukas from FOE recognized him and shouted a question about his corrupt, climate denying tenure as Trump’s EPA administrator.

The reception inside was not much better: as members of Congress sharply questioned Pruitt on how he broke the law to spend more than $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth for his office, more than $143,000 on first class flights (often back to his home state of Oklahoma), more than $3 million on a massive security detail he didn’t need and gave more than $100,000 in raises to his friends, in direct defiance of White House guidance.

But Republicans went easy on Pruitt. Infamous climate denier Joe Barton of Texas told Pruitt he was “not the first victim of Washington politics.” And it was at that moment that the real action happened:

As Pruitt tried to explain away his sweetheart deal to rent a fossil fuel lobbyists’ condo for $50 a night I was part of a team of activists who raised signs that read “Mr. Corruption.” For a moment, you couldn’t even hear Pruitt’s answer over the sound of the press corps’ shutters furiously clicking away. I was I was lucky to get a seat right behind Pruitt, so my sign was clearly visible on the Cspan live stream carried live on several networks.

Friends of the Earth Fire Pruitt Rally

Pruitt stammered on for a moment, until Chairman of the committee told everyone that if they held up signs or displayed any t-shirts with writing on them, they would be arrested.

Drew asks Dems to walk the talk by firing Pruitt

I didn’t want to get arrested, but a minute later another Republican was praising Pruitt for rolling back clean car standards and inspections on refineries, and I couldn’t take it. I put on my oversized “Impeach Pruitt” shirt over my suit, stood, and slowly shuffled out of the hearing. Lucky for me, the Capitol police decided not to press the issue further – and while they banned me from the rest of the hearing, I was not arrested.

Although i was thrown out, Pruitt stayed on Capitol Hill for a second hearing, where he continued twisting the truth and defending the Trump Administration’s racist, climate denying policies. While I stood outside in the hallway with Erich Picah and staff from Friends of the Earth,  several staffers for Democratic members of Congress thanked us for speaking out – and today, the papers are full of pictures from our action inside and outside the hearing room.

But it’s also become clear from Republicans’ weak questions and the tone of coverage on Fox News that Pruitt isn’t going to resign and Trump is less likely to fire him today than before the hearing. That doesn’t mean we’re giving up – it means it’s up to Congress to fire him, just as our petition asks.

I’ll be heading back to DC in 2 weeks to participate in another FOE-lead rally at the EPA, and we’ll have more surprises for Pruitt and team. Again, if you can, please chip in to support our travel and logistical costs (Drew helped recruit, transport and house several people for the action at the hearing, and will plan to do so again in May.)

What’s it all about?

Both actions this week had a similar theme: Confronted with a Trump administration that denies climate science and does the bidding of the Fossil Fuel industry, we need local leaders and Congressional Climate Hawks to take bold action on climate change.

But too often we get climate peacocks like Cuomo: politicians who talk a good game about how they care about climate change and support renewable energy, but also “frack us in the back” to quote Lee Z from Sane Energy at the Albany action. It’s the same story in Congress, where more than 140 lawmakers from BOTH parties have called on Pruitt to resign, but not one of them, yet, has introduced binding legislation to remove him or called for his impeachment.

That’s why we use digital tools to support direct action campaigns. By raising the stakes – with a sit in outside Cuomo’s office and standing up in an impeachment t-shirt at Pruitt’s hearing – we demand more than talk from our leaders, and we show that we’re not going to be placated with happy talk about solar power or “believing in climate change.” And by broadcasting these actions online, and providing ways for you to sign on in support with internet petitions, call in actions, and more – we expand the reach of those actions and share the stories that inspire us with a much larger audience.

Just like at the Albany action, where activists were literally and figuratively tied together by their stories, 198 methods uses digital tools to tie our direct actions for the climate together with a bigger, more powerful community. 

If you value that connection, or want Drew to keep traveling to more actions (maybe in your town next time!) to deliver support, risk what others cannot, and bring you back recordings, live streams and online actions you can take in solidarity – please chip in to support our work.

UPDATE: The Mercer Family caught again

Days before the 2016 election, a shadowy group called called Secure America Now made an “Islamic States of America“ ad imagining that Syrian refugees had overtaken America. It shows the iconic Hollywood sign changed to say “Allahu Akbar,” the Statue of Liberty wrapped in a burka and Ground Zero in New York City as place where citizens can “celebrate our Islamic victories.​”

It is, without a doubt, some of the most hateful, racist, Islamaphobic stuff I’ve ever seen.

You’ve probably never seen this ad, or heard of the far-right neoconservative nonprofit that paid for it. And that’s exactly how Secure America Now wanted it. They have no employees or volunteers, and their mailing address is a D.C. law firm. But group, had millions of dollars in funding. And they used those vast resources to run this hateful garbage on Facebook and Google with precise targeting to voters in swing states.

Thanks to the researchers at Open Secrets.org, we know that most of the money came from Robert Mercer and the Mercer family. If Mercer’s name sounds familiar, it might be because he and his daughter Rebekah are at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which exploited the Facebook data of almost 100 million people to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election. We told you about the Mercers last month, and thousands of you signed on to this petition demanding Rebekah resign or be removed from the American Museum of Natural history.

If your disgusted and outraged by this latest scandal, here’s three quick ways to help:

  1. Sign the petition, if you haven’t already, to kick Rebekah Mercer out of the American Museum of Natural History. Racist, corrupt, climate deniers have no place in our public science museums.
  2. After you sign, or if you already have, share the petition on Facebook, Twitter or email friends a link to this post to spread the word.
    1. Share on Facebook
    2. Share on Twitter
  3. Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign. We’re planning an event with partners to deliver all the signatures to the AMNH next month and we need your support to fund travel, materials, and other logistical costs. We’ll have more info as the action plan develops.