Bad news & why we fight on

Bad news first: This week the Senate confirmed Kelly Craft to serve as Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying ambassador to the United Nations. The vote was mostly along party lines with only five Democrats betraying their principles, values and common sense vote for Craft.

There’s no upside to Craft being approved. But the vote frames two important reasons why we fight, and how we will fight on:

  1. It’s not our last chance to hold Craft accountable, and just like we fought the nominations of Rex Tillerson, Scott Pruitt, and Ryan Zinke – only to eventually get them to resign or be fired later – we need to keep at it until every member of this corrupt regime is impeached, removed, and gone.
  2. The five Democrats who voted for Craft – Sens. Maggie Hassan (NH.), Joe Manchin (WV.), Chris Murphy (CT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) – are still a problem, but they’re a vanishing breed. We need to keep pushing, and to hold these Democratic turncoats accountable.

So thank you to everyone who signed and shared and called and demanded action. We lost this battle, but the war for our future and climate goes on – and I believe that we can win.

If you believe it too, chip in $1.98 or more to support us, and we’ll lay out some of our plans and goals below the fold.

So, Kelly Craft, corrupt owner of coal mines and climate-denier-except-when-she-doesn’t is headed to the UN? Well, so are we. The next UN general assembly is just over a month away, and a lot of eyes will be on New York.

Greta Thunberg, the teenage campaigner whose started the global school climate strike movement is headed there by sailboat. And a global series of strikes and actions are planned for the week of September 20-28, right when Craft will be showing up to work at the UN.

More updates and details are coming soon – this week in fact. So stay tuned for updates and if you can, chip in $1.98 or more to support our organizing.

Just as important, Congress is home in their districts for the next 6 weeks. If you live in NH, WV, CT, NH or AZ, make sure to contact your Senator at a town hall meeting or public forum and tell them you’re sick and tired of Democrats enabling Trump’s climate-wrecking agenda.

Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, two other famously corrupt Trump cronies who eventually resigned or were forced out, received only one or two Democratic votes in confirmation. Which makes Craft’s confirmation a troubling sign of back-sliding in the party.

As this excellent article from Dave Roberts at Vox points out, it’s becoming a bit of a fashion for Democrats to pledge big changes and actions on climate change, but always just far enough in the future that they never have to be held accountable.

They may think they’ve found a way to talk big on climate without any action or consequence, but we know better. Craft’s nomination was hustled through because she’s a long time donor and friend of Mitch McConnell. But when we’ve had more time to organize opposition – like against Barry Myers, or Trump’s climate denying FERC nominees – we’ve shown that we can be effective.

So if you’re game to keep fighting every nomination, every time, and deprive Trump of his enablers, chip in $1.98 or more and help us keep fighting.

Like I said, there’s no silver lining to Craft being confirmed. A corrupt, climate-denying UN ambassador is just a terrible idea, and even worse in practice. But we’ve got more opportunities to fight coming up soon, and when we fight, we can win. I hope you’ll stay in this fight for our climate and common home with me.

UN Fit to lead. Stop Kelly Knight Craft nomination.

UPDATE – Bad news: As expected the Senate Foreign relations committee voted to approve Kelly Craft to be UN Ambassador despite her being a corrupt, UN-qualified, climate denier.

Even more disturbing, Three Democrats — Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Chris Coons and Chris Murphy— joined every Republican to approve her, despite the fact that she spent most of her time as Canadian Ambassador abandoning her post to spend time in Kentucky and Oklahoma, where she and her husband own several coal mines.

It’s bad enough that Craft is headed to the full Senate for Confirmation this week, where her old friend Mitch McConnell will try and ram through her nomination as a pay-back for all the dirty coal money she’s donated to Republican campaigns. But to think that Democrats might enable the Trump team’s lawless, corrupt, climate denying administration again after all we’ve seen in the last two years. Well, it makes me so mad I could spit nails.

But it hasn’t happened yet – if you haven’t already, please sign here to tell the Senate to reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination, she’s UN-fit to represent us at the United Nations. Then, use the share tools below, and/or call your Senator right away at (202) 224-3121 and tell them that Craft is UN-fit to represent us at the United nations.

UPDATE – Mitch McConnell is trying to force a vote on Craft’s nomination this week. This. Is. A. Terrible. Idea.But,…

Posted by 198 Methods on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Donald Trump has nominated Kelly Knight Craft, the wife of coal baron whose family still owns coal mines and is a major Republican donor, to be our next ambassador to the United Nations. This. Is. A. Terrible. Idea.

I don’t have to tell you that The United Nations (UN) is an essential partner in the global fight to stop climate chaos. The UN is the arbiter of the Paris climate agreement, and has unique leverage over the nations of the world to cut pollution and steer us toward a more just and sustainable future.

Kelly Knight Craft is a coal baron, a friend to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, and was given the plum assignment of US Ambassador to Canada basically because she has given a huge amount of money to Republican candidates and causes, including Trump. While serving as US Ambassador, she has frequently violated ethics rules and mores to a shocking (even in the Trump era) degree – skipping work at an alarming rate and charging taxpayers for expensive private jets. In one instance, an email from the EPA to Ambassador Craft was replied to by her husband, coal magnate Joseph Craft.

Sign here to tell the Senate to reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination, she’s UN-fit to represent us at the United Nations.

No only is Craft a corrupt swamp-monster with a financial stake in pollution, she’s a fair-weather Climate Denier. She previously claimed that she believes in “both sides of the science” when it comes to the climate. But in an attempt to salvage her nomination before the US Senate, she claimed to believe the science and called for action.

Oh and, not that it matters to the Trump team, but she’s wildly unqualified. UN Ambassadors have to negotiate and represent us every day with dozens of countries and heads of state. But Craft has virtually no diplomatic experience. She had a symbolic post under President George W. Bush and 18 months as US Ambassador to Canada.

And yet, as much of the country swelters under a record-setting heat wave, Congress will return next week and consider Craft’s nomination for a THIRD time. We’ve already seen what Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO, did when given a chance to lead the state department. Or what Andrew Wheeler, a formal coal lobbyist, has done with leadership at the EPA

We deserve a UN Ambassador who will support solutions to climate change, believes in the importance of humanitarian aid, and will be at least physically present to make important decisions on the world stage.

Sign the petition: Demand the Senate reject Kelly Knight Craft’s nomination.

Stop Jordan Cove

Our next big fight with Trump and his fossil fuel cronies is coming to a head this week in Oregon.

Jordan Cove is a proposed gas terminal in Oregon that would be responsible for more than 36 million tons of global warming pollution. It would be fed by the Pacific Connector pipeline, which will require a 95-foot-wide clear-cut through southwest Oregon’s forests and farms.

In May the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) pipeline denied the Clean Water Act permit for this dirty and dangerous project. But that’s exactly the kind of state permit that Trump hopes to overrule with his pro-pipeline executive orders. Trump’s executive order is only triggered if a federal agency says yes after a state agency has said no, and that brings us back to, you guessed it, FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

FERC is reviewing Jordan Cove now, and their comment period closes this week. We’ve got a plan to deliver all the signatures on this petition at their next meeting in DC. Can you sign on now to say you oppose Jordan Cove and all fracked gas infrastructure?

It’s a showdown in the Pacific Northwest between our movement to stop fossil fuels and climate change, and the Trump team and their dirty power grab. But this isn’t event the first time – Jordan cove has been proposed two other times, in 2005 and 2013, and we’ve defeated it before. That’s how we know we can win.

And we have to win: Jordan Cove and the connected Pacific Connector Pipeline would cut through private and public lands — including traditional hunting and fishing areas important to local tribes. All to deliver fracked gas, a global warming pollutant up to 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, for export.

But even elected officials like Governor Brown, Congressman Defazio and Senator Ron Wyden, who claim to believe in climate science and support a Green New Deal, have been slow to come out against Jordan Cove. These are the things that give us trust issues and led us to run whole campaigns critiquing the Green New Deal RESOLUTION for not saying the words “fossil fuels”, “Pipelines” or “exports”.

The IPCC and the Trump Administration’s own National Climate Assessment give us less than 12 years to make massive changes in our economy and energy sector before we face devastating and irreversible climate chaos.
Politicians at FERC and in Congress need to act now on a Green New Deal that invests in renewable energy and puts communities on the front lines of environmental destruction at the center of the solutions. There isn’t a moment to waste on Jordan Cove and other gas export terminals and pipelines, as we’ve been telling them for months.

Now, it’s time for our leaders to choose. Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector would be a climate disaster. Sign now to tell FERC to #StopJordanCove and all LNG exports.

Trump appointees at FERC are reviewing Jordan Cove’s application now. They’ve already held public hearings across Oregon, which mostly tried to ignore the overwhelming public opposition. That same blind ignorance has led them to approve several new gas export facilities in the last few weeks and is why acting FERC chair Neal Chatterjee expressed enthusiastic support when the Trump Administration’s touted gas exports as #freedomgas.

And if FERC rules against Oregon’s communities, tribes and climate they can use eminent domain enforced by armed federal marshals to seize Oregon Tribes’ and landowners’ property.

This is a dangerous moment – and our elected officials, including our senators and members of Congress, need to stand up to Trump and his fossil fuel agenda. Sign now to make sure they get the message and say NO to Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline NOW.

24 hours to Grill FERC commissioners

URGENT! The Energy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Commitee has scheduled a hearing on June 12 to compel all four commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to testify. While neither the public nor industry officials are invited to testify, this is a great chance to Crack FERC open by asking the Commissioners about “freedom Gas,” their disagreements over whether and how to evaluate the climate impacts of projects, and the massive buildout of new fracked gas pipelines, compressor stations, export terminals and more.

Can you help by Sending a comment to the Subcommittee? We’ll deliver all your comments and signatures to the Commitee before Wednesday’s hearing, and if you want – we can text or email you when the hearing starts so you can tune in live.

Here’s some background for those of you haven’t been fighting FERC for years:

FERC is a rubber stamp agency that has rejected only two applications out of more than 400 proposed natural gas pipelines/infrastructure projects in the last 30 years. We’ve been protesting FERC and their commissioners for years – and even climbed two stories up a ladder to drop a banner from FERC’s awning this spring to demand Congress change FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission, as part of a Green New Deal.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, to start with, Fracking contaminates water, poisons the air and land, leads to earthquakes and leaks methane, which is up to 80 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide.

Now is the moment for Congress to act: According to new research, more than 700 new natural gas power plants, petrochemical plants & LNG export terminals have been proposed, planned or built to capitalize on skyrocketing fracked gas production. With just 12 years left to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a just transition as fast as we can. But if the frackers get their way, it’s game over for a stable climate. It’s them or us.

Another recent report provides five clear reasons gas is not a bridge fuel to a safe climate:

  1. Gas breaks the carbon budget;
  2. Coal-to-gas switching doesn’t cut it;
  3. Low-cost renewables can displace coal & gas;
  4. Gas isn’t essential for grid reliability;
  5. New gas infrastructure locks in emissions.

But despite the mounting evidence that Gas is a climate disaster, the Trump Administration’s has been issuing Executive Orders and EPA guidance that make it clear they intend to override state objections to new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Some FERC commissioners, especially Richard Glick, have been raising objections. And more than a year ago we pointed out that there were “cracks” developing between commissioners – namely that the Democrats wanted to do more to consider climate impacts and address them, and Republicans refused.

But in the last few weeks things got … weird. After FERC approved another gas export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico (the specific thing we were begging them NOT to do from their awning), Rick Perry and the Department of Energy put out a statement praising fracked gas as “molecules of Freedom.”

While that was so stupid it’s hilarious, it wasn’t satire. This is the actual policy of the United States Department of Energy. And the very next day Acting FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee tweeted his support and made a whole statement to the press about how he has always supported gas exports at any cost.

You could chalk it all up to another corrupt Trump nominee saying stupid and ridiculous things, but with FERC overseeing dozens of applications for new gas pipelines and export terminals, Chatterjee is singularly placed to implement Trump’s fossil fuel vision. And we should be really clear what that means: increasing gas exports means increased fracking and pipelines, which means more cancer, more earthquakes, more explosions, more eminent domain seizures enforced by armed federal officers. It means people die, and get hurt, and treaties get violated, and women disappear or are murdered. That’s what it means, that’s the consequence of this.

So yes “freedom gas” is a hilariously dumb idea, and yes it’s real. But mostly it is the policy of U.S. Department of Energy to hurt you, steal from you and/or kill you and call it freedom. And the chairman of FERC is now signed on to enact that policy.

Sign here to make sure Congress asks FERC about these new reports, their record of approving climate-wrecking gas projects, and holds them accountable.

Barry Myers is a NO for NOAA

Once again, Trump has nominated Barry Myers, a totally unqualified, wildly corrupt businessman accused of sexual harassment to lead a major climate change research agency.

This is actually Myers THIRD time being nominated. But while the idea hasn’t gotten any better, the Senate is rushing his nomination through without so much as a committee hearing – which might indicate they intend to install another Trump loyalist before anyone notices.

Here’s the short version – Trump nominated Barry Myers to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) because he’s the CEO of AccuWeather – a private forecasting company you might know from annoying pop up ads on your phone. But Myers isn’t a scientist, and while at AccuWeather he spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress to dumb down NOAA research and stop them from giving away weather and climate data for free. Oh, and like Trump, Myers’ entire business is under investigation for a pervasive culture of sexual harassment that went all the way to the top.

Before it’s too late, will you sign here to tell the Senate to reject Barry Myers, Trump’s corrupt, unqualified and sleazy NOAA nominee?

NOAA is an important agency in the fight against climate change. They maintain a fleet of satellites, fly planes into hurricanes, and most important they share all the temperature and weather data they gather with scientists and the public for free. Their research and data has formed the backbone of big parts of our National Climate Assessments and global reports on the increasing pace and severity of climate change.

But Myers is no scientist. He’s the former head of AccuWeather, a for-profit weather prediction company that makes money selling forecasts to consumers on their phones, computers and TVs. As such, Myers spent years and millions of dollars on a quixotic and (thankfully) unsuccessful lobbying campaign to make Congress force NOAA to stop giving away climate and weather data for free.

Obviously, putting a guy who spent years trying to privatize and abolish a government agency in charge of that same agency is a terrible idea — though not a new one from Trump, see also David Bernhardt and Andrew Wheeler. That’s why the Senate blocked Myers’ nomination multiple times in the past.

Since then, Myers has sold his share of AccuWeather to his family, but even that looks shady: Not only is it reminiscent of Trump’s kids running his business (clearly still at his direction and to his personal benefit) while he’s in office, Myers sold his shares at a deep discount with the option to repurchase the stock later. It’s an obvious conflict of interest that he can personally benefit from his actions as head of NOAA, and it’s the sort of thing that would only happen in an Administration as famously corrupt as Trump’s.

And finally, it’s worth remembering that while Myers ran the company AccuWeather was home to sexual harassment “so severe and pervasive, that some female employees resigned,” according to a Department of Labor. Myers tried to make the issue go away by settling with survivors last year, admitting that AccuWeather subjected women to “sexual harassment and a hostile work environment” that the company did “not exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct.”

The pattern is clear. Trump has nominated another corrupt, unqualified business man with a history of sexual harassment and hostile workplace investigations to lead an agency with an important mission for researching and stopping climate change. The Senate already failed to stop former oil and gas lobbyists from running the EPA and Department of interior. Let’s make sure they stop this one from running NOAA too.

Sign here to tell the Senate to reject Barry Myers, Trump’s corrupt, unqualified and sleazy NOAA nominee.

UPDATE: Disaster relief bill passes Congress

Thanks again for signing our petition asking Congress to pass climate-disaster relief for Puerto Rico and all Americans. Good news – thanks to your voice and the voices of more than 70,000 others – Congress voted this week to concur with the Senate’s changes and send the $19 billion disaster relief bill to Donald Trump.

But 58 Republicans still voted against the disaster relief package, insisting to the end that it exclude aid for Puerto Rico and include funding for Trump’s racist border wall. Trump, meanwhile, is galavanting around England and on Monday seemed confused about whether the Senate had already passed the bill (they did, 2 weeks ago).

One more time before Trump gets home, can you share this petition and encourage your networks online to demand Trump support climate-disaster relief for ALL Americans including Puerto Rico?

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Or, just forward this email

The House passage is a big victory because it’s the first time in months Congress has put aside partisan bickering to address the unprecedented climate disasters rocking America – from Puerto Rico still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, to the record-setting floods in the midwest that are still disrupting planting season.

But Trump didn’t just forget about which chamber had already voted on the bill – he also forgot that he’d spent months railing against disaster funding in racist, fact-free ways. As soon as he remembers or one of those 58 Republican Trump supporters reminds him, his signature is not guaranteed.

It’s also important to put this victory in context. We started this campaign with Daily Kos, 350 dot org, Power 4 Puerto Rico and other allies because Trump was singling Puerto Rico out to not get disaster funding. Congressional negotiators were successful in getting the total aid to Puerto Rico increased from $600 million to $900 million – that’s a 50% increase over the objections of the President and nearly a third of all Republicans in the House of Representatives.

But Puerto Rico, and a lot of American Communities, need a lot more help. Our coalition estimates that Puerto Rico needs closer to $1.5 billion in relief funding – almost twice what Congress approved this week. And with midwest flooding continuing to slow planting season in the midwest, it’s likely we’ll need more aid there too before the summer is over.

The point is, in a climate changed world, it’s never been more important to demand that Congress and the President take urgent action to help Americans hit by climate-fueled storms, fires and other disasters.

This week’s vote in Congress is a good step, and a clear indication of teh work we still have to do. First, let’s make sure Trump doesn’t screw this up this progress for Puerto Rico and other communities. Then we need to keep fighting for the changes we need that will protect us all from the next climate disaster.

Just a reminder, the 2019 hurricane season started this week. Thanks for signing, please share this message to engage your networks online and spread the word. And stay tuned for more actions you can take soon.

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.

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.

Talk about the Green New Deal, not this Senate vote

Let’s get one thing clear about this week’s Senate vote on a Green New Deal: Mitch McConnell is a twerp.

The resolution that was voted on this week was not the non-binding Green New Deal resolution introduced by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which we’ve talked. a lot. about.

That resolution would need to be referred to committee, where it would have committee hearings and consideration and debate – the kind of stuff that might address the concerns we and others have raised about banning fossil fuels, stopping pipelines, and the like. It also would give time and space to fill in details that are missing.

McConnell doesn’t want that debate, so he introduced this binding resolution making “it is the sense of the Senate” that the Green New Deal should become “the policy of the United States.” Like I said, he’s a twerp.

But Whatever McConnell’s shady motivations, this week’s vote was a slap-in-the-face loss to the climate community. The vote was 57-to-0, with 4 Dems, 1 Independent and every Republican voting “no” and all other dems voting “present.”

That’s especially galling because the oil, gas, & coal industries contributed more than $55 MILLION to senators who voted “no” on the #GreenNewDeal resolution – 11x more than to those who voted “present”.

It’s also hard to swallow because after 3 months of a new Congress, thousands of media stories, hundreds of lobby visits, sit ins, protests, and press conference galore we’ve actually managed to convince a majority of Americans that this is a crisis worth tackling – and tackling this way.

Which is why I’m sticking to my guns on this 198-methods strategy: We need outside action, especially direct action, that slows or stops the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure. AND we need an inside-strategy that presses politicians and regulators to take actions (like a real, fossil-free, Green New Deal), because only big policy solutions will change the dynamic fast enough.

What’s the big deal?

Don’t get me wrong, the Green New Deal has re-shaped the debate on climate change and gotten politicians to talk about the scope and severity of the crisis in a serious way for the first time in a long time.

But the conversation is still stuck in false assumptions that will not keep fossil fuels in the ground or address the systemic racism and injustice of sacrifice zones. In the House of Representatives (outside Mitch the twerp-turtle’s jurisdiction), at least 3 committees are considering climate legislation. But all those bills, and even the actual resolution from Markey and AOC still talk about “net zero emissions” or set the timeline to end fossil fuels and nuclear power way too far in the future (like 2050 or later).

And I’m not just being a stick-in-the-mud: The decision to leave fossil fuels and nuclear on the table in the Green new Deal is shaping the 2020 conversation already: Beto O’Rourke said he supports a Green New Deal, and fracked gas, when Friends of the Earth questioned him in New Hampshire. A few days later, Sen Cory Booker said “I already support the Green New Deal. This resolution of bold vision is what we need. … And I agree with you. Nuclear has to be part of this solution.”

As a side-note, Booker was at a South Carolina town hall meeting organized by CNN that night. If he’d read the local paper, he might have seen that a few miles away another nuclear waste site was caught leaking tritium into the ground water in Barnwell, SC.

If we leave fossil fuels and nuclear on the table, what we’re really saying is that we’re ok with sacrifice zones. Because if we don’t start phasing out dirty energy NOW then they will keep building them, and people will keep getting sick, having their land stolen, and worse.

The 5 biggest oil companies (BP, Exxon, Shell etc) are planning to spend $110 BILLION on new oil & gas projects THIS YEAR (2019) & just 3% as much on clean alternatives.

Wall Street, the fossil fuel companies, the utilities, every single Republican in the Senate and a shockingly large number Democrats are committed to that same vision: another 20-50 years of drilling, spilling, pipelines, genocide, and ecological devastation.

So, now what?

The Senate vote was a sham and a stunt — not least of all because it distracted everyone (effectively) from the real action in the House where this week Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 9 . to keep the US in the Paris climate agreement.

Paris is not a panacea — It’s non-binding, like the AOC/Markey resolution. But it creates a framework to debate bills that have a lot more force and effect.

It’s like agreeing on the playing field, the rules, and saying that we’re in the game. We still need to do all the things to win (in this case stop climate change before it kills us all). And none of that will be possible if we slash our own achilles’ tendons — which is what building 12 new gas export facilities, millions of acres of fracking and drilling rigs, and millions of miles of new pipelines would do to our chances.

But, it’s a start. So this April we’re encouraging you to work on those two tracks: You can join a local Promise to Protect training stop and learn how you can turn up to stop the Keystone Pipeline, and stay tuned for updates on other actions targeting Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. At the same time, keep the pressure on Congress to keep debating climate solutions, and make sure they #KeepItInTheGround and say #nonukes as part of those solutions. A great action this week is to call your Senators and tell them to oppose Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist who is exactly as corrupt as you think he is.

Flooding can’t stop us, meet me in Ponca city

If you haven’t seen the photos of flooding in the midwest, you should. It’s one of the latest examples of how climate chaos is impacting people across America and around the world. This photo is from Nasa and shows the massive flooding in and around Omaha, NE (near where the Keystone pipeline is scheduled to be built).

But tons of communities across the midwest have been hit by this year’s floods – Including in Ponca, where we were planning a conference in May. The city and the Ponca people are ok, and the conference is still on. But it underscores that we need to do more than just look at the images of floods and fires that are the effects of climate chaos. We need to confront the causes of the crisis as well – and develop wholistic solutions that keep fossil fuels in the ground and build our power as people and as co-habitants in a global ecosystem.

That’s why I wanted to invite you to meet me in Ponca City, Oklahoma, May 16-18 for the Frontline Oil and Gas conference.

The conference will bring together hundreds of activists and impacted community members leading the fight against destructive oil and gas operations. There are also scholarships available to help activists get there and participate – but the first deadline to apply is coming up on April first. So make sure to visit the website and RSVP soon!

If you’re to learn about what other communities are doing to fight fossil fuels, meet inspiring community leaders, and learn innovative strategies that protect our land, air, water, and climate by recognizing the fundamental rights of nature — this is the place for you.

Not just another conference, this event is about building for frontline power.

As Ponca elder and conference founder Casey Camp Horinek says, “As a member of the Ponca Nation we are proud to host this event and tell our story, and give a platform for others to share, teach, and learn what we all can do to help each other change this cycle of illness and death due to fossil fuel industry not just in Oklahoma but around the world. Physically, mentally, spiritually we must create change for a better world for people and our planet, and for future generations. It is time to shed full light on the genocidal impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the people and all living things.”

Learn more about Mekasi Horinek and her work at the website of our partner, Movement Rights
Casey Camp Horinek at the Red Line action on the streets of Paris, during the UN Climate COP

The conference has an emphasis on innovative strategies led by indigenous communities, people of color and grassroots activists. There will be four learning tracks: indigenous, Rights of Nature, skills, and technical trainings. If you know anyone else who might be interested in participating please join me in spreading the word!

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