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.

Earth Week should be about real climate leadership

walk the talk on climateYesterday was Earth Day, and I’m sure you’re getting a million emails asking for money to “Save the Planet” and “stop the pipeline.” There are a lot of awesome groups out there doing great work, and I hope you support a few of them.

This email is a little different. It’s longer, for one thing, but that’s not what matters. What makes 198 methods different (we hope) is our approach. We use digital tools to support direct action campaigns that can really shift the paradigm on climate – moments when by upping the ante just a little bit, we think we can turn the tables on the whole fossil fuel industry.

There are two important examples this week that we’re supporting. Can you chip in to support us while we do? Here’s what we’re doing, because actions speak louder than words:

First, in Albany: We’re supporting the Cuomo Walk the Talk action. Even if you’re not from new York, it’s worth paying attention to – because it’s the latest in a series of campaigns including the occupation of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s office a few weeks ago, and the Brown’s Last chance campaign we’re supporting. All three (and lots of other great work) are aimed at getting Democrats who claim to be climate leaders to really step up. They also all have a common demand: 100% renewable energy, a ban on all fossil fuel infrastructure (especially fracked gas pipelines), and making polluters pay for wrecking our climate.

By Democratic Governors in multiple states like this, there’s a real chance to raise the bar on what it means to be a “climate hawk”. And that’s absolutely essential in this moment. With climate chaos intensifying all around us – Climate disasters cost $307 billion in 2017, more than the entire Republican tax scam and more than $4000/US family of four – It’s no longer enough to “support” renewables or “believe in climate change.” Real leaders in 2018 need to be taking bold actions to stop taking carbon out of the ground, stop transporting it to locations it can be burned, and start a massive and wholistic overhaul of our energy economy.

Tomorrow’s Cuomo Walk the Talk action could be the biggest milestone yet. It promises to be the biggest climate march in Albany’s history. And it lands at a really powerful moment when Cuomo is facing a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, who has a much more progressive platform on climate and clean energy, and has already rejected all donations from the fossil fuel industry. I’ve spent all day at the action camp planning a direct action component to this peaceful, powerful march and rally, and it’s going to be amazing.

Even better – if it works, Cuomo could be convinced to take one of the strongest stands on climate action in America, while he’s governor of one of the biggest states in America, and while he’s considering running for President of the United States Of America in 2020 (or as soon as we impeach Trump, read on). There are Two ways you can support this action:

  1. Follow the Hashtag #CuomoWalkthetalk starting at ~12pm Eastern tomorrow, April 22
  2. Check out the Facebook page for updates as well, Drew will post and share several live updates from the March, rally and the Direct Action.
  3. Chip in to support our work – after we cover the cost of the action (like our travel and food costs) we’ll donate all of it to the legal defense fund and local frontline groups in New York.

Cuomo walk the talk

That’s the most urgent news, but maybe not the biggest news this week.

Pruitt to testify April 26. More than 200,000 of us have already signed on to a petition demanding Scott Pruitt be fired for his corrupt, disastrous leadership of the EPA. Now there’s a new report out from the Government Accountability Office that Pruitt’s $43,000 booth actually broke the law. It’s just the latest in a series of scandals that could finally sink his leadership of the EPA, and deny Trump a key surrogate that he was grooming to help him end Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

This Thursday, Pruitt is scheduled to testify to a House Committee about that, and all his other scandals. I’ll be there along with Friends from Beyond Extreme Energy, Friends of the Earth and dozens of other partners. But it wont just be a standard DC rally:

We’re using Pruitt’s presence on the Hill to turn up the heat on Congressional Democrats, in particular – especially ones who claim to care about climate change and the EPA. For too long, these climate peacocks have sent letters expressing their “concern” or “demanding answers” from Pruitt about his outrageous spending, and even more-outrageous attacks on our environment and public health. But even as they’ve called him out and trumpeted their ‘resistance’ to Trump’s agenda, many of those same elected members of Congress have voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet — from Pruitt in 2017 to new climate-denying NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine last week. Not to mention the FERC commissioners who were confirmed on the same day as our action asking Democrats to lead on this issue last year.

Instead of more letters expressing concern, climate leaders in Congress should demand Pruitt be fired right now – and move to impeach him if Trump won’t do it. It’s the same basic process as impeaching a President to Impeach a member of his cabinet – and now that the GAO confirms Pruitt has committed a crime, it’s great practice as well!

That’s why later this week i’ll be in DC to support partners and allies taking action to Demand Congress do more than talk – that they actually take action by impeaching Pruitt.

I’ll send another update later this week with a wrap up on the Albany action and more ways to support the #FirePruitt day of action. For now, if you want to support our work:

  1. follow the #FirePruitt hashtag on social media
  2. Sign and share the petition, if you haven’t already.
  3. And chip in to support all our work.

You see the pattern: We need elected officials to do more than Talk: We need bold action to block Trumps nominees, ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, make polluters pay and move immediately towards a just transition to 100% Renewable energy. And this week, that’s what we’re all about.

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.

Tell Cuomo to Walk the Talk on Climate

In a time of record-shattering hurricanes, with Congress bought and sold by the fossil fuel industry, and FERC continuing to act as a rubber stamp for the gas industry —  many of us are looking to states and cities to fight climate change. But real leadership is hard to find. Take New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: he talks a good game on climate action – but we need more than words.

In the words of Bonnie Tyler, we need a hero: an elected leaders who’s fast, strong, and fresh from the fight against fossil fuels. Specifically, we need Governors like Cuomo who commit to the following 3 demands:

  • Stop all fracking infrastructure projects.
  • Move to 100% renewable energy.
  • Make corporate polluters pay.

That’s why on April 23rd, we’re teaming up with allies from across New York in Albany to tell Governor Cuomo to walk the talk on climate. There has never been a climate march this big at the Capitol in Albany, and free buses are available from across the region. All we’re missing is you! RSVP now to join us in Albany on April 23rd.


Governor Cuomo says he’s a “leader” on climate change; that it is “gross negligence” not to address climate change; and that he’s taken “decisive action.” But for all his talk, only 3% of New York’s electricity comes from wind and solar and fracked gas pipelines and power plants are being built across the state. We’ve stood many times before with allies at the Sane Energy Project, We Are Seneca Lake, STOP AIM, and other New York Groups. Now, those groups are asking us to stand with them as they take action in Albany

So, this Earth Day, it’s time for Governor Cuomo to walk his talk by:

  1. Stop all fracked gas infrastructure, including pipelines, power plants, and compressor stations. They poison local communities, and further shackle New York to decades more of dirty fossil fuels. If it’s dangerous to frack in New York, then it’s just as bad to import fracked gas from neighboring states.
  2. Move rapidly to 100% renewable energy, with a just transition that creates thousands of good, union jobs, and ensures resources are prioritized to those communities most vulnerable to climate change, especially low-income and communities of color. If Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey can commit to 100%, then so should Cuomo.
  3. Make corporate polluters pay for the pollution they dump into our atmosphere, which damages our health and destabilizes our climate. Then use the money to fund an equitable transition to 100% renewables.

We have the power to make all three of these things happen in New York, but it’s going to take absolutely all of us. RSVP today to join us in Albany for what will be the biggest climate march in our capital ever by our growing movement.

The event will start with an energetic, family friendly march to the Capitol and then pack the building with our collective power. I’ll also be working with some friends to participate in a civil disobedience action. More details on the day of the march will be available soon — RSVP at the link above to get all the details.

Brave climate leadership isn’t going to come from Washington. It’s going to come from us, if we step up and make our Governor work for the people and the climate. See you on April 23rd in Albany!

Sign here to Fire Pruitt as head of the EPA

It’s past time to fire Scott Pruitt, Trump’s head of the EPA. Whether he’s tearing apart climate change regulations or making it easier to spread toxic pesticides, Pruitt stands out as the most dangerous, and effective, members of Trump’s cabinet.

Fire Pruitt to save the EPAYour Representative can demand that Pruitt resign, and even fire him using the same impeachment process as for a President. But they won’t act unless and until we demand it.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with a host of other groups to demand Congress take action NOW. Will you sign on in support so we can deliver your name to Congress while the headlines are still fresh?

Pruitt’s been under fire for months over his bigoted, corrupt, and hurtful administration of our nation’s top Environmental Agency. But in the last week, it’s gotten really intense. The news has been so bad in the last week that when I confronted Republican Chair of the House oversight Committee Trey Gowdy (SC) — he of the Benghazi witch hunt — if he’d ask Pruitt to testify in his on-going investigation, Gowdy said “I’m not sure he’s going to make it that long. It gets worse every time there’s a report in the news.” (Scroll down to see the video my friend Elaine recorded)

Gowdy is already investigating Pruitt over reports that he has traveled first class on multiple trips. New scandals involve Pruitt giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in special raises to his favorite staff, in direct contravention of Whitehouse rules – and possibly lying about it in an on-camera interview with Fox news. That has had Congress seething and democrats, at least, demanding investigations. Pruitt is also under fire for getting a special deal from veteran D.C. lobbyists and longtime campaign contributors for a $50-a-night Capitol Hill Condo rental.

We’ve already seen that Trump will fire senior cabinet officials if they get caught in too big a scandal, or cross him publicly. Remember when Tom Price was fired for wasting taxpayer money on travel?

But Trump has already tweeted his support of Pruitt. And, even more frightening, is said to be considering Pruitt as a replacement for Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions, remember, has recused himself from the Russia investigation. But Pruitt is under no such constraints – and might immediately fire Robert Mueller or otherwise tamper with that on-going investigation in exchange for Trump overlooking all these scandals and promoting him to our country’s top law enforcement official. We simply can’t let that happen. Congress needs to take action, now.

And as my interaction with Gowdy last week shows, it’s possible that even the most conservative Republicans will take action, given the mounting evidence of Pruitt’s corruption and malfeasance. Sign here to demand Congress take immediate action to #FirePruitt.

Back to FERC with new demands

After almost a year without a quorum, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is back to it’s rubber-stamping ways with four new Trump appointees (three of them Republicans).

Since getting their quorum back, FERC has approved new pipelines, and considered several plans to subsidize coal, gas and nuclear over renewable energy. Thankfully, the rejected a ham-handed attempt by Secretary of (oops) Energy Rick Perry to charge ratepayers billions to subsidize the dirtiest energy in our electric grid. But, despite some groups already declaring victory, FERC’s rejection of Sec. Perry’s plan was not a repudiation of the concept.

And now, there’s a new threat: More than three months ago, FERC’s chairman said he wanted to re-examine the process by which FERC considers and (almost always) approves pipelines. Since then, FERC has been silent on how this review will work, and how the public can participate. But we got a clue to their thinking on March 15 when a three member majority — Chairman McIntyre and Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, all Republicans appointed by Trump — Signaled their intention to crack down on the number of people and groups allowed to formally intervene in pipeline applications. In fact, they specifically called out our allies at the Delaware River Keeper Network and warned them that “going forward…we will be less lenient in the grant of late interventions.” Commissioners LaFleur and Glick, both Democrats, dissented and expressed “serious concerns … particularly as it would apply to landowners and community organizations that lack sufficient resources to keep up with every docket.” But, as we warned Congress last year, their votes are not enough to matter.

Put simply, the three brand new Republicans at FERC, every one of them appointed by Trump, could be about to radically reduce public participation as part of a plan to ram through new fracked gas pipelines. Fortunately, our friends at BXE, Delaware River Keeper Network, and others are headed to FERC this week with a pre-emptive list of demands. They’ll be meeting with one of those Democratic FERC commissioners, and we hope the can hatch a plan together that will delay or disrupt this pipeline review.

Stop FERCSign here and we’ll deliver your comments in person on April 5 to one of the FERC commissioners.

FERC’s pipeline review protocols were last updated in a 1999 Pipeline Policy Statement  — well before the fracking boom. And while we don’t trust FERC to listen to the public or experts on climate, pollution, land rights, and other issues, the pipeline review gives us an opportunity to define what a functioning Federal Energy Regulator could look like.

With that in mind, our friends have put together a multi-point plan calling on FERC to hold no less than six public hearings in affected communities across the nation, as well as engaging in a robust and truly public comment period (not their usual sham). This week, allies will meet face to face with one of the FERC commissioners to deliver the list of demands, AND your comments. But you only have until Wednesday to sign on so we have time to deliver your name and comment! Click here to sign on to the list of demands below. Or click here to read the whole, longer letter with more footnotes and references.

Minimal reforms to the FERC process must include:

Dear FERC Commissioners

As a federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a duty to respect the law and respect the people of the United States of America. As citizens and residents who have experienced and witnessed the FERC decision making process and been impacted by its biased outcomes, we find FERC wanting in these obligations.

FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre announced on December 21, 2017 that FERC would be reviewing both its 1999 Pipeline Policy Statement and its policies on certification of natural gas pipelines. And yet, over three months later, we have no idea how, when or even if this review is actually proceeding and to what degree, if any, the public will be given the opportunity to be involved.

Given that we are unaware of when or how the public can and should give input into this review process, we are taking the liberty of ensuring our voices are heard by volunteering our demands with regards to this review process and the reforms that must come out of it.

  1. It is time that FERC Implement a Pipeline Review Process that Prioritizes the Public Interest Over the Goals of the Pipeline Industry. This Means Giving Proper Priority (i.e. Highest Priority) to People, the Environment, Protection Against Climate Changing Emissions and Protection of Future Generations in Both the FERC Review and Decision-making.
  2. Review and Reform of FERC’s Pipeline Review Process Must Begin with a Series of No Less than Six Public Hearings Held in Affected Communities, and 90 Days for Written Comment, So FERC Can Learn How the Current Process Is Failing and the Public Interest Reforms that Are Needed.
  3. FERC Must Mandate a Legitimate Demonstration of “Need” for a Proposed Pipeline/Infrastructure Project that is Verified by Unbiased Experts, Is Not Comprised of Contracts to Supply Gas to the Pipeline Company Itself or Any of Its Business Counterparts, and Is Not/Cannot be Supplied by Renewable or Existing Energy Sources.
  4. There Must Be a Prohibition on FERC Issuing (a) Certificates of Public Convenience or Necessity, (b) Notices to Proceed with Any Aspect of Construction, Including Tree Felling, and/or (c) Approval for Exercise of Eminent Domain, Until Such Time as an Infrastructure Project Has Secured All State, Federal and/or Regional Permits, Dockets and/or Approvals. This Includes a Prohibition on Conditional FERC Certificates.
  5. FERC Must End Its Strategic Practice of Failing to Affirmatively Grant or Deny Rehearing Requests, But Instead Issue Responses that Provide FERC More Time for Consideration (i.e. a Tolling Order), and as a Result Prevent Pipeline Challengers from Bringing a Legal Challenge in the Courts while FERC Grants the Pipeline Company the Power of Eminent Domain and Approval for Construction.
  6. FERC Must Prohibit the Practice of Hiring Third-Party Consultants to Assist in the FERC Review Process who Have Any Business Contracts (Past, Present or Future) with a Pipeline Company Seeking FERC Approval, and Must Prohibit FERC Commissioners or FERC Staff from Working on or Deciding upon Any Pipeline or Infrastructure Project in which They or a Family Member Have a Direct or Indirect Financial or Employment Interest.
  7. FERC Must End the Practice of Using Segmentation, Allowing Pipeline Companies to Break Up Projects into Smaller Segments in Order to Undermine a Full and Accurate Review of Community and Environmental Impacts.
  8. FERC Must Commit to a Full and Fair Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, Including Full and Fair Evaluation of Climate Change Impacts; Induced Fracking/Drilling Operations; Costs of Construction, Operation and Maintenance (not Just Benefits); Health and Safety Impacts; the Full Array of Community, Business and Environmental Impacts that Will Result; and that All Inaccurate, Missing, False or Misleading Data and/or Information Identified by FERC and/or Public Commenters Are Fully, Completely and Accurately Addressed.
  9. FERC Must End the Practice of Allowing Pipeline Companies to Secure a 14% Rate of Return on Equity on All New Pipeline Projects In Order to Ensure the Public Does Not Bear the Burden of Flawed Projects and to Ensure that FERC Does not Incentivize Inappropriate and/or Unwarranted Pipeline/Infrastructure Construction.

In conclusion, if FERC is serious about wanting a full, fair, and properly informed decision-making process for fracked gas pipelines, compressors, LNG export, storage and related infrastructure projects, it will commit to the process and substantive asks laid out in this letter.

Together, we can take action to disrupt or delay FERC’s pipeline review process. And if we succeed, we can create some space for communities on the frontlines fighting frackged gas pipelines to demand changes and a stop to construction. But only if we act fast, and together with our allies.

Sign here and we’ll deliver your comments in person on April 5 to one of the FERC commissioners. We’ll also keep you updated about our plans for a massive mobilization at FERC later this spring, and more ways you can get involved and support us!

PS – got a pipeline fighting group or local organization that wants to endorse the letter? You can sign on as an organization (instead of an individual) here.

Gas Pipeline image from National Parks Conservation Association

Not Guilty by necessity in West Roxbury

Earlier today (March 27) 13 defendants went into the west Roxbury District courthouse to answer charges related to their arrests protesting the West Roxbury (Mass) Lateral Pipeline.

We expected to have charges against them reduced to civil infractions — the equivalent of a parking ticket. While finding no grounds to deny that motion from the prosecution, the judge chose to let each defendant testify on the necessity of their actions. The defendants collectively presented a powerful and comprehensive argument for why they had a necessity to engage in civil disobedience to stop the imminent local and global harms of this fracked gas pipeline. Following their testimony, the judge acquitted ALL the defendants by reason of necessity.

While defendants were still denied a jury trial and the possibility of a full necessity defense, this was the first time (that we know of to date) that defendants were acquitted based on climate necessity. Since then the defendants have had a celebratory lunch together, and met to talk about next steps and future struggles.

We’ll have audio from the courtroom as soon as it’s available (in a few days), but in the meantime Climate Disobedience Center would love your help sharing this news:

  1. Join us tomorrow at 7pm for a live online discussion! Invite your friends and family to join us and learn more.
  2. Share this Facebook live video of all the defendants and their legal team on the steps of the courthouse just after the verdict.
  3. Or share this Twitter video about the same.

You can also read more about this campaign, the defendants and the necessity defense at the Climate Disobedience site here – they’re awesome.

photo by @Peter_Bowden