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.

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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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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