Duke Energy is seeking approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for a $290.8 million rate hike. If approved, the electric bill of a typical residential customer will rise by nearly $100 a year — all to pay for more dirty power, fracked gas, and pollution.
This is our chance to speak directly to NC Utilities Commissioners, the ones who oversee and regulate Duke Energy. They need to know how raising rates affects our climate and communities, especially people on fixed incomes and struggling families trying to make ends meet!
The best way to show them is to show up! Join us at the Mecklenburg county courthouse to learn more and speak out against Duke Energy’s Dirty Energy Rate Hike.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
This really good thread and podcast discussion by The Hot Take co-founder Mary Annaïse Heglar makes the argument that it’s not hope, but resolve, action, and some other things that are necessary in this moment.
I agree with both parts: that we need more hope, and that the antidote to fear is not hope, but action and conviction in the face of uncertainty. If you agree and are able, I hope you’ll click here to donate.
As has become a tradition, I’m going to tell the story of where our climate and common home is at with a series of charts and graphs. Next week I’ll send you a year in photos so you can look back at some of what we’ve done this year.
The fires in the Rainforest are both a symptom of climate-fueled draught, and also a cause of the loss of Arctic Sea Ice; which in turn is contributing to slower circulation of the Atlantic ocean current; and on and on.
There are a lot of climate emergencies happening all over the planet, and none of them are un-connected. Wherever you are, you’re likely seeing impacts, and your local impacts and emissions are fueling the crisis somewhere else.
That emissions are still rising is probably not a surprise, nor is the fact that we’re not doing enough to combat the climate crisis. If we were, emissions would be going down, right? But the distance between what we need to be doing, and what we say we are doing is also getting wider.
So there it is – the state of the climate movement in 4 charts, and it is NOT good.
We’re approaching a series of interconnected ‘tipping points’ of climate chaos much faster than expected.
That’s because emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are still going up despite years of promises by the world’s governments to reduce them.
Most devastating, the gap between what we say we will do, what we need to do, and what we are doing keeps getting wider.
That U.N. report was described as “Grim,” “Bleak” and “drastic” when it came out. But it was not without hope. The authors of the same report on the ambition gap wrote that, “the political focus on the climate crisis is growing in several countries, with voters and protesters, particularly youth, making it clear that it is their number one issue.”
Next week I’ll be back with a photo and video year in review of some of the amazing work we’e been a part of this year – from challenging Trump’s corrupt, climate denying cabinet; to shutting down DC as part of the global climate strike; and much much more.
Wanted to let you know about a series of upcoming actions in North Carolina to fight back against climate change. There are forums in Charlotte, and other cities this week, and a big march this Saturday, Nov 16, in Robeson County. Check out the details below, or click here to see all the events listed at our Facebook page.
Next up, join us Saturday, Nov 16, at the MARCH FOR JUSTICE in Robeson County, NC.
Piedmont Gas (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy) is proposing to build a one-billion-cubic-foot Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and processing facility in Robeson County. This is a predominantly indigenous (Lumbee) community within an 8 mile radius of the ACP route, creating a greater risk of explosions, leaks and accidents. And it is 4 miles from the town of Maxton, a predominantly African American town, creating more racism, pollution and perpetuating decades of Environmental In-Justice.
We’re teaming up with a big coalition of local and national groups to oppose the storage facility. And on Nov 16 we will walk together in celebration of our sacred lands and waters.
Here’s the short version of how we got here: FERC has seen record turnover since Trump was elected. With the departure of Democratic Commissioner Cherly LaFleur earlier this summer, there are only three commissioners left, two Republicans and one Democrat). That’s barely enough for a quorum, and gives the last remaining Democrat, Richard Glick extra leverage to block votes or halt projects by refusing to participate.
At the same time, there’s been an explosion in protests and opposition to pipelines. Inspired by campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, activists have been rising up to resist fossil fuel infrastructure from coast to coast. We’ve been part of a number of those campaigns and I know you have been too. At the same time, our allies have been suing every pipeline they can to slow them down and stop the approval process. And in a few very important instances, the combination of those tactics – the lawyers suing and the people protesting – have combined to stop big projects like Keystone and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
And that’s where Danly comes in: Fossil fuel profiteers and their cronies in the Trump Administration can only win in court if they have regulators who ignore the lower courts. They’ve succeeded in firing or driving out thousands of civil servants at the EPA and Interior Department, and replaced them with lifelong fossil fuel cronies like Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt. Those guys were put in charge because they were corrupt, but not cartoonish, as their predecessors Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke had been.
On Tuesday, October 15th, the fossil gas myth busting roadshow is coming to Raleigh and you’re invited!
Join friends from Friends of the Earth U.S., NC Warn, Oil Change International, and 350 Triangle; as well as community leaders, local organizations, and students to discuss why the expansion of gas infrastructure is an environmental justice and climate disaster.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper claims to be a climate leader, but has been in the pocket of Duke, Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for years. We’ve been calling him out, and now it’s time to tell everyone why gas is not safe or clean, and why there’s nothing natural about fracking and fracked gas.
This panel will discuss the impact of gas projects on communities in North Carolina, and how local organizations are planning to stop gas in its tracks. The data is clear: Emissions from burning gas alone are enough to overshoot the Paris climate goals and we can’t afford more gas infrastructure.
Gov. Cooper’s fossil-gas agenda has been devastating, harming the health and environmental quality of communities in North Carolina and accelerating the false narrative that gas has a role in the transition to renewable energy. Fracked gas and new pipelines are indefensible. Cooper has no grounds for promoting its use in North Carolina – because we need to move away from ALL fossil fuels immediately, including gas.
Join us and an inspiring panel of speakers who will address several ways the development of gas can’t be justified in these times, specifically in North Carolina. Here’s a quick rundown of who will be speaking (check out the facebook invite for more details):
William J. Barber III is the strategic partnerships associate at The Climate Reality Project and currently serves as the co-chair for the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign Ecological Devastation committee.
Sherri White-Williamson currently serves as a board member of the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) in Duplin County, North Carolina.
Jorden Revels is the Student Government Vice President at the University of North Carolina at Pemboke and holds a position as the Associate Minority Serving Institution Representative for the UNC’s Association of Student Government.
Donna Chavis currently serves as Senior Fossil Fuels Campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S. and has over 40 years of service in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on the local, state, and national level.
Lorne Stockman is a Senior Research Analyst at Oil Change International, where he researches and analyzes developments in the North American oil industry.
Now, as the global week of action comes to a close with more than 7 MILLION participants world wide, and major actions all over the US, I want to say THANK YOU; And I want to remind you that this is the beginning of the fight we were built for, not the end.
So as you check out the amazing stories, photos and videos below, I hope you’ll agree that it is worth it to build a community dedicated to the support of non violent direct action for the climate – and chip in what you can to support us.
September 20, around the world, #Strike with us.
Friday September 20 we followed the lead of global youth and took to the streets as part of the largest coordinated international action on climate change, ever. There were more than 1000 events in the US alone, and a record 4 million+ people participated in the strikes.
Activists were back in the Streets of DC by Friday for a march through downtown DC. This time, we focused on a section of Northwest DC where the Trump administration’s corrupt relationship with corporations and polluters is most clear – with stops at the EPA and Trump Hotel, as well as fossil-fuel-financiers Blackrock and Wells Fargo. Our march specifically called for Trump’s impeachment, and an end to fossil fuel fascism. While at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congress continued its formal impeachment investigation of Trump’s corrupt polluter regime. Read more about it here.
Calling out NC Gov Roy Cooper’s Climate Hypocrisy.
So when Cooper showed up to claim credit as a climate hero by introducing a so-called Clean Energy Plan at a meeting of the NC Climate Change Interagency Council, we showed up to disrupt with old friends from the state.
The action was the next step in ongoing escalation to focus attention on frontline climate justice issues neglected by the Cooper Administration: Duke Energy’s fracked gas infrastructure development–including the ACP and MVP–and the increase in forest destruction being driven by Enviva.
Shut Down New England’s last coal plant #bucketbyBucket
The Merrimack Generating Station in Bow, NH, is the last big coal fired power plant in New England with no shut down date. It has polluted the air, water, and climate in New Hampshire for decades, but it still manages to steal millions of dollars in taxpayer in subsidies every year to keep running. So on Saturday, Sept. 28, we joined more than 300 activists from across new England to take matters into our own hands to stop climate chaos.
Nearly 70 people, including me, were arrested trying to enter the plant with shovels and buckets in hand. We were prepared to remove coal from the burn pile #BucketByBucket to literally pull fuel from the fires of climate change. Unfortunately, a large police presence including a helicopter, Drone surveillance and state police in riot gear prevented us from reaching the coal and we were arrested just a few hundred yards from our goal.
You remember North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper as the Democrat who promised climate action, but instead approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and colluded with Duke energy to mess with our communities and climate. Cooper is a leading example of the climate hypocrisy in the Democratic party.
Cooper’s latest swindle is his so-called Clean Energy Plan, which he’ll present later this week at a meeting of the NC Climate Change Interagency Council. Cooper’s latest plan is more of the same – flowery talk and platitudes wrapped around inaction on two of the biggest sources of climate pollution in North Carolina: fracked gas infrastructure and the wood pellet, or biomass, industry.
Governor Cooper recently made headlines and received high praise with the release of the state’s Clean Energy Plan. But until his administration stops approving new fossil fuel infrastructure and starts protecting our forests, we are calling him a climate hypocrite.
Washington, DC – For the past 30 years FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has voted in favor of 398 out of 400 applications for mostly fracked gas interstate pipelines and related projects. Fracked gas is at least 95% methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 100 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a 10-year period. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have 11 years left to avoid unstoppable climate catastrophe.
These facts are top of mind as FERC commissioners hold their next regular monthly meeting on July 18 – the last meeting for Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who is stepping down after eight years. Over her tenure she has moved toward considering the climate impacts of these fracked gas projects and has occasionally voted against them. But as recently as April, she voted to approve not one, not two, but three huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, which would super-charge fracking around the country as well as global methane emissions.
Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) and their allies held a press event outside the building at 9:30 AM to call on LaFleur to use her final meeting to stand on the right side of history, to throw aside her convoluted rationales that allow her to both call for consideration of climate impacts and to still approve these projects that will be spewing climate-and community-wrecking emissions for the next 40 years – well past the time the U.S. and the world need to transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy.
BXE will also announced the next steps in our campaign to transform FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission, as part of future Green New Deal legislation. In support of our call for LaFleur to vote to block new fossil fuel projects and FERC to transform into an agency dedicated to a just transition away from all fossil fuels Statements were read from a variety of impacted communities:
“Twice FERC had all the information necessary to make the correct decision to deny the Jordan Cove Energy Project.” said Deb McGee 350Eugene Volunteer/Director. “The only thing that has changed is that Green House Gasses in our atmosphere have risen to 415ppm, causing more extreme weather, more fires, and making every reason to deny the permit even clearer and more profound. If we are to survive we must build no new fossil fuel infrastructure! Keep it in the Ground!”
“After years of extreme storms, polluted water supplies and devastating fires, FERC has fueled climate change and poisoned our planet,” said Donna Chavis, senior fossil fuel campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “If we want to stop climate change, FERC should commit to a policy of no more fossil fuel infrastructure and put an end to projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”
“Three and one half years ago we learned that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cut our property in half with over 3,000 feet of 42 inch pipeline, coming within 600 feet of our home,” said Bill Limpert, who lives with his wife in a retirement home and property in Bath County, Virginia. “We have since learned that the 3M Scotchkote Fusion Bonded Epoxy 6233 coating used on the pipes for the ACP contains carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic properties. Manufacturer 3M states that this product degrades and chalks. FERC has said they are investigating this but that is not enough; they should issue a stop work order immediately for the ACP.”
“FERC continues to pillage our community in New York City and global climate health by approving more fracked gas infrastructure by facilitating rather than regulating,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project. “We are now facing yet another fracked gas pipeline, the Williams NESE pipeline, approved by FERC against the will of the community, and against our state law, and twice denied by our Department of Environmental Conservation, and without consensus of FERC commissioners, considering Commissioner Richard Glick’s dissent surrounding this pipeline’s approval. We understand that FERC won’t get paid unless they approve pipelines, and today, we are here to insist on a complete revision of an agency that is in charge of interstate energy infrastructure since the DNA of FERC is a captive agency controlled by the very industry its assigned to regulate. There is a national consensus from communities that we can never expect to see justice from FERC in its current form.”
“The State of Oregon and communities impacted by the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline are sending a strong message to FERC that they must consider the full climate impacts of a project before approval,” said Allie Rosenbluth, Campaigns Director at Southern Oregon-based community group Rogue Climate. “By standing up against new fracked gas projects and ensuring FERC considers climate before permitting new projects, Commissioner LaFleur has an opportunity to leave a climate legacy at the agency.”
“Not only is the Jordan cove project a thirty five year commitment to fossil fuels hobbling the change to clean energy but after 14 years the project still is terrorizing landowners like us.” said Larry and Sylvia Mangan, North Bend Oregon, landowners along one of the routes of the pacific gas connector. “A Canadian corporation should not be allowed to use eminent domain against US citizens for private gain.”
We’ve told you a lot about FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And there’s a good reason: for the past 22 years the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has voted in favor of 522 applications for fracked gas pipelines and infrastructure. It has rejected only two.
Fracked gas is at least 90% methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 100 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a ten-year period. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have 11 years left to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.
These facts are very relevant as FERC commissioners hold their regular monthly meeting on July 18. This will be the last meeting for Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur who is stepping down after eight years of approving nearly every application.
That’s why I’m headed to Cheryl’s last chance meeting. Can you back us up?
Call LaFleur at 202-502-8961 to tell her that we need all our elected leaders, and especially Democrats on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to oppose new fossil fuel projects.
LaFleur is not your typical commissioner. Over her tenure she has repeatedly argued in favor of considering climate impacts and has occasionally voted against projects. While we were disappointed when, as recently as May, she voted to approve not one, not two, but three liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals that would super-charge fracking and global methane emissions. And she did it while I was sitting on her roof asking her not to, that’s just plain rude.
That’s whey I wanted you to know that I’ll be at Cheryl LaFleur’s last FERC meeting in DC tomorrow, and will be delivering your comments and concerns alongside allies from Beyond Extreme Energy and other friends. We are calling on all FERC commissioners, but especially Cheryl LaFleur to vote NO on all dockets and to set a record of opposing fossil fuel projects because of their climate impacts that future commissioners can use.
Tomorrow we’ll post the press release, a video from outside the hearing, and other info you can use to keep fighting. Stay tuned!