Dominion go home

This Friday the South Carolina Public Service Commission (SC-PSC) will meet to review, and are expected to approve, Dominion Power’s proposal to buy our local utility SCE&G.

Let’s be really clear, this is a bad deal for our people, and the planet. If the deal is approved, ratepayers will get a small discount (less than $22/month). In exchange, we have to keep paying for the VC Summer nuclear debacle for decades. And the Dominion has already let slip that they plan to expand the Atlantic Coast Pipeline into South Carolina and build a new generation of fracked-gas power plants that will poison our air and climate.

The SC-PSC and Dominion think South Carolina is whipped. After years of fighting the VC Summer plant, paying the highest electricity bills in the country, and living with corporate polluters — they don’t think we’ve got any fight left. They’ve got another thing coming. And this Friday, I’m going to tell them so, with your help.

I’m assembling a crack team of activists and experts from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. We’re going to the hearing Friday to set Dominion and the SC-PSC straight, and speak a little truth to their corporate-power-plan. If you’re in or near Columbia, please join us at 1pm on Friday the 14th.

If you’re impacted by Dominion – as a ratepayer or constituent in Virginia, A North Carolinian battling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, or a however you know them – Add your name and a comment about why Dominion is bad. We’ll try and read as many of the comments as we can at Friday’s hearing so the Press and public hear your story

Dominion initially offered SC ratepayers a $1,000 refund check, if they were allowed to buy SCE&G, but we would still have had to pay another $2.3 billion over 20 years. That scam was a little obvious ($1,000 back in exchange for $2.3 billion?!). So Dominion changed the deal. Their latest offer is to cut rates by about $22 a month, but it will still require us to pay more than $1,600 each for the reactors before the debt is paid.*

That’s a raw deal for ratepayers. But the deal is even worse for the planet and our climate. If allowed to buy the utility, Dominion is almost certain to expand their Atlantic Coast pipeline – a community and climate-wrecking disaster that is already $1.5 billion over budget and month’s behind schedule – into South Carolina. We’re a state blessed with tremendous potential for solar, wind and offshore renewable energy. Locking in a Dominion-owned fossil fuel projects for decades is like asking many South Carolinians to sign our own death certificate, and then pay for it in monthly installments.

The SC-PSC process has never been very accessible to the public. The last time the public was allowed to comment was in October, before the current deal was even known. Without our consent, the SC-PSC now proposes to force ratepayers to pay billions of dollars to a hostile, out-of-state corporation to wreck our climate, communities and common home.

If you’re as outraged as I am about it lend us your name and your story and we’ll read as many of them as we can at Friday’s hearing.

3 graphs, a photo from space, and a mission

Last year I wrote a great post about what’s really at stake with climate change, and why I was starting 198 methods to push the fight in the US. It’s still great, and you should go read it if you haven’t already. I sent it out as a fundraiser on GivingTuesday, and got some positive feedback.

This year, I didn’t want to send a Giving Tuesday email for two basic reasons:

  1. #GivingTuesday is kind of a scam. No shade to my brothers and sisters in the non-profit world;  They need your help, so if you found time and a little extra cash to donate to them, I hope you did so. But the whole thing was invented by professional fundraisers as a corollary to BlackFriday – an orgy of overconsumption and a key example of what we’re trying to change about American politics and society. It’s also deeply connected to and dependent on Facebook’s donation platform, which is a scam to get non-profits with strapped budgets to give them billions in advertising revenue while green-washing the reputations of some of the dirtiest corporations on the planet.
  2. There’s actually a lot happening this week – a major Trump Nominee moving through Congress, a fight over the future of the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, And the start of the 24 Conference of Parties talks about how to implement the Paris Climate Agreement and act on the UN’s recent climate report. To name just a few.

But there’s also some exciting new info to share from the last few weeks – so without further ado, here’s an updated take on why you should donate, the state of the climate movement, and why I think that world needs one more non-profit environmental group (this one) — all as told through 3 charts and a big picture. Check it out and if you like it, click one of the links below to donate – and if you’ve saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately:

One-click Donate: $1.98

One-click Donate: $19.80

One-click Donate: $198

Or donate another amount

Chart #1 it’s still bad

As you’ve probably guessed – the situation hasn’t improved much under the last 12 months of the Trump Administration. When Obama left office, we’d pledged to cut emissions 50% below 1990 levels. That was a good promise, but we weren’t on pace to do it. And that pace is nowhere near what was needed to keep us below the 2° Celsius goal of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump pulled us out of Paris in 2017, but the news actually got worse in the last few weeks when the UN released an updated projection confirming what we’d been saying all along – that we need to actually cut emissions MORE to keep us under 1.5° Celsius. And we need to do it FASTER hitting those decarbonization targets in the next 12 years to get us on pace.

Here’s an updated chart showing where we were last year, and where we are now:

climate goals graph updated

Chart #2 Still hotter too

Then, last Friday (right about the time everyone was getting their #GivingTuesday emails ready) the US chimed in with their second National Climate Assessment. Again, the news here is bad, but not new. Despite the Trump administration’s attempts to suppress climate science, and Trump and his cabinet’s ongoing climate denial, this report from 10 different US agencies confirms the basics above – The temperature is already rising; We’re causing it; And we need to act fast, and very boldly, if we want to stop it.

If we do nothing, the red line is what we can Temperature increase of 6-8° Farenheit (3-5° Celsius) That would make the planet more or less un-livable, at least for most of us. Seas would drive millions of us off the coasts, wildfires would burn dozens at a time across the west, and pollution (ozone in particular) and heat waves would kill tens of thousands of people every year across the midwest.

The blue line is about what the Paris agreement called for: namely aggressive action to cut US emissions and keep us below the 2° C target. The green line shows the very steep cuts it would take to get to 1.5° C or lower.

US emissions projections from 4th national climate assessment

Chart #3 It’s not all bad

Here’s the good news though: Despite all Trump’s posturing, things are already turning around. In the developing world (yucky term but most of the world’s people live in the global south, so hang with me a sec) Installations of wind and solar power are actually happening faster than new fossil fuels. There’s a revolution going on around the world, even if we’re not a part of it here in the US (yet). And it totally dovetails with the message we’ve been delivering to so-called climate leaders since this fall’s Global Climate Action Summit: We already have the solutions we need – and the youngest. poorest, and brownest communities with the most to lose from climate change are already showing what’s possible.

We’re all in this together

Last there’s this photo from NASA of the recent Camp Fire in California that I can’t get out of my head. The fires this year are already the biggest and deadliest in history – and they’re just what was predicted by the UN and US climate forecasts above. But it’s not just towns like Paradise that burned – all of California was blanketed in smoke from the fires. And no matter who you are or where you live, you’re seeing more impacts from climate change right now today that you were a year ago.

That can be terrifying – that the scope of the problem we’re facing is so vast. But it’s also unifying. There’s no more ‘safe harbor’ from climate change in America. You can’t retire to Florida, or emigrate to Canada to avoid it. We will drown, burn, or rise, TOGETHER.

A view of the camp fire from space

So, now what?

And that’s my main hope – that the presence of climate disaster all around us every day will move people to take real actions to fight the crisis. And we have done some things in the past year:

  1. We started the year fighting to DeFund pipelines, and that fight goes on. But just this month a major court decisions set back the Keystone XL pipeline again.
  2. We partnered with the Climate Disobedience Center on the court case for Roxbury activists arrested protesting a gas pipeline and they were all found not-guilty by reason of necessity!
  3. We successfully Fired Scott Pruitt, Trump’s lead man on climate and Environment at the EPA, and now we’re going after his number 2, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.
  4. We fought Trump’s plans to open our coasts to offshore drilling, gut the Endangered Species Act, and more! And we stood up, sat-in, and marched alongside pipeline fighters in North Carolina and other states.
  5. And we traveled to California for the #RiseforClimate rally and also put local leaders like Governor Brown on notice that we’re raising the bar on climate leadership.

Sure, Trump will still be crazy: he told the Washington Post this week that  “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” I don’t know what that means, but I know not to get too hung up on every crazy, false and unreasonable thing he says. I’m focused instead on the things we can do. And, as I noted in an earlier post on the election, I think we’ve got even more opportunities in 2019 than we had in 2018.

In particular, I think now more than ever we need digital support for direct action that centers the climate crisis. We saw that over and over again – from protests in North Carolina where we live-streamed the action so more people could participate, to the Global Climate Action Summit, where we used new media tools to super-charge the call for real climate leadership.

Now, with a new congress coming in, and more pipelines, fossil fuel export terminals, and Trump-nominated Fossil Fools than ever to fight, if you’ve got a little to spare, we’d love to have your support.

Last chance to Stop Trump’s climate-denying Energy Nominee

Donald Trump has nominated Bernard McNamee – a deeply unqualified, republican-hack, and climate-denier – to fill the vacant Republican seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory commission (FERC). The Senate is moving at “warp speed” to ram this latest dastardly, destructive nomination through.

McNamee’s confirmation hearing has been scheduled for November 15 at 10am. We’re headed to DC now with friends from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) to deliver more than 13,000 signatures opposing McNamee. If you haven’t signed yet, now’s the time!

If you agree that we can’t afford one more climate-denying Trump nominee in charge of our energy policy, sign here to tell the Senate: vote NO on McNamee and stop Trump’s FERC!
Bernard McNamee is Trump's FERC nominee
I wrote a longer piece with more footnotes and references that make the case for why and how Trump is stacking FERC with partisan fossil fuel warriors. Check it out and keep telling everyone that this is not normal, it is not ok, and it is essential that we take action in this time of climate crisis.

You may also want to check out the excellent explainer on McNamee from our friend Karen Feridun at Berks Gas truth.

About to go live in Raleigh for #RiseTogether day 2

I’m about to start another live stream at the Raleigh #RiseTogether rally, so I’ll get right to the point: Can you donate to support these solidarity actions in North Carolina and our ability to help organize them?

Yesterday, I got up super early and drove to Charlotte for the first North Carolina #RiseTogether Action. I’m not a morning person, but it was totally worth it. We marched through downtown Charlotte, a city literally owned by the big fossil fuel banks with a 50 foot inflatable pipeline. We sang and chanted and passed out hundreds of fliers on the doorstep of Bank or America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.

And we tussled (verbally, non-violently) with security at Duke’s headquarters when they forbade us to stand on “their” side of the sidewalk, or even to allow people on “their” side to to take our picture.  But for all the fun and power of this action, it was an entirely volunteer production. So, I have to ask, can you check out the video from day one, and then chip in a few dollars to support our participation in the action and all the time, materials and work that went into it?

Working on this kind of project is exactly why I started 198 methods. Our friends in North Carolina were ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. And their participation is so vital! Just as our brothers and sisters in Louisiana are fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), our friends in North Carolina are fighting the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines (MVP). All of these pipelines threaten our communities, our clean water, and our climate future.

So a diverse coalition of NC activists wanted to organize two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh. But to do it they needed help – they needed digital tools to help recruit more people and connect a big, global, audience to the local actions and demands. I was happy to work with them, and together we’ve already pulled off one action and have a solid plan for today. You can see the video from day one above, and click here to tune in to day two:

But here’s the plain and simple fact: Part of the reason I work with local groups like NC APPPL and other allies, is that they’re under-resourced. These folks work on the front lines with communities of color, indigenous leaders, the faith community, and any one who will stand with them to fight the pipeline. They’ve shown willingness to risk their safety and freedom to stop fossil fuels- like the time we occupied Governor Cooper’s office for more than 8 hours. Or when we barn-stormed into a BOEM hearing to stop offshore drilling and make the people’s voices heard.

Now, they’re rising together with our allies in the Gulf as part of a big, global movement to stop all pipelines and shut down fossil fuels. Can you chip in to support us?

Our Demands are:

But we literally can’t do it without your support. 198 methods is able to work with local groups and step up to support these actions because of small donations from kind people like you. If you’ve watched one of our live-streams, signed on to support our work, or just been looking for a way to help – now’s the time. Click here to chip in and support the North Carolina #RiseTogether actions. We’ll donate all the proceeds to NC APPPL and local groups. Thanks.

North Carolina #RiseTogether to stop all pipelines!

North Carolina is ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. Things are getting dangerous for our brothers and sisters fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Bayou Bridge (BBP) and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL), leap frogged ahead of their scheduled pipeline construction to begin cutting trees near a group of water protector tree sits. Read more about it here.

Here in North Carolina we’re showing our solidarity to fight the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, which threaten dozens of our communities, our clean water, and our climate future. A diverse coalition of activists are organizing two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh.

Our Demands are:

We invite you to learn more, and invite your friends to join us in person.

Click here to RSVP for the Charlotte action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet at the Bank Of America Headquarters in downtown Charlotte at 9am (opening time for the bank). We’ll march a short distance (about 1 mile) down Tryon steet to Duke’s headquarters, stopping at Wells Fargo and other points of interest on the way. We’ll convey our message with speakers from impacted communities, props, art, music and theater. Join us on Monday morning to show everyone in Charlotte that our health, safety and climate depend on banks, consumers and our elected leaders acting on these three demands.

Click here to RSVP for the Raleigh action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet in front of Governor Roy Cooper’s office in the administration building at 11:30 am. We’ll rally with signs, banners and artwork for about an hour to encourage Gov. Cooper to reverse his previous bad decision and suspend the ACP. Shortly after 1pm we’ll march to Wells Fargo at 150 Fayetteville St and demand they stop funding these dangerous pipelines. Finally, we’ll march to Duke Energy’s offices at 411 Fayetteville St just after 1:30 to deliver our demands there. The total distance between these 3 locations is less than 1 mile. We’ll walk back to the administration building at about 2pm and there is ample parking nearby. Join us on Tuesday morning at 11:30am at the Governor’s office!

There are other rallies planned in Asheville and in Virginia, and it’s also not too late to host your own action! Sign up to host or attend a local solidarity action this week or next.

There are dozens of events planned – from simple sign holdings at a bank branch to full on protests and rallies. There are resources available to help you plan, and an event can be as simple as taking a picture at a local bank branch. And we’ve made a packet of materials including a sample call to action, flyers, and other materials just for North Carolina Activists (and their friends). 

More info on the weeks of action:

From July 16-31 communities are mobilizing for the #RiseTogether Weeks of Action. The main targets for the Week of Action are a group of banks that are financing Energy Transfer Partners and other major pipeline companies. For more information on the Weeks of Action, please visit: www.NoBayouBridge.global/risetogether

Update from Louisiana: Rise together to stop the pipelines

Things are getting dangerous for our brothers and sisters in Louisiana fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Bayou Bridge (BBP) and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL), leap frogged ahead of their scheduled pipeline construction to begin cutting trees near a group of water protector tree sits.

Along with an armed police export, they’ve continued to cut all the remaining trees around the tree-sits. It’s unnecessary and illegal, but more importantly it puts the safety of these brave water protectors at risk – because even a tree cut near their fragile, elevated encampments can come down wrong and smash guide wires and other safety equipment.

As L’eau Est La Vie Camp said on their facebook page:

We are heart broken by this reckless destruction of the basin, but we continue to occupy the tree sits and will continue to resist.

L’eau Est La Vie and leaders on the ground are calling for aid, and there are two specific actions you can take to help us #RiseTogether this week:

  1. Keep your eyes on Louisiana and our allies there. LeLV has been broadcasting live updates from the trees and their support camp nearly every day and we share most of them on our Facebook page as well.
  2. Sign up to host or attend a local solidarity action this week or next. There are dozens of events planned around the country – from simple sign holdings at a bank branch to full on protests and rallies.
    1. We’re supporting several solidarity actions in North Carolina that connect the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in action to stop pipelines and climate chaos. Click here to learn more about those events.

As soon as tree cutting began, local supporters flooded the Sheriff’s department with calls. They even went down to the precinct and waited for hours to file an official complaint with the seemingly non-plussed officers. But the pattern of the last few weeks has been clear – every time the pipeline company puts lives and property in danger, people rise up to stop or slow them with peaceful, non-violent direct action. The local police and sheriff’s offices are complicit in the crimes, because they’re not only protecting the pipeline, they’re actively harassing the water protectors by walking canine units through their support camp, showing up armed to the pipeline route, and refusing to respond to legitimate appeals for human and civil rights protections for impacted people.

ETP has a despicable track record of attacking water protectors with dogs, water cannons, flyover surveillance and more. But they always pull back when people are watching. Just like at Standing Rock, the more of us watching and calling in to local sheriff’s departments to tell them we’re watching, the safer our water protectors will be.

But while your witness is vital, so is your action. As our friend Cherri said earlier this week: If you’re able to see this message, watch these live-streams or read these emails – you’re connected to a phone or a computer. That means you have the means to make yourself heard.

So please, don’t just watch or check in on Facebook: sign up now to host or attend a local solidarity event. There are resources available to help you plan, and an event can be as simple as taking a picture at a local bank branch. If you register an event here, and let us know, we’ll do everything we can to help promote it to our networks online and recruit others to join you. Now is the time to #RiseTogether

Cracks between the FERC commissioners

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Together we will Stop The Pipeline.

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

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

Send a Message to Duke Energy online

Earlier this week I endorsed a letter calling on Duke energy to take action on climate change with a bunch of other social and environmental justice nonprofits, singers, actors, and other VIPs.

NC Warn, the group that spearheaded the letter, is especially alarmed by a powerful new NASA study linking climate chaos to rapidly rising global methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry. NASA’s findings strengthen arguments that the U.S. fracking boom is linked to record-breaking global heat since 2014, and thus contributing to the acceleration of weather extremes that are devastating communities and wildlife worldwide.

North Carolina residents are in a unique position to back us up: Duke CEO Lynn Good is likely to listen to what you say — IF you say it in public and online. Can you back us up by posting about the letter on Facebook, Twitter or by email?

Click here to share on Facebook

Click here to share on Twitter

Click here to email

It’s not just us climate activists who are alarmed about that new NASA study: Grammy Award winner Bonnie Raitt also called on Duke CEO Lynn Good to take action — so did Hollywood United, a campaign led by actors like Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo Dicaprio, Norman Lear and many more.

But you don’t have to be famous to know that Duke should take action. Communities across North Carolina are already suffering repeated floods, fires, droughts and other climate impacts. And we’ve been taking action with allies who are fighting the massive Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP),3 which would bring even more of this climate-wrecking fracked gas *(methane) from West Virginia through North Carolina, and eventually to South Carolina as well.

Our letter urges Duke’s CEO Good to do two things:

  1. ​Stop venting unburned methane – which is up to 86 times more potent of a climate pollutant than Carbon Dioxide – into the air from all operations involving methane gas; And
  2. Replace all fossil fuel electricity with renewables bolstered by energy storage, efficiency and energy-balancing programs.

This is especially important for Duke energy, since they’re one of the only utilities in the US where greenhouse emissions are rising due to methane venting and leaking from its massive expansion fracked gas.

Take action this weekend, and NCWarn will amplify your call in ads and paid outreach this month to and urge Duke CEO Lynn Good to help avert climate chaos instead of making it worse – with a first step being cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.