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 in fact they are already considering two additional plans that would subsidize coal, nuclear, and fracked gas, one of them from former Mitch mcConnell aide and Acting FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee.

Nor does rejecting one stupid, poorly-formed plan to subsidize fossil fuels undo all the damage FERC has already done. And FERC is clearly not looking to become a kinder, gentler, more open agency as they’re also looking to reduce the power of states like New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina who have been slowing down fossil fuel infrastructure (but not stopping it) by refusing to grant local air and water quality permits.

Stop FERCIn the midst of all this bad momentum, FERC’s brand new Chairman is saying he wants to review the process of considering applications for gas pipelines. Nobody knows exactly where he’s going with this plan, but we know we can’t trust any of Trump’s hand-picked commissioners. So we’re going back to FERC to announce a 7-point plan for how FERC can put people and the planet first, and we want YOU to sign on.

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 that should be central to this process, their review gives us an opportunity to define what a functioning Federal Energy Regulator could look like.

With that in mind, we’re putting our 7-point plan out there early, and also calling on FERC to hold no less than six public hearings held in affected communities across the nation, as well as engaging in a robust and truly public comment period (not their usual sham). Click here to sign on to the list of demands below.

Minimal reforms to the FERC process must include:

  1. FERC must mandate a genuine demonstration of an end-use need for a project that is objectively verified by experts and that cannot be fulfilled by renewable energy options.
  2. FERC must respect state and local authority and expertise by deferring to state and local environmental authorities’ findings regarding the environmental, community, and economic impacts of pipelines.
  3. FERC must respect the authority of other state and federal agencies by instituting a policy that prevents FERC from approving pipeline infrastructure and/or allowing any element of construction to proceed until all state and federal reviews/permit processes have been finalized and approvals/permits granted.
  4. FERC must end the use of tolling orders, which place people in legal limbo and prevent communities from accessing justice before a pipeline company exercises the power of eminent domain to take property rights and inflicts irreparable harm through significant stages of construction. If tolling orders are not prohibited, then other mechanisms for addressing the problem include:
    1. Prohibit pipeline projects from advancing in any way, shape, or form, including eminent domain and/or construction, if there is an outstanding rehearing request/tolling order; or
    2. Mandate FERC response to rehearing requests within 30 days and prohibit projects from advancing in any way, shape, or form during that period.
  5. FERC must commit to removing bias from the process, by no longer hiring consultants with demonstrated conflicts of interest (i.e., those who are representing a pipeline company seeking Commission approval), and by prohibiting Commission staff or Commissioners from working on/deciding upon any pipeline infrastructure project in which they have a direct or indirect financial stake or have worked to represent the company within the previous 5 years.
  6. FERC must end the practice of using segmentation to skew environmental and community impact reviews.
  7. FERC must commit to a complete analysis of the costs and benefits, with a full and fair implementation of NEPA, including, but not limited to, fully evaluating social justice impacts; climate change impacts of pipeline construction and operation; community, environment, and climate change impacts of increased natural gas exploration, fracking, and methane emissions resulting from pipeline infrastructure operations; economic analyses that include costs, not just asserted benefits; alternatives not limited to alternate routes but that also include alternative energy sources; and robust health-and-safety impact analyses.

After presenting our plan, we’ll “nail” copies to FERC’s front door to make sure they can’t ignore our demands — will you sign on before Thursday?

PS – If you’re in the DC area or can get there, please join us at FERC on the morning of January 18 for a rally and peaceful protest involving the delivery of these seven demands and all your signatures.

Gas Pipeline image from National Parks Conservation Association

Good riddance to 2017 – I like our chances next month

It’s the last few days of 2017. And good riddance, I say, because we’ve got big plans for January 2018.

It’s been a busy and mostly brutal year as the Trump team attacks one of our communities after the other. We end the year much as we began it – worried about deportations, awash in climate chaos, resolute in our desire to show up when and where we can to speak out and shut down fossil fuel projects and the political patsies that approve them.

But in the face of all that, there is also hope: Major new divestments from big banks (and even the WORLD bank), opportunities to challenge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s new leadership, and convergences and gatherings that will consolidate the strength of our movement to shut things down and renew your spirit to open new ideas up.

Rebellions are built on hope, and two stories are giving me hope this week:

A recent article in Reuters details how Canadian Tar Sands, the dirtiest oil on earth, are having a tough time getting to export markets — driving up prices and costing Big Oil companies billions of dollars in the process. One of the big reasons the oil can’t get out is that a bunch of new pipelines are being delayed by our resistance. One of them – the Energy East, which was to be the “largest tar sands pipeline in the world” – was flat out canceled earlier this year. This makes it clear that our strategy of delaying big fossil fuel projects can work, but only if 2 things are true:

  1. We have to physically get in the way and obstruct these projects. No pipeline has ever been stopped by a court action or environmental impact statement alone (those things are are also important). In fact, more often than not, even when pipelines are found to have violated the law or their government-issued permits, they just pay a fine, revise the plan and keep right on going. If we want to stop the construction, we need to actually STOP the construction.
  2. Local governments like cities, states and counties can make a huge difference. That Energy East pipeline in Canada faltered not on federal rules, but mostly on the opposition of sovereign indigenous nations and the province of Quebec, which asked for a serious climate test on the project. Here in the US, the laws are different, and mostly stacked in favor of federal regulators like FERC and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE). But our best results have come in states like New York, where the Governor stood up to gas pipelines, or in cities like Vancouver, which voted to block an oil train terminal and set off a chain reaction that’s shutting the industry down across the state of Washington.

The second big piece of news is this new Finnish study out that confirms what many of us already know in our hearts: A planet earth powered by 100% renewable energy isn’t just possible: it’s cheaper, more just, more efficient, and better for jobs too. That research builds on the existing plans for 100% Renewable energy in 139 countries, and detailed, state-by-state plans for the U.S. that show the same thing.

So, the solutions are coming – if we can just hold off the poison of fossil fuels long enough. And in particular if we can oil the dastardly plans of Trump and team to build an entire new generation of fossil fuel pipelines, export terminals and more that will lock-in another 30 years of global warming pollution both here and abroad, which millions of people simply cannot survive.

The even-better news is that we have some great opportunities in the next 4 weeks to make real progress. BUT, we need you support to fund the travel, logistics and technology we need to make that happen. We’ve have a goal of raising $10,000 by the end of the year, in part because changes in the Republican Tax Bill may make it less likely people will donate to groups like us in 2018. So far we’re $3,800 short of the goal. Can you chip in to support our work and help us start 2018 off right?

Here’s our plan for the next few weeks, custom designed to take advantage of the crisi-tunities above:

  1. In terms of stoking local resistance, the best opportunities in the next few weeks are the inaugurations of new (Democratic) Governor’s in Virginia and New Jersey. VA Governor Northam’s inauguration is on January 14 and could present some interesting opportunities. Northam is for the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. But the Virginia Water Control Board has split recently: requiring additional review of the ACP, and voting to approve MVP with no such condition. With one pipeline approved, one on the way, and the governor not yet on-board: it’s time to start planning accountability and disruption actions. But we only have a few weeks to do it, and we need your support.
  2. In our survey, by far the most popular action people were willing to take (93%) was signing petitions and sending letters online. Two great opportunities to do that will come early in 2018 as FERC rules on the disastrous proposal from Rick Perry & Donald Trump to subsidize coal and nuclear power by raising electricity rates across the Northeast and midwest. A second opportunity may present itself as FERC considers new rules on when and how they approve pipelines. But given that they’re literally paid by the industry and have only opposed 1 or 2 pipelines out of more than 400 applications – color us skeptical. Either way, FERC dockets are notoriously hard to comment on or access for the public (at their monthly “public” meeting, for example, you get thrown out of the room if you try and speak. Unless you’re paid by the industry.) We use online tools to make it one-click simple for anyone to comment, and hand-deliver your messages at protests and media events that the Commission can’t ignore. But we need your support to keep these tools free and easy to access.
  3. The second most popular activity according to our survey is calling and lobbying your elected officials in person or by phone. And boy-howdy is there a show-down coming in January. You might remember that right after they brazenly voted to loot the middle class and strip mine the Arctic with their Tax Bill, the GOP voted to kick the can on a major spending bill until January 19. At stake are two huge issues: whether or not the government will shut down and whether or not thousands of undocumented young people (the Dreamers) will be deported. Two weeks ago, at the last critical moment, several Senate Democrats blinked and voted to allow thousands of Dreamers to face deportation over the holidays. It’s hard to overstate what a betrayal that is, or how eerily similar it was (both in who voted, and in who ducked the issue) to recent sell-outs on climate change like Democrats not objecting to (or even defending) Trump’s FERC nominees. We need to get ready to show up and show down with our allies in the Dreamer and immigration rights communities, and we need to make sure the climate movement doesn’t get completely forgotten (again) by the politicians who claim to speak for us.
  4. Last, there’s all the work we don’t know will happen (or exactly when) in January. This includes a plan for a series of webinars and conference calls with the team behind the People Vs Oil and Gas Summit. And keeping an eye on the #NoBBP and #NoKXl movements – which thousands of us have pledged to show up and support if called. If you’re interested in making a tax deductible gift that will keep us operating all month, then a monthly donation of $1.98 is the best, most efficient way to do so.

Thanks,

Darkest hour

Happy winter solstice – if happy is what you want to call it. It’s been another rough week. Earlier this week the Republicans rammed through a disastrous tax bill that will (among many other bad things) give special tax breaks to pipeline builders, Arctic drillers, and other assorted fossil fueled ne’er do-wells.

As I write this, they’re voting through a short term spending bill without doing anything about the DREAMers – who are at risk of being deported every week Congress refuses to act. All week long brave young people have risked arrest and deportation just to demand Congress vote on the issue. They shut down the Cafeteria today, in solidarity with seven other activists who went on hunger strike in jail. And still, Congress lacks the courage to protect people, not polluters.  

One other wrinkle to this week’s tax bill that you might not haver heard about: The #GOPTaxScam effectively eliminates the tax deductibility of charitable donations, removing the incentive for most people to donate to groups like us. I know that a lot of you will still donate because you care about the mission, not the tax break. But no less than New York Attorney General Schneiderman estimates groups like us could lose $20 billion in 2018 alone.

Can you chip in to support our work before these stupid new rules take effect so we (and you!) can afford to support climate activist?

Here in the darkest hour, it’s also worth remembering the lesson of the solstice: that darkness and light move in cycles, and just when it can’t get any darker – the light starts to come back.

So here’s 4 short gifs to tell you how we’re brining the light and heat to the Climate Justice movement in 2018:

The Thomas fire around Los Angeles is almost out now, which means it’s time to rebuild. Click here to support our plan to build a mobile ClimateDisaster response unit with partners in 2018 so we can be ready for what’s next

It wasn’t just California of course. Much of Puerto Rico is still without power and the death toll hundreds of times worse than the Trump Administration admits. We need to build local resiliance and resistance efforts from coast to coast to coast (there are three in America – Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf). Click here to chip in to support our local community building efforts in 2018.

If fire and water aren’t enough to get your elemental on, how about some atmosphere? Here’s a time lapse showing how carbon Dioxide moves in our atmosphere – if you look close you’ll notice that the rainforests in the global south act like a pair of lungs, constantly inhaling carbon and exhaling oxygen. But the global north is like a chain smoker, filling the shared resource of our atmosphere with more than our share of (red) Carbon and other global warming pollution. Click here to support our work to slash pollution, stop the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and build out 100% clean, green energy here in North America.

Finally, today is a good day to donate because it’s the solstice. The longest night which turns into a long series of lengthening days, each one a little brighter than the day before. For the next six months we’ll be traveling the east coast – meeting up with frontline activists in the Carolinas, Virginia, DC and points north. We’ll keep a watchful eye on the Bayou Bridge and Keystone XL Pipelines – which thousands of us have signed up to show up and block, if and when we’re asked by local leaders.

One big thing w need to get ready, set, and rowdy for is California Governor Jerry Brown’s big international meeting next September. A lot of Governors, Mayors and other “sub-national” elected officials are expected to show up and talk about climate change, but action is less certain. Just like the Paris Climate Summit 2 years ago – a lot of what is decided in those rooms will hinge on action outside in the streets:

Do we demand a target that protects the most vulnerable (closer to 1.5C and serious action by 2020, instead of 2C and 2050)? Do leaders enact binding action, like state, county, an state-wide bans on new pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure; Or do we let them get away with another promise to do better? Are conversations lead by communities on the frontlines that are poor, led by People of Color, and otherwise hit first-and-worst by climate impacts; Or does former-Mayor Bloomberg talk about sea walls in Brooklyn, while JP Morgan Chase is talking about not funding pipelines someday. (hint if Bloomberg and JP Morgan Chase are talking, the conversation is not about climate JUSTICE, even if it is about climate CHANGE).

So click here to chip in $1.98, $19.80 or whatever you can afford to help us get ready for 2018. Because today may be dark, but it only gets brighter from here.

PS – All the images and gifs in this message are from NASA’s Earth Observatory program. I mention because you should totally check out ALL their amazing and beutifle videos and images. But also because they’re yet another science-based program that (you guessed it) is set to have their budget radically cut by Trump and Republicans in Congress next year. We’d also love your financial support so we can incorporate a C4 arm that can lobby Congress directly, advocate for and against candidates, and more. Next week I’ll be sending you more of a roadmap and plan for 2018. But in the meantime, Please chip in to support our work.

Specific NASA images and videos we can’t live (or write this post) without:
The entire NASA Earth observatory team:

The coverage of the Thomas Fires in California, in particular

The 2017 Hurricanes and Aerosols Simulation

NASA | A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2

Two pipelines a week

Last week the Army Corps of Engineers gave preliminary approval to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP). A few days earlier, the Virginia Water Control Board (VaWCB) voted 4-3 to approve the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), but required a final review of several environmental studies. That second one is actually considered a partial victory, since the week before the VaWCB had voted to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) — another, shorter, fracked gas pipeline — with no such condition.

This not to mention the FCC ripping apart #NetNeutrality and the Republican Congress poised to ram through a tax bill that will steal our healthcare, deport our neighbors and drop a depth charge on the middle class from a luxury yacht. So, yeah, the last week wasn’t great.

But here’s the thing, in moments of crisis this climate justice movement rises to the occasion in ways that never fail to startle and inspire me. So, short version – Can you chip in to support what we’re doing? Even $1.98 helps a lot, and there’s a ton of other (including non-monetary) stuff you can do to help that we’re supporting or participating in below.

Ok – how to help. First, if you haven’t already, you need to sign up to show up. Both the #NoBBP and the #NoKXl movement have launched “pledge to protect” campaigns that encourage you ti sign up to show up – when asked, that’s really important – to support thee campaigned with civil disobedience and direct aid.

If we stop the pipelines, and lose the economy, our democracy, and all our immigrant neighbors though, it wont count for much. So we also need to sign up to show up and stop congress this week. Some of the best organizing going right now is to stop the tax bill, or derail it by forcing a big fight about the DREAM act. All week long, brave young dreamers, people who rely on the Affordable Care Act have been showing up in force. If you can get to D.C. or a local rally and support them you should.

Coincidentally, putting pressure on the Senate might also be the best way to save #NetNeutrality, which some 8,822 (yes we keep count), of you signed up to protect. The FCC voted to shred net Neutrality last week, but the short version is that we can fix it — IF two bulwarks hold:

  1. The lawsuits already introduced in New York, Massachusetts and a bunch of states to overrule the FCC decision because the comment process was to flawed;
  2. Congress votes (in accordance with some 70% of their constituents wishes) to overrule them with a powerful tool called the Congressional Review Act. The CRA gives Congress 60 legislative days to overturn a rule issued by a federal agency with a “resolution of disapproval,”  and it is NOT subject to a filibuster, so it can pass the Senate with just 51 votes.

Last, I want to talk about California, and all the places recently ravaged by climate-fueled super-storms. The fires, now among the largest in California history, are being driven by strong winds and new evacuation orders were issued in the last 24 hoursOne firefighter, Cory Iverson, 32, has been confirmed dead. And like Puerto Rico, we expect the actual toll to be much much worse than the public account.

Some friends have been strategizing about Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and I think there’s potential fir us to help. But to do so we’ll need a lot of logistics. Training, supplies, some sort of micro-grid on wheels. We need to get ready, and the climate chaos isn’t waiting.

If you chip in now, we’ll put 100% of the funds towards staging actions, protests and relief efforts where they matter. Even better, 100% of your gift is now tax-deductible as we apply for charitable status from the IRS. But I don’t know what the next few weeks will bring — whether there will be another disaster to respond to, another pipeline permitted, or whether the Trump team will order the IRS to disregard all new applications towards protecting the environment the way they told the CDC to stop using words like “fetus” and “science-based” last week.

What I do know is that, together, we can make a difference. But only if we show up however we can. Click any of the links in this email to get connected and show up to say #NoKXL, #NoBBP, #StopGOPTaxScam, clean #DreamActNow, or do stand in solidarity with the victims of #ThomasFire and ALL the #ClimateChanged disasters of the last few months.

Or, click here to chip in and help us fight back.

Photo Credit: Brandon Wu

Taking action while waiting for Keystone.

I hate waiting for news. And this morning, we were waiting on a doozy of an update: A few days after a massive oil spill on the keystone 1 pipeline, the the Nebraska Public Service Commissions (PSC) was to decide whether or not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline route. (See this post if you want to catch up on the spill.) They did, with a really important caveat. And now I’m thinking about what’s next.

But as fortune would have it, I wasn’t stuck home alone, worrying about the vote; Or out at work trying to stay busy while clicking the refresh button on my news feed every few minutes. I was in Pittsburgh at the People Vs Oil & Gas conference, surrounded by pipeline fighters from British Columbia, Canada, South Texas, New York, California and everywhere in between.

So when a couple friends from the local Rising Tide chapter asked me to pitch in (and do what 198 methods does — digital communications support for direct action campaigns), I said yes in a heartbeat; Even if it meant getting up really, really early this morning.

Which is how I ended up holding my cellphone with shivering hands to film, tweet and share a cold, late November morning from Southpointe, PA. I was there to support a brave group of 5 local activists, each of whom had been touched directly by the fracking, coal mining, and extraction industries that have run roughshod over the shale fields and coal fields of that part of western PA, West Virginia, and too many of our communities.

In freezing weather lit by headlamps and watery pre-dawn light they erected two twenty foot tall tripods, dangled themselves from the apex and locked their bodies to the base. All of it to block an entrance to a local office park that is home to some of the biggest, richest and most destructive fossil fuel extraction companies in America. Frackers, Pipeline builders, Injection well profiteers and petro export barons all rub elbows and share office space on the plush Southpointe campus. Heck, even Halliburton rents a suite there.

I think it was a really perfect Counter-pointe to the waiting. While the drillers, frackers and polluters showed up expecting “another day at the often” we did something beutifle, creative, and a little bit crazy to disrupt their morning commute and make it clear #WeWontStop. You can read all about it, and check out my epic, shaky-shivering, 3.5 hour live stream of the whole action, at the Rising tide Facebook page. You can also chip in a few dollars to support the legal defense fund of the two climbers who were arrested here.

And that’s how it needs to be with Keystone XL too. Today’s decision isn’t a defeat — for us or Transcanada, the pipeline builder either. It’s a sort of detente, a “game on” moment that we need to rise to with creativity, love and a powerful spirit of action. You don’t need a giant tripod or a beutifle banner, or even to run out in the street and stop traffic where you live (yet). But you DO need to be willing to speak up and take action when the moment is right. And that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to sign the “promise to protect” today.

Lead by Nebraska landowners and local tribal nations and indigenous leaders, the promise asks you to be ready, to get trained, make a plan, recruit some friends. And when the moment is ripe as a late-July ear of corn, to be ready to take action to protect our country, our communities, and our climate from the Keystone XL pipeline (or whatever else they think of). Will you sign on?

Let’s get to that decision, because it’s a little confusing but here’s the gist:

The Decision is BAD because it’s basically saying the Keystone Xl pipeline can get built, despite all the protests, problems, and last week’s massive oil spill. On the other hand it’s GOOD because the “alternate route” they approved is hundreds of miles longer and needs new and different land to be taken by eminent domain — none of which has been vetted by the EPA and other federal agencies before.That gives us an opportunity to sue, demand more information, and otherwise gum up the works until they do. Because of all that, and the fact that the price of oil has been crashing (undercut by the price of renewable energy, but mostly by cheap fracked gas), a lot of economists and investors think that KXL will simply never be built.

For now, the best thing to do to help is to dig in and get ready to fight this pipeline (and lots more like it) with everything you’ve got. And you can start with the Promise to Protect.

Together, we can stop all of the pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations and more. But only if we promise to take action.

Will you join us?

The Keystone spill and what comes after

By now, I expect you’ve heard about the massive oil spill in Keystone 1 – the older tar sands Pipeline that Keystone XL is meant to expand and replace.1 More than 200,000 gallons of oil are still on the ground just miles from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate reservation.2

This is all happening at a critical moment. On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission will decide a crucial local permit for Keystone XL. A denial of that permit, or even a decision to permit it with significant restrictions or re-routing could make the Pipeline too expensive to build, or create years of additional delay we can exploit to protest, organize, and eventually stop this disastrous project.

I don’t know what will happen on Monday. But I’ve spent the whole weekend with an amazing coalition of frontline activists and pipeline fighters, fossil fuel export exterminators and other fabulous people at the #PeoplevsOilGas summit. It’s given me hope and made me believe that together we can stop these pipelines — all of them. From the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines (and others) in the East; to Keystone, Dakota Access, Line 3 and Rover pipelines (and others) in the midwest, to the Trans Mountain pipeline and Jordan Cove export terminal (and others) on the west coast. I encourage you to follow along on our Facebook page and on the hashtag #peoplevsOilGas on twitter where we’re posting tons of updates from panels and conversations you can’t find anywhere else.

Together, we can stop all of the pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations and more. Monday, we’ll learn more about how the Keystone XL fight will continue.

Also on Monday, hundreds of us from this conference will take to the streets and visit the home-offices of some of the biggest fracking, pipeline and polluting companies in America. They all share office space a few minutes outside Pittsburgh, one of the reasons we picked this city to host our conference (in the belly of the beast, so to speak). This, too, gives me hope that we can rise up – stronger, more unified, and more defiant no matter what happens on Monday.

For now, I just wanted to send you a quick update, invite you to follow along on our Facebook page and on the hashtag #peoplevsOilGas on Twitter. If you haven’t yet (or even if you have) it’s a great idea to share the news about the Keystone 1 spill on Facebook and Twitter. The more attention this spill gets, the harder it will be for the Nebraska PSC to approve it on Monday.

This Monday, confront fossil fuel HQs near Pittsburgh

On Monday, November 20 hundreds of people from in and around Pittsburgh will join the People vs. Oil and Gas Summit and travel together to Southpointe – a commercial park about an hour outside the city that houses the headquarters and local offices of several dirty energy companies destroying our climate and communities.

There will be a family-friendly rally and march between several offices featuring the voices of impacted front line communities across North America, and some of us will take action against to call out the dirty energy companies behind fracking, bomb trains, pipelines and pollution across North America

Can you join us? RSVP here to reserve your spot on the bus from downtown Pittsburgh departing at 8:00AM. Or meet us in Southpointe at 9:00.

Here are the final details:

  • What: Rally and Action in Southpointe
  • When: Monday, November 20, 8AM bus departure, return to Pittsburgh ~11:30AM
  • Where: Buses depart from Omni William Penn Hotel (530 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15219)

RSVP here to reserve your seat on the bus.

Around the country, people are fighting the greed of fossil fuel billionaires in their communities – and this action gives us the opportunity to come together and confront them on their home turf. We’ll disrupt business as usual, and give them a taste of the discomfort that comes with living near oil and gas infrastructure.

While we’re there, we’ll also visit the offices of public officials including State Senator Bartolotta and the Chamber of Commerce to urge them to stand up to Big Oil and help fight for the renewable energy future we need.

RSVP here to reserve your seat on the bus.

Hope to see you there

Drew and the 198 methods crew

Equator Banks Acted

First of all, thanks so much for taking action with us and our partners as part of the Equator Banks Act campaign. Over 110,000 people (including many of you) signed a petition calling on the biggest banks in the world to stop financing climate disasters and respect Indigenous rights. Even better, hundreds of you showed up at more than 50 #DivestTheGlobe actions in cities and towns around the world. Some of the highlights:

  • Mazaska Talks #DivestTheGlobe action by the numbers
    Click to see larger

    Seattle activists visited or shut down over 100 branches of the big banks in 3 days of action.

  • Nearly 100 faith and ethics groups joined the call to action, demanding that Bank of America, TD Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other big banks stop funding fossil fuel projects.
  • There were amazing, beautiful actions in cities all over the world including Columbia, South CarolinaLausanne, SwitzerlandNew Haven, CTOakland, California; and many many more.
  • Check out the feed below from Mazaska Talks which was made live on the first day of action.

Even, better (and worth waiting for) — I’ve got breaking news to share from the actual Equator Banks meeting itself in Brazil. Just to re-cap: 90 of the world’s largest banks met in Brazil October 23-26 to recommit to the Equator Principles, a set of rules guiding which big infrastructure projects they will and won’t finance. Our petitions and actions were intended to pressure these “Equator Banks” or EQIFs banks to rewrite and revisit their own (voluntary) commitment to those principles: Specifically the fact that Equator Banks had financed disasters for our climate AND indigenous rights like the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Agua Zarca hydro project, where Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for leading Indigenous resistance.

Well, just today we got word that it worked! The Equator Banks released a statement saying that they will “start a process of updating the Equator Principles” with a special focus on the “important implications of the Paris Agreement” and “application of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in different jurisdictions”. 

Let’s be clear, this is EXACTLY what we asked for from these 90+ Equator Banks. And it is 100% a result of the pressure and publicity YOU helped put on them with your signatures, actions, events and more.

congratulations: minions cheering
Congrats

It’s also not, obviously, the end of the story. The Equator Banks process is planned to take more than 18 months, and hasn’t officially started yet. And we’ve already seen that even when banks promise to do the right thing, they often exempt current project, make caveats or otherwise backslide almost immediately.

Your continued diligence and follow up will be absolutely essential – and we promise to help by staying connected to Mazaska Talks and other indigenous, direct action, and pipeline fighting groups around the world. We’ll let you know the next time there’s an action, petition or event you can participate in on this campaign.

IN the meanwhile, what now? Well, if you like winning, and enjoyed this whole arc of emails from me and 198 methods (I’m the only person who works here) – then consider leaving us a tip. I love it when people chip in $1.98/week because it gives us the money to keep working week in and week out on projects like divest the globe, while paying a minimum (less than $1 a month) in credit card processing fees (for everything else, there’s Mastercard). I’d also point out that this action is exactly the sort of thing I started 198 methods to do: A big, digitally supported day(s) of action with over 100,000 people signed on, dozens of actions around the world, and a clear result (#winning) at the end.

I’m psyched, let’s do this again, soon.

Thanks,

Drew and the 198 ways to take direct action and divestment is one, crew.

Oakland Action Photo by Jake Conroy / RAN

We’ve gone big, now it’s time to bring the message home:

Thanks again for being one of the now more than 100,000 people worldwide (!) who have signed on to demand that the Equator banks stop funding climate disasters and respect indigenous rights. Now, it’s time to deliver:

Can you RSVP to host or attend a delivery event with us next week as our big, indigenous-led coalition delivers our message to banks all over the world? Click here to get started.

TD bank protest

Next week (October 23-25) there will be actions at local bank branches in various places in the world, and we want to show the strength of our numbers. Activists will be showing up at local bank branches, representing the greater audience holding banks accountable, and asking whether companies like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and others will follow BNP Paribas’ lead and #DivestTheGlobe.

Dozens of events are already planned that you can attend or participate in. Or, if you don’t see one near you, sign up to host: Our partners at Mazaska talks have made everything easy for you with simple downloadable materials and toolkits, and online event tools. All you have to do is grab a couple of friends, head to the nearest branch of one of our 90+ target banks and deliver a letter. Or, get as creative as you like – plan a rallyshut down 100 banks in a single daymeet with a local Mayor or elected official to talk about divestment — It’s up to you!

Get started now by clicking here to find or and plan your local #DivestTheGlobe event.

See you in the streets,

Drew and the 198 methods to stop a pipeline crew.

PS – It’s not too late to invite friends to sign the petition! Share this link before Monday to make sure everyone’s comment is included in the delivery events: https://petitions.signforgood.com/EquatorBanksAct/?code=198m