HOLD THE LINE: Don’t let corporate polluters get away with murder

Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans already gave more than $3 billion of COVID response money to fossil fuel polluters. Now, they’re planning another big oil bailout as part of a Coronavirus response bill they’re negotiating.

This time they don’t just want to give away our money: they want to let fossil fuel companies get away with murder. 

Call your Senators at (800) 914-0328 and tell them to hold the line against McConnell’s liability shield and make sure COVID response funds benefit people, not polluters!

For weeks, we’ve been telling you about the #BigOilBailout where fossil fuel companies got access to literally billions of dollars of public money that was supposed to help main street employers and workers. The House passed a package weeks ago that’s a good start — called the HEROES Act — and we’ve been pressing McConnell to take that bill up, and give our allies in the Senate a chance to make it even better by banning direct payments to the fossil fuel industry.

Instead of doing that, McConnell is pushing something called a “liability shield” which would protect corporations against lawsuits from workers who get Covid-19 because of unsafe conditions.

We don’t need to encourage corporations to be even more reckless with their workers’ safety and health. And that’ why nobody wants this liability shield, except for Senate Republicans and corporate billionaires like the fossil fuel industry. Doctors don’t want it; Major League Baseball doesn’t want it; low-income workers of color who are doing many if not most of the “essential” jobs in the pandemic as nurses, delivery drivers, certainly don’t want it.

McConnell’s plan will put frontline communities at risk, as fossil fuel companies and others spread disease from their facilities. 

It gets worse: corporations would have these protections for the next five years and they are likely to try using them to block all sorts of lawsuits, including those who are trying to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their fatal pollution and climate lies.  

We can stop this cynical attempt to let corporations put our lives at risk. 

The White House has already said they may be willing to drop the liability shield in negotiations over the stimulus. If we can generate a massive public outcry over the next 24 hours, we may be able to stop it for good. 

Please call your Senators at (800) 914-0328 and tell them to kill the liability shield and make sure this stimulus protects people, not polluters. 

When you’re on the phone with your Senators, remind them that the fossil fuel industry has already received billions of dollars in tax breaks and bailouts. Meanwhile, tens of millions of people are still out of work. Nearly 30 million Americans reported they went hungry last week. Black, Brown and Indigenous communities continue to be the hardest hit. 

Call at (800) 914-0328 and tell your Senators to drop McConnell’s deadly plan, and bail out people, not polluters.

#SenateFail: Fossil Fuels got bailed out, we got sold out

We call it a #SenateFail: It’s been more than a month since the House passed a $3 trillion COVID relief package called the HEROES act. But the Senate has failed to so much as hold a hearing – and chose instead to go on a 2-week, 4th of July vacation.

Since they took off for summer break, new cases of the virus are spiking all over the country, with more than 3 million US cases diagnosed so far. And thanks to demands from House oversight panels, we learned this week that fossil fuel corporations got their dirty hands on at least $3 billion of taxpayer money intended to help keep workers afloat.

Please join us TODAY to make sure senators feel massive pressure to get it right when they come back in session on July 20 by taking up the HEROES act and making sure bailouts help people and essential workers, not polluters:

  1. Call your senator by dialing toll-free 1-833-868-8109;
  2. Send an email to your Representative and Senators asking them to take action!
  3. Tweet at your Senators using these free tools from Greenpeace.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell decided it was time for a break while Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing, and without taking action to address systemic racism and Police brutality, protect essential workers, help struggling families or fund public schools. At a moment when senators should be doing their jobs, it’s a colossal #SenateFail.

When senators go back to DC, they will have less than two weeks to extend unemployment insurance, provide financial relief to struggling families, support essential services, including public schools, COVID testing and contact tracing, and ensure that every vote is counted in the November election. 

Taking up the HEROES act, and improving it, is a great place to start. There’s already some excellent stuff in the bill –including many parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights (EWBOR), which we support. And by adding in protections like the REWIND act to stop further fossil fuel bailouts, they can make it stronger!

While they are on vacation, Congress need to hear loud and clear that we expect them to get back to DC and do their jobs. Can you join us and take action today?

Stop Trump’s next Dirty Deal

Earlier this month, we warned you that Trump and team were bailing out fossil fuel companies with money stolen from Congressionally-appropriated funds to help families, workers and small businesses survive COVID-19. And we’ve been fighting ever since to make sure Congress’ next COVID-19 bailout bill protects people, not polluters.

On May 15, the House passed another the $3 trillion relief package, called the HEROES act. There’s some excellent stuff in the bill –including many parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights (EWBOR), which we support.

But in their haste to protect essential workers, House Leadership left out all the stuff that would have stopped Trump from stealing the money, again, and using it to Bailout fossil fuels– including the ReWIND act.

Congress is on a recess for Memorial Day, but when they come back, negotiation over this bill is expected to be their first priority. Will you email your Representative now and tell them to get it right this time – and make sure Congressional bailouts help people and essential workers, not polluters?

The ReWIND Act would prevent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds from being diverted to fossil fuel companies, making more money available for essential workers and communities. And it’s not as if House leadership doesn’t know about the problem: numerous reports have documented that Trump and his dirty associates are already diverting billions of taxpayer dollars to fossil fuel companies.

With more than 40 House and Senate cosponsors already, it’s a popular idea with a real chance of being included in the next Congressional relief bill. But Senator McConnell and the Republican-led Senate have indicated they will not consider the HEROES Act, ReWIND, or any form of additional COVID response bill, saying they have “not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately”.  And then he adjourned the entire Senate for two weeks so they could go home and have a vacation.  

We have a lot more work to do. Can you email your Member of Congress and tell them:

  1. Get back to work NOW – take up the HEROEs act negotiation with the Senate ;
  2. Fight to pass, and keep key provisions of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights in the next COVID response bill;, And
  3. Cosponsor the ReWIND Act to stop another fossil fuel industry bailout at the expense of public health crisis and frontline workers, and add it to HEROES during negotiation!

header image by  Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Tell the Senate to get serious about Essential Workers

Essential workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and many are working in high-risk conditions without appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. But Mitch McConnell and his Republican Senate say they have “not yet felt the urgency of acting immediately. And to prove the point, they just went home for a two-week vacation.

Essential workers are home care workers, grocery and drug store employees, domestic workers, food service workers, government employees, janitorial staff, farm workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, transit workers, and child care workers. Anyone who has to remain on the job without the ability to telework during this emergency.

These workers put their health on the line when they go to work every day, often without adequate worker protections and benefits. But instead of helping Essential workers, Donald Trump and Senator McConnell have conspired to give hundreds of millions of dollars (and counting) to the fossil fuel companies profiting off climate change. That’s money stolen from Congressionally-approved funds designated to help families, workers and small businesses survive COVID-19.

If you agree that essential workers deserve labor and health care protections, pick up the phone and call your Senators right now at 1-833-933-0204. Tell them to get back to work by taking up the House-passed HEROES act, improving it by keeping the Essential Workers Protections, and adding in key pieces of the ReWIND act as well.

Here’s what’s been happening: Last week, the House passed another the $3 trillion relief package, called the HEROES act. There’s some excellent stuff in the bill –including many parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights (EWBOR), which we support. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the parts of the Essential Workers Bill of Rights included in the HEROES act would provide $200 billion for hazard pay, paid sick and family leave, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers, and improved collective bargaining. HEROES is also also inclusive of immigrants, which is something that got left out of the initial Congressional response, and broadens the definition of ‘essential’ workers to include people who work in sanitation, grocery stores or as domestic aides.

But in their haste to pass HEROES, House Leadership left out a bunch of other good ideas we support from the bill, – including the ReWIND act that we emailed you about last week. Remember, the ReWIND Act would prevent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds from being diverted to fossil fuel companies, making more money available for essential workers and communities. And it’s not as if House leadership doesn’t know about the problem:  numerous reports in the last week have documented that Trump and his dirty associates are already diverting billions of taxpayer dollars to fossil fuel companies.

Most frustrating is that Senator McConnell and the Republican-led Senate have indicated they will not consider the HEROES Act, or any form of additional COVID response bill, anytime soon. And then he adjourned the entire Senate for two weeks so they could go home and have a vacation.  We have a lot more work to do.

HEROES has passed the House, so the first step is to get the Senate back to work, and back at the negotiating table. Some Republicans are beginning to realize they can’t just deny, lie, and dismiss the pandemic like Trump does. So if we we can get them back, and get them talking, we have room to negotiate. And right now the items we want on the table are HEROEs, the Essential Workers Bill of Rights, and ReWIND.

Call your Senators now at 833-933-0204 and tell them to get back to work by taking up the House-passed HEROES act, fight to keep the Essential Workers Protections, and improve it by adding in key pieces of the ReWIND act.

No Dirty Deals, pass the ReWIND Act instead!

Congress is already negotiating on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, and Trump and his allies are pushing hard for another big bailout for fossil fuels. Alarmingly, some elected leaders are considering a dirty deal where they’d trade another fossil fuel bailout  for good-but-inadequate tools like tax credits for renewable energy and electric cars. 

Fortunately, not everyone is tempted by this devils bargain:  Dozens of Democrats in the House and Senate have signed on to support a new bill called the ReWIND act that would ban fossil fuel bailouts, and give us more control over the +$2 trillion Congress has already appropriated.  

So far, we’ve got more than 30 members of Congress on our side, but we need more than 200 to stop the dirty deal and pass the ReWIND act as part of the next Congressional stimulus bill. Can you write to your member of Congress now?

Now is the time to speak out: Amid a historic shock to energy and fossil fuel marketsthe corrupt Trump Administration and their allies are scrambling for any way to use our tax dollars to prop up the fossil fuel industry. They’ve already tried offering special loans to fossil fuel companies, stopping enforcement of key environmental laws, waiving payments and taxes the oil and gas companies are supposed to pay, and more. Last week the Federal Reserve relaxed allowed more risky and un-profitable fossil fuel companies to get federal bailout dollars, and Republicans in Congress promptly demanded the fossil banks give them a loan.

Trump and his cronies can only get away with all this because Democrats in Congress failed to negotiate tough oversight and restrictions in their last relief bill, called the CARES act. A new bill called the ReWIND Act seeks to fix that and stop future fossil fuel bailouts. The ReWIND Act would block the Trump Administration from using COVID-19 stimulus funds to bail out big polluters, stop many of the schemes Trump has taken or may attempt to benefit the fossil fuel industry, and ensure that the public has a say to protect our health and wellbeing.

With nearly 40 cosponsors already, it’s a popular idea with a real chance of being included in the next Congressional relief bill. But some Corporate Democrats would rather negotiate a dirty deal than stand up to Trump and his corrupt cronies. An internal Morgan Stanley report leaked to the media showed that big banks are working with the fossil fuel industry to trade a fossil fuel bailout for renewable energy tax credits

We can’t let that happen. We need to tell Congress NOW that there’s no time for a dirty deal as part of the next stimulus package​, and that passing the ReWIND Act would stop another fossil fuel industry bailout at the expense of public health crisis and frontline workers. Click here to tell your member of Congress: No Dirty Deals, cosponsor the ReWIND Act and push for its inclusion in the next stimulus bill!

Wheeler, Schumer and a week of action in DC

This has been a busy week for Congress, which means it’s been a busy week for activists. On Tuesday afternoon, Drew helped run a training session at the Friends of the Earth headquarters in Washington D.C. and prepared to take action at Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing. At the training, six of us (including Drew) volunteered to risk arrest by speaking out during the hearing.

The plan was to enter in pairs, splitting the roles so that one would stand and read out a story from someone impacted by Wheeler’s dirty EPA policies or by the government shutdown. The other partner would silently hold a sign reading, “Shut down Wheeler, not the EPA.”

protest in the hallway
Photo by Liz Gorman

The stories to be read were compiled from Friends of the Earth members and public reports on the impacts of EPA policy. The goal was to highlight the injustice of Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing while hundreds of people are impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. With so many people unable to pay their mortgages or afford critical medications, why is Congress prioritizing the confirmation of a puppet to the coal industry to lead the EPA?

The next morning, we arrived on Capitol Hill to line up. We had to hide our posters in bags and under coats. But Capitol Police and Republican Senate staffers suspected something – and in an attempt to prevent any kind of disruption, they filled the hearing room with EPA staff and Republican lawyers before the public was even let in. For this reason, Drew and I were the only pair to make it successfully into the hearing room before the doors were closed and those still in line were moved to the overflow space.

Silent protestors hold signs while emily and other FOE friends are arrested for refusing to be quiet

Photo by Liz Gorman

We waited until Wheeler made his opening remarks and allowed him to introduce his family before standing up. I held a sign and Drew shouted out the story a Texas woman who lives near a coal fired power plant that Wheeler wants to allow to pollute more. Capitol Police ushered us quickly out into the hallway where more than a dozen allier were also chanting and holding up posters. Four more friends were ultimately placed under arrest for refusing to stop chanting or disburse from outside the hearing.

The rest of the crowd stood in the hallway outside of the hearing room with their posters in silence until all of us were escorted out. All six of us were released after paying a fine of fifty dollars.

Drew is placed under arrest for disrupting the hearing of Andrew Wheeler for EPA Administrator

Photo by Liz Gorman

Later that same night, we were back at it, attending a meeting with 350 to plan and train folks for an action the following morning at the office of Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer. The plan was for a large group to enter the office of Senator Schumer and read out a letter demanding that he sign on to the Green New Deal. Members of the group would also tell their own stories about how the climate change movement has affected their lives. As we exited the office we would sing protest songs while two floors above, four people would drop a banner over the side of a balcony to be viewed from below.

Banner dropped over Sen Schumer's office
photo by 350

On the morning of the action, we met at Union Station and briefed a larger crowd that had not been able to attend the previous night’s training. Then we walked over to the Capitol to file through metal detectors and security checkpoints before making our way to Chuck Schumer’s office. The stories and testimony insider from impacted young people were powerful. And the songs and chants outside echoed through the hallways and marble lobby of the Hart office building. No arrests were made that day, since our banner team chose to comply with orders by Capitol Police to pull up the banner.

On the lower floor, the larger group continued to sing, and share stories of climate impacts, until we were warned to cease and desist. After a second warning, the whole group together then walked over to the park across the street from the capitol building, where reflections and feelings of hope were shared before one final song was sung.

Emily and our team with the banner after the action at Sen Schumer's office
Photo by 350.org

Been a minute

Hey friends, been a minute since my last post. Just want to assure that 1) we’re not done fighting; 2) we’ve been busy, even if we haven’t posted; and 3) There’s more coming soon.

Lightening round recap:

  1. We blocked the doors to the EPA to demand climate justice with the poor people’s campaign on June  18
  2. I stalked the halls of Congress to demand Republican members #FirePruittand then they did!
    1. Two weeks later Pruitt Resigned What the what!?!
  3. I locked myself to a 20 foot tall bamboo tower for 7 hours to #CrackFERCopen and demand reforms at the Federal Energy regulatory Commission (thanks to the more than 10,000 of you who signed in support!)

    1. Later that same week, one of the Republican Commissioners Robert Powelson, announced he is resigning in August – setting up a deadlocked FERC over climate and gas pipelines, exactly what we were trying to accomplish with our action.

There’s been a ton of other news, most of it bad:

  1. Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court,Brett Kavanaugh, is a radical, anti- woman, anti-LGBTQ, racist and  anti-environment jurist. And he’s proposed him to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who’s often called a swing vote was pretty reliably pro-climate and life on earth (Kavanaugh is not).
  2. Pruitt is out at the EPA but his replacement, Andrew Wheeler, is equally corrupt, and potentially more dangerous if only because he’s seen as less comically corrupt than Pruitt was – replacing petty scandals over lotion and condo rentals with serious ones about poisoning our air, water and land.
  3. Pipeline construction continues in Lousianna, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and elsewhere as our big, ud, proud, fragile, community continues to fight the black snake on too many fronts to bear. We;ll have na update tomorrow about the current weeks of action happening to support the L’eau Est La Vie Camp. And soon we’ll have more ways to sign, donate, show up and otherwise support all our actions

I trust that even when we can’t find our way back to the keyboard, you know we’re out fighting, demanding action and making change. We started 198 methods to do digital support for direct action climate campaigns. That’s where we’ve been: locking down, sitting in, aking art, making friends and demanding change.

I’ll also point out that, even though times are certainly still dark, the old adage holds: when we fight, we win. IN the last few weeks we fired (another) member of Trump’s corrupt cabinet. We conviced 20% of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to step down and re-create the deadlock we spent a year exploiting to delay, derail and block gas infrastructure all over America. And we’re not out of fight yet.

We ready. We coming. Don’t touch that dial. I believe that we will win.

Pruitt’s trying to over up this cancer-causing chemical report

Last week, hundreds of 198 supporters joined more than 300,000 petition signers and 100 environmental and social justice organizations in calling on Congress to fire EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

But today, he still has a job. What’s more, just today Pruitt abused his power (again) to bodily remove a reporter from a meeting on toxic chemicals. I’ve said it before, but ANY other EPA administrator would have been fired already. But Trump won’t do it. And so far, it seems like it’s going to take more pressure to get Congress to act. So here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Don’t normalize this latest scandal with your silence. Share the news on social media using the links below, or forward this to friends on email.
    1. Share on Facebook.
    2. Share on Twitter.
  2. Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign. Last week more than 100 of us participated in petition deliveries from coast to coast. But Congress hasn’t responded to our demands. We need your support to keep planning escalating actions and protests that compel them to #FirePruitt.

The backstory

We’ve been petitioning Congress and the Administration for months to Fire Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt EPA administrator. In cased you missed it, Senator Bernie Sanders helped us lay out the case in a conference call (which hundreds of you participated in) early last week. Click here to listen to a recording if you missed the call (Drew helped moderate and screen your questions).

Last week Pruitt was back on capitol hill to testify before a Senate subcommittee and so were our friends — A crew of activists silently held “Fire Him” signs behind Pruitt as he gave his opening remarks, and again owned the media narrative with stories on CSPAN, Politico, MSNBC, and more.

But the action wasn’t contained to the committee room, or even the East Coast: More than 100 198 methods supporters signed up to deliver more than 300,000 petition signatures demanding Congress Fire Pruitt. There were rallies in New York, sit-down meetings in Philadelphia and Boston, and drop-bys and deliveries in Chicago, California, and hundreds of other locations.

Back on capitol hill, Pruitt’s reception with the Senate was not a friendly one. As with last month’s hearing, Democrats generally called on Pruitt to resign and were harsher in their questioning. Republicans were generally more patient, though Republican Subcommittee chair Murkowski did refer to the scandals as “legitimate” concerns. A lot of questions at the hearing were about whether Pruitt may have had a personal hand in covering up a pollution report that the White House said would be a “PR nightmare” if released.

The report in question is reported to expose the health effects from a class of chemicals used to make non-stick Teflon and some kinds of firefighting foam, which are called perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Other studies from government agencies have linked those chemicals to cancer, developmental disorders and a host of other health problems and hundreds of communities from Vermont to Souther California may already be contaminated contaminated. Which is why it’s suspicious that Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis caused by PFOA and related chemicals. And, as if to confirm that he doesn’t want to talk about the human and environmental consequences, Pruitt chose not to invite victims, community leaders, and even major media outlets to today’s “National Leadership Summit” on PFOA, PFOS, and other chemicals.

When reporters showed up to cover the meeting anyway, they were refused entry and in one instance forcibly ejected. This is only the latest in a string of scandals and cover-ups involving Pruitt. But it’s important that we don’t get resigned to the Trump cycle of repeating scandals and constant crisis. Pruitt won’t quit, and Trump won’t fire him. And that means it’s up to Congress to take action and #FirePruitt. You can help us keep the pressure up:

  1. Don’t normalize this latest scandal with your silence. Share the news on social media using the links below, or forward this to friends on email.
    1. Share on Facebook.
    2. Share on Twitter.
  2. Chip in to support our ongoing work on this campaign.

 

National Dream Act Day of Action Feb 7

You probably remember, less than a month ago, when all but 16 hard-line Dream Heroes in the Senate (not-coincidentally some of our most reliable votes on climate change) voted to re-open the government. They did so based on a promise from Mitch McConell and Donald Trump allow a vote to protect Dreamers before February 8.

This week, the bill for that bad bet comes due. Tomorrow is the 8th and no vote on the Dream act has been scheduled. The Government runs out of money, again, this Friday and we’ve made no progress.

Today hundreds of young Dreamers from across the country have traveled to D.C. to demand that Congress pass a clean Dream ActClick here to check out the live feed of their actions on capitol hill, and then call 478-488-8059 so United We Dream can patch you through to Congress. Tell them to pass a CLEAN Dream Act and protect immigrant youth without harming their families.

As we explained last timethis Dream Act vote is a critical litmus test  for climate change.

It’s also clear that we can’t trust most of the “deals” that have been offered by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell in recent days. McConell has already broken his promise by not scheduling an up or down vote on immigration, and today’s proposed two year spending plan does nothing to protect Dreamers — giving us us even more reason to distrust him.

Trump’s plan is even worse. He’s actively calling for a government shut down unless Congress gives him a racist immigration plan that a Washington Post analysis confirms will mostly have the effect of making America Whiter, Older, and more poor.6 It’s no surprise that President “shit-hole” isn’t a reliable negotiating partner. But that’s why we need Republicans and Democrats in Congress who claim to agree on immigration (just like many of them claim to agree on the need for climate action) to do their job and VOTE on the issue.

Let your Senators know you demand that Mitch McConell be held to his promise, and that Congress vote on a clean dream act – not a compromise that includes racist policies like an end to family reunification or a border wall – NOW. Call 478-488-8059 right now and tell them to pass a CLEAN Dream Act and protect immigrant youth without harming families.

Images from United we Dream

Trump’s first SOTU

Donald Trump gives his first official State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30, at 9pm Eastern | 6pm Pacific. Even if you hate the guy (and you should), somebody needs to listed to make sure he doesn’t announce any stupid new ideas (like drilling for oil on the moon, or requiring every citizen to genuflect and donate $5 every time the pass an Exxon station).

Our team will be listening in (and providing live color-commentary via twitter). And you can tune in with us! RSVP here and/or come back just before the speech starts Tuesday night and we’ll host a live stream of the speech, with running commentary from our team and a range of climate journalists, activists Climate Justice Warriors and more. 

Live Blog State of the Union hate Watching party


Trouble viewing the RSVP/Iframe? Click Here

What to watch for: the Pre Game.

Here’s some links and hot-takes before the big speech to give you an idea what to listen for.