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

What happened with Dominion Power in South Carolina

On Friday, December 14, the South Carolina Public Service Commission (SC-PSC) held a hearing to approve Dominion Power’s proposal to buy our largest utility, SCE&G and its parent company SCANA. As we wrote just before, it was a bad deal for the people of South Carolina, and for the environment and climate we all share.

The SC-PSC and Dominion thought South Carolina was whipped. After years of fighting the VC Summer plant, paying the highest electricity bills in the country, and living with corporate polluters — they  didn’t imagine anyone would show up to oppose them as they stole a little more, wrecked a few more communities, and continued to ignore the climate crisis.

We proved them wrongwe showed up with a team of half-a-dozen activists from South Carolina and North Carolina and took the hearing by storm. We stood up and shouted until they had to adjourn. When a PSC commissioner came out and asked us to be quiet — because he said he was undecided, and wanted to vote on a plan to add solar power to Dominion’s offer — we shouted louder until the threw us out of  the building into the rain and threatened to arrest us. That commissioner, by the way, went back inside, lost every vote to add solar or accountability to the deal, and then voted for the Dominion merger anyway.

And it’s a good thing we did too. Because while the SC-PSC was too cowardly to stop Dominion’s takeover, now people know there’s a resistance afoot. Our protest was on the front page of the newspaper the next day, and mentioned in story after story that covered the Dominion deal.

If you’re feeling this activism and story – if you want to support more direct action projects that target Dominion and energy regulators in Virginia and the Carolinas – click here to chip in and support us.

By trying to silence us, throwing us out of the hearing, ignoring our evidence and demands for justice, they’ve united not only South Carolinians, but North Carolinians and Virginians in opposition. Dominion is already facing blow back in court over their Atlantic Coast Pipeline (the judge actually quoted the Lorax in smacking down the pipeline). And Virginia regulators are beginning to question why Dominion needs to charge ratepayers so much, if they’re making so much profit.

A resistance is building all across the SouthEast – to Dominion and all the oppressors. The same day we spoke out in South Carolina, Cherri Foytlin of the L’eau est La Vie camp had a tense exchange with South Carolina Regulators in Louisiana — so tense one of them knocked over a table backing away from her righteous anger. As the song says, they tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.

People in the South are rising up. So far, the corporate polluters and pipeline builders have been able to buy, cheat and steal enough power to keep us bottled up. But the day is coming when that may not work anymore.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the video where Elaine interviews some friends as we were arriving at the meeting. You can also get a good look at the dishonest Dominion lawyers, PSC commissioners and other various villains who did us wrong:

After that we headed into the hearing room and it was show time. Skip to about 11 minutes into this video (unless you want to listen to the SC-PSC congratulate itself on working hard to steal money from some of the poorest ratepayers in America with the help of one of the richest companies in the Southeast) to see the protest action, which made it onto the front page of the local paper the next day and was mentioned in numerous articles about the merger that evening and over the weekend.

And finally, check out this video of us talking in the hall with SC PSC commissioner Tom Ervin. This part might be the most crazy-making since Ervin tries to convince us he’s on our side, AND that we’re the problem (not him) at the same time. He also (dishonestly) claims he hasn’t made up his mind just a few minutes before he let us get thrown out in the rain, then went back in the hearing room and voted for the deal. Profiles in courage you are NOT Mr Ervin.

 

What really happened at the Global Climate Action Summit

Our final day in San Francisco was for the #CommunitiesNotCorporations action at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS/ #GCAS2018). We’d already attended the Rise for Climate Jobs and Justice on Saturday, and an occupation of Gov. Jerry Brown’s forest advisory board before the summit.

At this last event, I was embedded with a group of frontline fighters during a tense stand off with police where we blocked the doors to the summit, and I had a front-row seat to the indigenous, frontline, and communities of color who were locked out of a summit where billionaires and mayors rubbed shoulders to congratulate each other on their elevated climate consciousness.

Before you celebrate the commitments made by Mayors of New York and London, or by corporations with billions in profits, check out our wrap up video – filmed live on the streets outside the Global Climate Action Summit, and edited in South Carolina as hurricane Florence makes landfall. And if you’re moved by our argument about what works, and doesn’t work about Jerry Brown’s market-based approach to climate change. Then chip in to support this kind of work if you can.

I also streamed live for a few hours from the action outside along with our friends at Rising Tide. You can see the street theater performance starting at about 22 minutes in, and you can see the tense stand off with police at about 1:10:00

Thanks again to all our partners and friends who helped organize – especially Beyond Extreme Energy which helped send me and Don to California; Rising Tide and Diablo Rising Tide, who did so much amazing prep and organizing for all these actions; And the It Takes Roots coalition including IEN and other allies who put on the amazing Solidarity to Solutions conference, and provided a ton of logistics for speakers, art, theater and frontline participation. It takes ROOTS ROOTS ROOTS, to weather the STORM STORM STORM – and y’all got mad roots.

Last – thanks to all the 198 methods supporters and everyone else who chipped in to get us to California, and home safe (just in time for Florence to make landfall in South Carolina, where I live). If you appreciate this kind of action, and the coverage before, during and after these action – please consider chipping in $1.98 or more to keep us fighting.

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.

198 methods to [do what exactly?]

Last week I told you about why I think it’s important to start 198 methods as another non-profit, environmental advocacy group (Missed it? Click here for the refresher, 5 charts and 2 maps). This week, I’m all about how we win.

I lay out some specific examples, strategies, and ideas below. But the TL;DR is this: It costs about $100 a week to keep all this going, and we want to scale UP the project in 2018. So I’m looking for about 50 people to donate $1.98 a week for the next 6 months. Can you help​?

more “198 methods to [do what exactly?]”

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

Big French Bank Defunds Pipelines – Sign now to #DivestTheGlobe

I’ve got more good news this week: French Mega-bank BNP Paribas announced this that it’s cutting its funding for extreme oil and fracked gas projects in the US and Canada. While we (and our friends in France) will need to monitor the implementation and details, the news is REALLY GOOD.

Specifically: BNP Paribas will not fund new exploration, production, transportation and export projects related to Tar sands, fracked gas and the Arctic, nor the companies involved in more than 30% of their activities; The announcement includes a ban on funding Keystone XL and TransCanada, Line 3 and Enbridge, a Texas fracked gas export facility and any future gas export terminals in the Gulf; and more!

It’s a really big deal and I hope you’ll share the news in the footnotes to spread the word. But I also noticed that you haven’t signed on to our petition calling on 90+ of the biggest banks in the world to Divest from fossil fuels. Can you sign on now?
Ran Action Calling on BNP to Divest, and they did!

I need your signature this week because we’re already planning a big, global day of action to deliver all the signatures October 23-25. All over the world, activists will be showing up at local bank branches and demanding to know if companies like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and others will follow BNP Paribas’ lead and #DivestTheGlobe. You can sign up to host or attend an event in your town, but first — click here to sign on to our petition and tell the biggest banks to stop finding climate chaos and respect indigenous rights.

Thanks, Drew and the team

Photo by Toben Dilworth / RAN

What happened at FERC last week

FERC doesn’t work. but they’re back at work in a big way – clearing the more than $13 billion in back-logged projects sitting on their desk by rubber stamping every pipeline, compressor station, export terminal and bad fossil-fueled idea they can lay their hands on.

To those who showed up — online or in person — on September 20th for the rally, action, and lobbying at FERC and Congress, thank you so much for giving your precious time and energy to this important effort!

We started the day early – 6:30am early for those of us who stayed at a local church the night before to plan, make signs, and put together the petition signatures for delivery. A short walk later, we met up with dozens more friends, nearly a hundred activists and one VERY LARGE puppet of the FERC commissioners dancing to the tune of big Fracked Gas money.

A rally and speakers took turns from 8:30-9:30, including powerful testimony from numerous frontline communities and also Rev. Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus. The Rev. as usual, brought the fire to our proceedings declaiming that it was “so disappointing we have to be here… [FERC] shouldn’t have to be told [about the climate impacts of fracked gas]. They just need to check the weather!”

At the end of his comments, the Rev. led us all in a verse or two of We Shall Overcome. And then it was, in the words of one activist “Into the lion’s den” as dozens of activists filed patiently through security lines for the chance to enter FERC, where decisions about our home and planet are made every day.

As we’ve reported before, the great irony of FERC’s ‘public meetings’ is that there is no space for the public to actually comment. Decisions are made for us, about us, OVER us and without any opportunity for any man, woman, child or advocate to stand up and simply say “stop, you’re killing us.” Instead, as has been the case at every FERC commissioners meeting for more than 18 months, we were compelled to take matters into our own hands and chose (in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who Rev. Yearwood sited out front) the “positive peace which is the presence of justice,” as opposed to “a negative peace which is the absence of tension.”

Choosing that tense, positive peace, activists stood in unison inside the meeting and sang “We Shall Overcome” while others shouted, were hauled away and served with  arrest warrants. Hundreds of you supported from home by calling FERC – jamming the phone lines for over an hour and blowing up the twitter feed with your #FERCabuses messages. None of our in-person protestors will be allowed back into FERC meetings again, but it was a small price to pay to show the newly restored quorum that our communities will NOT be overcome — we will continue to resist, by speaking out, fighting in the courts, and generally fighting all of FERC’s rubber stamping ways!

After the intervention and protest at FERC, we headed up to Capitol Hill a few blocks away, where (after a short training and orientation) folks headed into the Senate buildings to deliver letters and comments from more than 30,000 citizens opposing FERC, Fracking, and the remaining two nominees.

The day was a great success and carried forward the unceasing resolve of so many not only to stop FERC from destroying communities and the climate, but also to replace it with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels.

Take a look at some of the press hits from the day below!

But our campaign isn’t over: Trump’s final two nominations to FERC still need to be confirmed by the full Senate. If you’re looking for further actions to take consider one of the following:

  • Donate to support the ongoing campaign with Beyond Extreme Energy. BXE paid for most of the logistics for this action – from food and housing for activists, to transportation for the giant puppet and much more. 198 supporters have already donated more than $500 to support the work (go team!). If you haven’t had a chance to donate yet, or want to make sure BXE is funded to keep going back to the monthly FERC commissioners meetings to do more, it’s not to late to chip in here.
  • Call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to “vote no on those two FERC Nominees — Democrat Richard Glick and Republican Kevin McIntyre.” Unlike the previous two, Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert F. Powelson, not one single Senator voted against these two nominations in committee — probably because one is a Democrat and no Republican has yet voted against Trump’s FERC nominees.
  • In addition to calling your senators to tell them to vote no on these appointments, if you’re interested in coming to DC to attend the Senate vote, which hasn’t been scheduled yet, Beyond Extreme Energy has 20 available tickets. We’re looking for people who want to either fill the room or participate in a sing-in. If you’re interested, email info@beyondextremeenergy.org and let them know.
  • Last – spread the news: Share this post and share all the news items below on your social networks – it really makes a difference for a lot of different people to share news and updates becaue even if we don’t make the top-trending list on twitter, we DO generate a lot more attention and discussion about these issues.

Gas pipeline protesters turn up heat on FERC: Activists disrupted the federal agency’s first open meeting since January, saying regulators disregard environmental risks and facilitate land grabs by pipeline companies

FERC Has Quorum Once Again, But Not Much NatGas on Meeting Agenda

FERC picks up where it left off, tackles backlog

Anti-pipeline protestors sing ‘We shall overcome’ at FERC meeting

Pipeline protesters return to FERC energized by recent wins, Trump backlash

WASHINGTON POST: The Energy 202: FERC is up and running again. That means Trump gets more of the pipelines he wants

En EEUU otorgan permisos para destruir el medio ambiente

FERC Is Back in Business and Oblivious as Ever

Pipeline protesters disrupt FERC’s first meeting with new Trump commissioners

 

Reportback – day of action on FERC nominees

This week, as part of our ongoing campaign to stop fracked gas pipelines and export terminals by keeping the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shut down, we visited the US Senate to deliver thousands of your letters, signatures and messages.

Big Props to the Delaware River Keeper Network, who organized a lot of the logistics and set up dozens of meetings for our team on capitol hill. And special thanks (as always) to our besties at Beyond Extreme Energy and Berks Gas Truth who showed up to walk the halls, lobby legislators and work the press with us.

Here’s a short video recap from our friends (I’m the one in the grey suit) and a written reportback follows:

Our pipeline fighters were on the hill today to talk about FERC, and the #DirtyEnergyBill. I sat in on a meeting with Sen. Sanders staff that was predictably amicable. In fact, within hours of our catching up, Bernie had put out a statement opposed to the energy bill, and re-iterated his opposition to Trump’s extreme FERC nominees. But he is, frustratingly, the ONLY Senator to have raised objections so far.

The other meetings I sat in on, with staff for Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA) were less encouraging. Cartwright’s staff were sympathetic, he’s got major gas pipelines proposed for his district and says he hears about it all the time from constituents. he’s mad at FERC for rubber stamping these projects without adequate community review, and conversant in the need to invest in renewable energy (not just gas). Even more important, the day before our meeting Cartwright had voted NO (the right vote) on legislation to dramatically expand FERC’s powers, including giving them oversight of international oil pipelines like Keystone XL.

But Cartwright’s staffer was also pretty down-beat on our chances: he said several times that as the minority party in the house, Democrats just don’t have much power to fight or stop bad energy legislation. That’s true, as far as it goes procedurally, but it’s not exactly the kind of leadership we’re looking for to inspire the resistance or unite the supposedly bi-partisan movement of Congress that wants to #ActOnClimate.

The Warner meeting was, if anything, more frustrating. The staffer was courteous and knew what we were about. He (like most Democrats) said that the Senator cares about climate change, and wants to invest in renewable energy. He also allowed as how he hears a lot from constituents, especially in the western part of the state, about how FERC’s trampling local property rights and the environment by fast tracking the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. But when we put the tough questions to him – whether he’d vote against FERC nominees, demand hearings on their abuses of power, and vote against the #DirtyEnergyBill – it was clear Warner wanted to #ActOnClimate only insofar as it didn’t actually require him to vote on anything. He plans to vote YES on the Dirty Energy Bill, and while he hasn’t committed one way or another, it seems like he’d vote to approve the FERC commissioners too.

Elsewhere, our team was walking the halls making sure everyone knew about FERC and fracking and the need for action. They bumped into Senator Hirono in the halls, one of only three Democrats (Sanders and Wyden are the other two) to vote against the FERC nominees in committee. After confusing her with an un-woke Senator, our team thanked her profusely, and later got to meet with her staff and thank them again. I get the sense that Markey is probably get-able, but I didn’t meet with his staff. Ditto on Merkley and Warren – I didn’t talk directly to anyone on their staff but based on other conversations, and their Climate Hawks scores, they probably lean no.

We also ran into Sen Al Franken in the hall, and chatted with him for a few. We didn’t talk long enough to pin his vote down, but my guess is that he’s a yes until persuaded — he also voted for FERC nominees out of committee, just as an example of when he’s followed Cantwell and Murkowski’s lead in recent weeks. Those votes are surprising mostly because Franken has been making funny new videos for the internet and writing books about how he’s a badass climate warrior speaking truth to power. It’s hard to believe that, though, when he’s voting for Trump’s nominees, to approve more pipelines, and expedite the construction of new fracked gas infrastructure. I couldn’t resist a little snark for the former SNL performer, so we made a quick video mocking that contradiction too.

I tried to pitch the idea to anyone who would listen, but especially Warner (who’s a member of Democratic leadership in the Senate) that if the Democrats are serious about building a different energy future than Trump and the Republicans (see also, Paris, Climate Agreement, The) then they really can’t be voting for an energy bill co-sponsored by Murkowski and fast-tracked by McConnell. If they vote for this, all Democrats will be doing is giving McConnell and team a pop of good press and “look how clever and bipartisan Republicans can be when the President doesn’t tweet”.

But it seems clear that nobody in Democratic leadership is buying that line, yet. Their new “better deal” plan includes exactly 0 references to climate change or a just transition to a clean energy future — despite the fact that rebuilding our energy economy could be the biggest jobs program (public or private) since the WPA. And for some reason they’re still not making the connection that fracked gas is a fossil fuel. It’s a bridge to nowhere and any vote that expands, fast-tracks, expedites or exports gas is a vote against the climate. Too many of them are possessed by what I sometimes call “Booker’s Myopia” — named for fantastic frontman and terrible negotiator Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ). Booker’s Myopia is characterized by an inability to see past the value of bi-partisanship, a sort of myopia that focusses on how brave and reasonable one looks “reaching across the aisle” while missing the point that looking reasonable while negotiating with an authoritarian regime hell bent on destroying the planet is not actually a good thing.

Booker became the name-sake of this illness (which presents disproportionally in Democrats from safe seats in the Senate. Check your Senators regularly by asking “so, will you vote against legislation that causes climate change, even if it has a bi-partisan co-sponsors?”) when he cheerfully negotiated an end to the us ban on crude oil exports DURING the paris climate talks. It was a perfect storm of blindness – Booker’s own constituents (local oil refineries in NJ) hated the plan, as did nearly every environmental group and Climate Justice campaign. The only people for it were the big oil companies. But there was Booker, parading around the paris COP talks like a hero while giving ExxonMobil exactly what it wanted for Christmas. That sort of thing would make most of us blind, but Booker’s immune due to the Myopia.

Anyway, we’re not done yet in the fight to stop FERC and the #DirtyEnergyBill. The Senate is due to take up Health Care next, and that will buy us at least a few more days, maybe a week or two, to round up the votes we need in opposition. As a reminder, the Dirty Energy Bill will need 60 votes, and there are all kinds of procedural ways to slow down or block a FERC nominee. So if even a handfull of Senators are willing to stand up and fight for our climate, we can mount a serious challenge.

You can chip in to keep us fighting here, and stay tuned for further updates and actions.

Every Branch, Every bank

Our #NoDAPL movement is celebrating the fact that a federal judge ordered the US Army Corp of Engineers to re-do its environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But the judge didn’t shut down the pipeline (yet) and we still need to take action to stop DAPL, and all pipelines proposed in North America.

More than 150,000 people, representing more than $4.3 billion dollars in assets, have signed on to demand an end to the dig, dump, burn capitalism embodied by these pipelines.1 And now,indigenous leaders are asking for your help to deliver the message to “every bank, every branch” this summer.2 Will you sign up here to host a #DeFundPipelines delivery event in Columbia?

It’s been months since President Trump’s reckless executive orders to ram through DAPL and other pipelines. Since then we’ve learned that the company behind DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners used money from bankers and pension funds to hire military contractor TigerSwan to spy on encampments and coordinate brutal responses that included pepper spray, rubber bullets and blasting water protectors with water cannons in freezing weather.3

By the time oil finally began flowing through the pipeline, the same day that Trump Pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement,4 DAPL had already leaked.5 That’s the same fate that awaits hundreds of communities and tribes if the build out of DAPL and 4 new proposed tar sands pipelines is allowed to proceed.

But without loans, bond sales, and other forms of financial support, pipelines like DAPL, Keystone XL, Trans Mountain, Line 3, Energy East and other oil infrastructure won’t be built. In fact, just this week Dutch Bank ING announced plans to scale back and revisit financing of Tar Sands pipelines.6A lot of US banks also decided to sit out a round of financing for the Trans-Mountain pipeline.7

Our pressure is clearly having an impact on these banks, but to stop these pipelines for good, we all need to do our part to help protect water, Indigenous rights and our climate. You can help by showing up in person to deliver the message to these banks that it’s time to stop financing human rights abuses and environmental destruction.

Sign up here to host a #DeFundPipelines delivery even in Columbia – we’ll support you with a detailed how-to manual, sample materials, signs and a community support fund to help you pay for logistics.

Drew and the 198 methods crew

PS – Don’t stop now – you can also organize to get your city, tribe or local government to divest. Check in with our allies at Mazaskatalks.org to get connected and learn how.

Sign up to host an event near you »

1 – https://petitions.signforgood.com/DefundPipelines/?code=198
2 – http://www.ienearth.org/indigenous-environmental-network-advancing-petition-to-stop-financing-dapl-and-tar-sands-pipelines/
3 – https://theintercept.com/2017/06/21/as-standing-rock-camps-cleared-out-tigerswan-expanded-surveillance-to-array-of-progressive-causes/
– https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/2/as_oil_starts_to_flow_through
– https://www.democracynow.org/2017/6/2/part_2_private_security_firm_tigerswan
4 – http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/the-dakota-access-pipeline-went-online-today.html
5- https://www.thenation.com/article/the-fight-against-the-dakota-access-pipeline-is-not-over-heres-how-you-can-join/
6 – http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/dutch-bank-ing-to-cease-ties-to-tar-sands-pipelines-including-keystone-xl/
7 – http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Kinder-Morgan-secures-financial-backing-for-11249906.php
– https://www.ran.org/28_major_banks_warned_not_to_finance_trans_mountain_pipeline_expansion