On Feb 24, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case to determine if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can cross the Appalachian trail. This is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about a pipeline in years. And the first chance in years to put a meaningful check on the power of pipelines and the fossil fuel industry.
Nor is this likely to be the last case the court hears on pipeline siting – other rulings striking down an ACP Compressor station and several other cases are moving through the courts challenge pipeline companies’ right to claim a ‘public necessity’ to take private land through eminent domain and degrade public benefits like health and climate.
While the legal teams for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Sierra Club make their case to the Justices inside the courtroom, we will demonstrate that a majority of the public outside the court wants a check on the power of fossil fuel and pipeline companies.
It is the responsibility of the Court to hold the interest of citizens in balance with the Executive and Legislative Branches of government. With the undue influence that fossil fuel and pipeline companies have currently, it is critical that we unify our movement through escalated action against all pipelines and to let our position be known.
A lot of details are To Be Determined, but this we know:
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an environmental and human rights disaster.
If built, the ACP would generate more than 67 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year — the equivalent of 20 coal plants.
It would require 38 miles of mountaintop removal and damage thousands of acres of farm and forest land.
What’s more, the ACP would disproportionately harm poor, African-American and Indigenous communities all along the route. The plan includes building an enormous fracked gas compressor stations in Union Hill — an African-American community of great historical and cultural significance in Virginia — and thirty thousand Native peoples live in the project area across North Carolina.
To demonstrate the seriousness of this issue, and our resolve to stop the ACP and all climate-wrecking pipelines, many of us are prepared to risk arrest at this event.
We will do nothing that is violent and nothing to disrupt the oral arguments, which we want to proceed and hope to win along with allies in Virginia and West Virginia who brought the case.
There will be roles and responsibilities for all who want them, just like there always are in our movement. To make it possible for as many people to participate as possible, we’ll host a communal breakfast, prayer vigil, and briefing on Monday February 24 for those who are able to join.
Duke Energy is seeking approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for a $290.8 million rate hike. If approved, the electric bill of a typical residential customer will rise by nearly $100 a year — all to pay for more dirty power, fracked gas, and pollution.
This is our chance to speak directly to NC Utilities Commissioners, the ones who oversee and regulate Duke Energy. They need to know how raising rates affects our climate and communities, especially people on fixed incomes and struggling families trying to make ends meet!
The best way to show them is to show up! Join us at the Mecklenburg county courthouse to learn more and speak out against Duke Energy’s Dirty Energy Rate Hike.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
This really good thread and podcast discussion by The Hot Take co-founder Mary Annaïse Heglar makes the argument that it’s not hope, but resolve, action, and some other things that are necessary in this moment.
I agree with both parts: that we need more hope, and that the antidote to fear is not hope, but action and conviction in the face of uncertainty. If you agree and are able, I hope you’ll click here to donate.
As has become a tradition, I’m going to tell the story of where our climate and common home is at with a series of charts and graphs. Next week I’ll send you a year in photos so you can look back at some of what we’ve done this year.
The fires in the Rainforest are both a symptom of climate-fueled draught, and also a cause of the loss of Arctic Sea Ice; which in turn is contributing to slower circulation of the Atlantic ocean current; and on and on.
There are a lot of climate emergencies happening all over the planet, and none of them are un-connected. Wherever you are, you’re likely seeing impacts, and your local impacts and emissions are fueling the crisis somewhere else.
That emissions are still rising is probably not a surprise, nor is the fact that we’re not doing enough to combat the climate crisis. If we were, emissions would be going down, right? But the distance between what we need to be doing, and what we say we are doing is also getting wider.
So there it is – the state of the climate movement in 4 charts, and it is NOT good.
We’re approaching a series of interconnected ‘tipping points’ of climate chaos much faster than expected.
That’s because emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are still going up despite years of promises by the world’s governments to reduce them.
Most devastating, the gap between what we say we will do, what we need to do, and what we are doing keeps getting wider.
That U.N. report was described as “Grim,” “Bleak” and “drastic” when it came out. But it was not without hope. The authors of the same report on the ambition gap wrote that, “the political focus on the climate crisis is growing in several countries, with voters and protesters, particularly youth, making it clear that it is their number one issue.”
Next week I’ll be back with a photo and video year in review of some of the amazing work we’e been a part of this year – from challenging Trump’s corrupt, climate denying cabinet; to shutting down DC as part of the global climate strike; and much much more.
Wanted to let you know about a series of upcoming actions in North Carolina to fight back against climate change. There are forums in Charlotte, and other cities this week, and a big march this Saturday, Nov 16, in Robeson County. Check out the details below, or click here to see all the events listed at our Facebook page.
Next up, join us Saturday, Nov 16, at the MARCH FOR JUSTICE in Robeson County, NC.
Piedmont Gas (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy) is proposing to build a one-billion-cubic-foot Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and processing facility in Robeson County. This is a predominantly indigenous (Lumbee) community within an 8 mile radius of the ACP route, creating a greater risk of explosions, leaks and accidents. And it is 4 miles from the town of Maxton, a predominantly African American town, creating more racism, pollution and perpetuating decades of Environmental In-Justice.
We’re teaming up with a big coalition of local and national groups to oppose the storage facility. And on Nov 16 we will walk together in celebration of our sacred lands and waters.
Here’s the short version of how we got here: FERC has seen record turnover since Trump was elected. With the departure of Democratic Commissioner Cherly LaFleur earlier this summer, there are only three commissioners left, two Republicans and one Democrat). That’s barely enough for a quorum, and gives the last remaining Democrat, Richard Glick extra leverage to block votes or halt projects by refusing to participate.
At the same time, there’s been an explosion in protests and opposition to pipelines. Inspired by campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, activists have been rising up to resist fossil fuel infrastructure from coast to coast. We’ve been part of a number of those campaigns and I know you have been too. At the same time, our allies have been suing every pipeline they can to slow them down and stop the approval process. And in a few very important instances, the combination of those tactics – the lawyers suing and the people protesting – have combined to stop big projects like Keystone and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
And that’s where Danly comes in: Fossil fuel profiteers and their cronies in the Trump Administration can only win in court if they have regulators who ignore the lower courts. They’ve succeeded in firing or driving out thousands of civil servants at the EPA and Interior Department, and replaced them with lifelong fossil fuel cronies like Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt. Those guys were put in charge because they were corrupt, but not cartoonish, as their predecessors Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke had been.
On Tuesday, October 15th, the fossil gas myth busting roadshow is coming to Raleigh and you’re invited!
Join friends from Friends of the Earth U.S., NC Warn, Oil Change International, and 350 Triangle; as well as community leaders, local organizations, and students to discuss why the expansion of gas infrastructure is an environmental justice and climate disaster.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper claims to be a climate leader, but has been in the pocket of Duke, Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for years. We’ve been calling him out, and now it’s time to tell everyone why gas is not safe or clean, and why there’s nothing natural about fracking and fracked gas.
This panel will discuss the impact of gas projects on communities in North Carolina, and how local organizations are planning to stop gas in its tracks. The data is clear: Emissions from burning gas alone are enough to overshoot the Paris climate goals and we can’t afford more gas infrastructure.
Gov. Cooper’s fossil-gas agenda has been devastating, harming the health and environmental quality of communities in North Carolina and accelerating the false narrative that gas has a role in the transition to renewable energy. Fracked gas and new pipelines are indefensible. Cooper has no grounds for promoting its use in North Carolina – because we need to move away from ALL fossil fuels immediately, including gas.
Join us and an inspiring panel of speakers who will address several ways the development of gas can’t be justified in these times, specifically in North Carolina. Here’s a quick rundown of who will be speaking (check out the facebook invite for more details):
William J. Barber III is the strategic partnerships associate at The Climate Reality Project and currently serves as the co-chair for the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign Ecological Devastation committee.
Sherri White-Williamson currently serves as a board member of the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) in Duplin County, North Carolina.
Jorden Revels is the Student Government Vice President at the University of North Carolina at Pemboke and holds a position as the Associate Minority Serving Institution Representative for the UNC’s Association of Student Government.
Donna Chavis currently serves as Senior Fossil Fuels Campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S. and has over 40 years of service in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on the local, state, and national level.
Lorne Stockman is a Senior Research Analyst at Oil Change International, where he researches and analyzes developments in the North American oil industry.
Now, as the global week of action comes to a close with more than 7 MILLION participants world wide, and major actions all over the US, I want to say THANK YOU; And I want to remind you that this is the beginning of the fight we were built for, not the end.
So as you check out the amazing stories, photos and videos below, I hope you’ll agree that it is worth it to build a community dedicated to the support of non violent direct action for the climate – and chip in what you can to support us.
September 20, around the world, #Strike with us.
Friday September 20 we followed the lead of global youth and took to the streets as part of the largest coordinated international action on climate change, ever. There were more than 1000 events in the US alone, and a record 4 million+ people participated in the strikes.
Activists were back in the Streets of DC by Friday for a march through downtown DC. This time, we focused on a section of Northwest DC where the Trump administration’s corrupt relationship with corporations and polluters is most clear – with stops at the EPA and Trump Hotel, as well as fossil-fuel-financiers Blackrock and Wells Fargo. Our march specifically called for Trump’s impeachment, and an end to fossil fuel fascism. While at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Congress continued its formal impeachment investigation of Trump’s corrupt polluter regime. Read more about it here.
Calling out NC Gov Roy Cooper’s Climate Hypocrisy.
So when Cooper showed up to claim credit as a climate hero by introducing a so-called Clean Energy Plan at a meeting of the NC Climate Change Interagency Council, we showed up to disrupt with old friends from the state.
The action was the next step in ongoing escalation to focus attention on frontline climate justice issues neglected by the Cooper Administration: Duke Energy’s fracked gas infrastructure development–including the ACP and MVP–and the increase in forest destruction being driven by Enviva.
Shut Down New England’s last coal plant #bucketbyBucket
The Merrimack Generating Station in Bow, NH, is the last big coal fired power plant in New England with no shut down date. It has polluted the air, water, and climate in New Hampshire for decades, but it still manages to steal millions of dollars in taxpayer in subsidies every year to keep running. So on Saturday, Sept. 28, we joined more than 300 activists from across new England to take matters into our own hands to stop climate chaos.
Nearly 70 people, including me, were arrested trying to enter the plant with shovels and buckets in hand. We were prepared to remove coal from the burn pile #BucketByBucket to literally pull fuel from the fires of climate change. Unfortunately, a large police presence including a helicopter, Drone surveillance and state police in riot gear prevented us from reaching the coal and we were arrested just a few hundred yards from our goal.
You remember North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper as the Democrat who promised climate action, but instead approved the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and colluded with Duke energy to mess with our communities and climate. Cooper is a leading example of the climate hypocrisy in the Democratic party.
Cooper’s latest swindle is his so-called Clean Energy Plan, which he’ll present later this week at a meeting of the NC Climate Change Interagency Council. Cooper’s latest plan is more of the same – flowery talk and platitudes wrapped around inaction on two of the biggest sources of climate pollution in North Carolina: fracked gas infrastructure and the wood pellet, or biomass, industry.
Governor Cooper recently made headlines and received high praise with the release of the state’s Clean Energy Plan. But until his administration stops approving new fossil fuel infrastructure and starts protecting our forests, we are calling him a climate hypocrite.