FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Molly Morabito, MMorabito@biologicaldiversity.org
Jennifer K. Falcon, Jennifer@fossilfree.media
(San Francisco, CA) – Yesterday, over 50 protestors gathered at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) office to protest the dirty pipeline deal negotiated by House and Senate leadership that would fast-track fossil fuel projects. Activists staged a sit-in inside the building to demand that Senator Feinstein, Speaker Pelosi, and all Members of Congress commit to stopping this dirty deal written by and for the fossil fuel industry that will perpetuate environmental racism and throw frontline communities under the bus. Six activists were arrested while awaiting commitment from the Senator to oppose any legislation that fast-tracks fossil fuel projects or stripped away environmental protections.
Over 50 climate activists with 350 Bay Area, Ikiya Collective, Extinction Rebellion SF Bay Area, Oil & Gas Action Network, Sunrise Bay Area, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, Food & Water Watch, and the People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition demonstrated with banners, posters, and oil tanks to symbolize the destruction that would be caused if this dirty deal is introduced and allowed to pass in Congress.
“Time and again our elected leaders cut deals that affect land and life for generations without any input from the people they represent,” said Nik Evasco, 350 Bay Area, one of the activists who participated in the sit-in. “Reclaiming public space to demand a clear answer from Senator Feinstein on whether or not she opposes the policy written by fossil fuel lobbyists should not be the only option we have to speak to our representative. Unfortunately, that’s what it has come to and we’re prepared to continue this strategy until our demands are heard.”
As part of his price to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) negotiated for a separate piece of legislation that would fast-track permit approvals for fossil fuel projects. While the official legislation has not been introduced, the one-page summary of the provisions of the deal that Manchin released guts bedrock environmental protections, endangers public health, fast-tracks fossil fuel expansion projects, and rubber stamps Manchin’s pet project–the Mountain Valley Pipeline–a failing fracked gas project with devastating climate and public health impacts. The draft legislative text that has been circulating bears a watermark from the American Petroleum Institute.
“While it is absolutely vital that Congress take action on the climate crisis, we must not allow legislation that guts crucial aspects of NEPA and the Clean Water Act, furthers fossil fuel expansion, or sacrifices frontline communities — no community is disposable!” said Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), who spoke at the rally. “Members of Congress must stop the Inflation Reduction Act’s dirty side deal from going any further. To avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we need transformative policies that end dependence on fossil fuels and the perpetuation of environmental racism, Indigenous rights violations, and sacrificed communities. With the escalation of climate-induced fires, floods and heat waves globally, business as usual must not and cannot continue — we need bold climate action, which includes President Biden declaring a Climate Emergency, stopping all new fossil fuel expansion, and investing in an immediate, just, and equitable energy transition. We will not give up on a thriving and healthy future for all generations, and that means ending the tyranny of the fossil fuel industry, listening to frontline leadership, and claiming a Climate Emergency now.”
This rally builds on mounting grassroots resistance and protests across the country targeting Democratic leadership in opposition to this dirty deal. Over 650+ organizations from across the country have called on House and Senate leaders to stop this deal and end fossil fuel handouts.