FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 2022

Contact:
Collin Rees, collin@priceofoil.org

Environmental Leaders Sit-In on Capitol Hill to Protest Schumer/Manchin Permit Deal
Civil disobedience by directors of national and community environmental groups comes the day after the text of Manchin’s bill is released

WASHINGTON, DC — A group of 13 environmental and community leaders are calling on the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, coal and mining projects. Those participating in civil disobedience are all directors of prominent organizations, including national and regional environmental groups, community organizations, and labor unions.

The protest came one day after Manchin formally released his Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, which had been first announced in July. Since the bill’s released late Wednesday, it has been widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress.

Organizations participating in the protest include Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Popular Democracy, Earthworks, Familias Unidas por La Justicia, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace USA, Indigenous Environmental Network, Just Transition Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Oil Change International, Step Up Louisiana, Sunrise Movement, Climate Justice Alliance, and United Steelworkers Local 675.

Directors from each organization released the following statements:

Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director of Oil Change International

“We cannot protect our climate without ending our reliance on fossil fuels and phasing out extraction. The data is clear on this. What’s more, frontline and Indigenous communities have been clear for decades that fossil fuels are not clean, not safe, and not needed. Manchin’s dirty deal would set us back on climate action and directly threaten the health and wellbeing of communities in the path of oil and gas projects.”

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity:

“Sen. Manchin’s proposal is a fossil-fueled travesty, and those who stand with it are setting their climate credibility on fire. We won’t tolerate the sacrifice of more communities and precious wildlife to line the pockets of fossil fuel profiteers. And we won’t relent in our efforts to stop this legislative disaster, which will only benefit fossil fuel companies, not renewable energy.”

DaMareo Cooper, Co-Executive Director of the Center For Popular Democracy Action:

“Today we call on Majority Leader Charles Schumer, the Senate and the White House to reject Senator Joe Manchin’s dirty deal. Climate change is the preeminent issue of our time and we’ve seen the drastic effects the lack of action from our leadership on this issue is having throughout our nation and the world — most recently in Puerto Rico with hurricane Fiona. This deal will do nothing but exacerbate the problem and lead to further death and destruction for countless communities. When the government puts the interests and profits of the American Petroleum Institute before the health of human beings and the ability of the planet to sustain life, it is nothing short of political corruption. It’s time that Congress prioritizes the needs of people over the interests of corporations, especially those whose entire business model depends on endangering communities.”

Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks: 

“We are here today calling on Senator Schumer to stand in solidarity with Indigenous and frontline leaders and stop Senator Manchin’s dirty permitting bill. Prioritizing the climate crisis means prioritizing environmental justice. Legislation that leads to more drilling and mining is precisely the kind of political side-dealing that has set us back from meeting our urgent climate goals.  It’s time for  Congressional Leadership  and the White House to  take the necessary actions to stop the exploitation of frontline communities, reform our mining policies and stand up to the fossil fuel industry. Congress has sacrificed people for corporate profits for far too long.”

Edgar Franks, Political Director of Familias Unidas por la Justicia (Independent Farmworker Union):

“We as a farmworker union want to stand on the side of environmental justice. We are one of the communities that are bearing the brunt of climate change and also some of the most disenfranchised politically. The IRA is filled with mechanisms that further widen the divide where we will be continued to be sacrificed for profits to the fossil fuel industry. We look for the time where we will not have to pit environment over jobs. As unions we need to be present and demand real solutions that are led by affected communities.”

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch:

“Senator Manchin’s bill is little more than a shameless handout to the fossil fuel industry — a green light for oil and gas companies to keep on digging, drilling, fracking and polluting. At a time when frontline communities and the entire planet are crying out for climate action and clean energy, this dirty backroom deal would drive us deeper into fossil fuel dependence for decades to come. For the sake of countless communities suffering air and water pollution today, and a livable climate for generations to come, this dirty permitting deal must be stopped.”

Ebony Twilley Martin, Co-Executive Director of Greenpeace USA: 

“Sens. Manchin and Schumer’s dirty deal is a disaster. Congress should protect people, not the polluters responsible for climate destruction. This is not permitting reform. This is a giveaway that benefits the oil and gas industry that lines its pockets at the expense of those affected by ongoing climate disasters and extreme weather. This dirty deal sacrifices communities of color that are already carrying the burden from decades of environmental injustice while driving all of us even further into climate devastation. Schumer and Manchin’s efforts to push this through while Congressional committees are investigating Big Oil’s tactics to delay climate action is an attempt to silence those of us who want to protect our communities from drilling in Black and Brown neighborhoods. We will not be silenced. We refuse to be silenced. This deal must be stopped.”

Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network:

“Manchin’s permitting reform bill, the Energy Independence and Security Act is a direct threat against the inherent sovereignty and jurisdictional authority of our Indigenous nations and its peoples to protect ourselves from this accelerating climate crisis. The content of the bill strips critical NEPA provisions that Indigenous and other environmental justice communities need in order to take action on destructive projects like pipelines. Pipelines like the Mountain Valley Pipeline will be built with impunity under this bill. This dirty deal will set a precedent for more destructive projects to be implemented without review. We must uplift and protect our Mother Earth, not repeal the minimal provisions that do exist. We must continue to fight against climate greenwashing and false solutions. We must take real action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

José Bravo, Executive Director of Just Transition Alliance: 

“Contrary to all of its environmental justice components, the Inflation Reduction Act sets out to burn billions of public dollars on dangerous and harmful technologies like carbon capture sequestration, nuclear power and bioenergy. Not only will these corporate techno-fixes fail to create additional jobs, they will expand the operations, market control and profits of the world’s largest polluters with massive subsidies that will keep critical investments from going to proven solutions such as local, distributed energy and zero waste. This plan will only increase toxic burdens and financial risk for communities of color and Indigenous communities — communities who were excluded from policy conversations that led to the Act’s arrival and who were once again sold out by racist and greedy politicians.”

Olivia Leirer, Co-Executive Director of New York Communities for Change: 

“This deal is not theoretical for us. It has real life consequences for our communities. Ten years ago during Hurricane Sandy, we saw the devastation and displacement it caused in our members’ lives and how they are still impacted today. This deal must be stopped. The planet and our communities cannot afford it.”

Maria Harmon, Co-Executive Director of Step Up Louisiana: 

“Our communities have been suffering for far too long from the impact of harmful pollution from petro-chemical, and gas and oil companies. I have family members who have died from rare forms of cancer and other terminal diseases by way of chemical exposure! Our lives have value and we deserve to live in healthy environments that provide us with opportunities to thrive! We cannot allow political deals to continue to sacrifice our lives and communities.”

Lauren Maunus, Advocacy Director for Sunrise Movement: 

“I’m angry and frustrated that this is how we have to spend our time after the Inflation Reduction Act — less than 50 days before the midterms — when we could and should be devoting our full attention to helping Democrats expand the majority and fight fascism. But instead, we are forced to pressure our leaders to stop a dangerous permitting deal that will impose suffering on the people and places we love. Stop the permitting deal now.”

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