Progressive climate activists plan to occupy the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington DC today in protest at the first hires of Joe Biden’s key personnel with connections to the oil and gas industry.
They hope to send the president-elect the message that they helped him win and hope that he will deliver on his commitments to meaningful and justice-focused climate action, including as he makes decisions about his cabinet, which will play a significant role in execution. your plan.
The groups, which include the U.S. Climate Action Network, the youth-led Sunrise Movement, the Alliance for Climate Justice and the Indigenous Environmental Network, will be camping overnight on the sidewalks around the building, despite the low temperatures.
They will hold a rally this afternoon with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, who co-sponsored a proposal for a Green New Deal. Other members of Congress scheduled to speak include Ilhan Omar and Ro Khanna, and recently elected Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush. Participants said they will take steps to keep their distance and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The action is an early sign that environmental advocates who supported Biden and worked to oust President Donald Trump intend to keep the pressure on the administration.
“We don’t feel like we want to be in a confrontational pose, but if we have to, we will be,” said Keya Chatterjee, executive director of the US Climate Action Network. “Right now is the time to take a lot of decisions about whether or not to have the right staff to be really ambitious in an ecological recovery and do everything they had ”.
One of Biden’s first hires was Congressman Cedric Richmond, a representative from Louisiana who has come under scrutiny for accepting donations from the fossil fuel industry. His constituents have complained that he had not previously engaged with them in his campaign to reduce toxic air pollution and address serious public health problems.
“[Knowing] how deeply intertwined it is with the fossil fuel industry doesn’t give us much hope or faith that the Biden administration will deliver on its promises on climate, “said Ashley McCray, organizer of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Aside from Richmond and other rumored hires, the groups said they have been disappointed to see Biden’s transition website it seemed to include climate justice as an afterthought and did not specifically include the campaign’s commitment to direct 40% of green spending towards vulnerable communities.
A contender to head the energy department, the Obama-era energy secretary Ernest moniz, has done research for the gas industry and is on the board of a highly polluting energy company.
However, advocates for justice are hopeful that Biden name of representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico, to direct the department of the interior. She would be the first Native American cabinet secretary.
Biden repeatedly insisted during the campaign that he would not ban fracking, a drilling method that spurred a boom in gas production in the United States. He also said he would not pursue a Green New Deal, a progressive, extensive spending proposal to combat both climate change and social inequality.
McCray said indigenous communities are concerned that Biden’s climate work will not help them personally, if it allows the oil and gas industry to continue polluting near them by accepting emissions trading schemes or technologies to capture the gases they heat. the planet of fossil fuels.
“We recognize that while these movements appear radical or progressive to centrists or moderates or just to the general American public, to indigenous communities who are literally on the ground fighting for their communities, fighting for their lives and fighting for future generations, this is something we’ve been keeping a good eye on, “McCray said.
Anthony Rogers-Wright, policy coordinator for the Climate Justice Alliance, said that “the only reason there is a Biden administration is because the environmental justice communities – black people, specifically, brown people, indigenous people, Asians – voted for this now president-elect. “
“We want to make sure that we are sending the message clearly, we hope that he follows and focuses the environmental justice communities, and does not treat them as a box to check.”
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