FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Celina Lee, media [at] ggjalliance [dot] org
National alliance of grassroots groups call to stop legislation fast tracking fossil fuel projects and false climate solutions
Washington, D.C. — In response to the introduction of the energy permitting legislation that Senator Joe Manchin introduced today in the Senate, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, a national alliance of over 70 grassroots groups across the country, released the following statement:
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 introduced by Senator Joe Manchin in the Senate today is an environmental justice disaster. This bill would prioritize new fossil fuel projects and false climate solutions like carbon capture and sequestration that will only exacerbate existing harms onto Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and working class communities on the frontlines of extraction, industrial pollution, and climate chaos. Introducing this bill is completely negligent and disrespectful to frontline communities experiencing climate devastation — just this week, Hurricane Fiona wiped out electricity in Puerto Rico and damage from massive flooding in Alaska is still being uncovered.
Undoing bedrock environmental protections afforded by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) as this bill proposes would limit the very processes that frontline communities historically and effectively use to mitigate harmful projects like fossil fuel pipelines. A backdoor deal struck by Senators Manchin and Schumer, to which no other Senators were party, forces our communities into continued and dire sacrifice zones for the profit of the fossil fuel industry.
In solidarity with the frontlines, we call on Senators and Democratic leadership to take the moral position to defend our communities and a livable future, and block this bill. We call on allies to not back down from what is required by climate reality and justice in the face of fossil fuel violence.
GGJ members responding to the bill introduction:
“Climate change is exacerbating record storms in Western Alaska and Puerto Rico as we speak. America cannot afford to make fossil fuel development easier than it already is. What we need are robust environmental impact assessments that center the free, prior, and informed consent of frontline communities,” said Michaela Stith of Native Movement (Alaska).
“In Central Florida, we work with farm workers, construction workers, and many other workers in industries that deal with extreme heat and have to endure the effects of climate emergency every day. We also are celebrating the future closing of a power plant that has caused many issues for community members. Giving corporations easy access to building infrastructure that will accelerate the crisis we are in is irresponsible and goes contrary to the values our elected officials claim to hold. The impact of this climate emergency has uprooted people from their homes and forced them to piece together a start that wouldn’t have been necessary if we intervened sooner. We have done the hard work in centering our frontline communities and creating avenues to resist corporate greed. The choice for our elected officials is simple: reject this side deal or resign hundreds of thousands of workers and residents to catastrophe,” said Jonathan Alingu, Co-Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs With Justice.
“This Dirty Deal is another example of a False Solution being adopted by the federal government and it will continue infringing on local solutions being proposed by environmental justice communities. The Manchin Deal is being sold as a way to stimulate the economy and diversify the energy portfolio here in the U.S., but it is another loophole for corporate bailouts. The deal will make it harder to reach real zero emissions with publicly-owned renewables and real energy alternatives, which many frontline communities in the southwest are fighting for. This deal also threatens current federal safeguards and public processes to protect air, land, and water from fossil fuel extraction. Biden must use his executive power to reel back any violation of the democratic process this Dirty Deal seeks to gain by further exploding Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities calling for a Just Transition,” said Alejandría Lyons, New Mexico No False Solutions Coalition Coordinator.
“Stripping community protections is wrong, no matter who does it or what was traded for it. Luckily Democrats have a choice to not leave communities behind and separate the permitting destruction bill from the funding of our government. This is a moral choice, to uphold the promise to one man and turn your back on millions of people or stand with environmental communities that are facing the worst consequences of climate change. This week Puerto Rico has no power as a result of another hurricane. We cannot let fossil fuel projects be rubber stamped moving forward in exchange for some dollars,” said Maria-Lopez Nunez, Director of Environmental Justice and Community Development for Ironbound Community Corporation.
“The dirty energy side deal that Senator Joe Manchin is trying to plow through outside of normal democratic procedure is an affront to environmental justice communities. This bill which dismantles some of the fundamental protections of NEPA and the Clean Water Act that have protected communities for decades is simply a fossil fuel handout. This shady back-room deal gives fossil fuels another free pass to lay waste to communities, all under the guise of permitting ‘reform,’” said Adrien Salazar, Policy Director of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. “The proposal recklessly tosses aside the lives of Black and Indigenous peoples, and People of Color who have borne the significant brunt of the impacts of oil and gas extraction and climate pollution. We call on all champions of environmental justice to oppose this dirty energy deal. It must be removed from any must-pass legislation and not be allowed to harm communities.”
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