Activists Shut Down API Event During DNC Convention
Yesterday environmental activists, Indigenous youth, and other concerned citizens disrupted a Politico event sponsored the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading American trade group of the fossil fuel industry. The event, “Energy and the Election at the DNC”, featured prominent Democratic lawmakers and energy advisors including, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Ed Rendell, former PA Gov., Trevor Houser, Hillary For America Energy Policy Advisor, and Heather Zichal, former Obama climate official.
Activists expressed deep concern that API-sponsored energy events at the DNC are still acceptable platforms for Democrats to attend, despite the oil and gas industry’s long history of climate denial and “dirty energy money” campaign donations. Over the last decade API has directly donated nearly $150,000 to Democrats, and its member corporations have donated many millions more. Inside the Politico event, advocates demanded the Democratic Party follow through on its climate commitments and take immediate steps to keep fossil fuels in the ground instead of blindly catering to oil and gas industry executives.
The actions commenced before the event began when activists unleashed a 400 square foot banner at a parking complex across the street that read, “Frackenlooper, Ban Fracking,” referencing Gov. Hickenlooper’s efforts in killing state policies that would implement a fracking ban, as well as suing local municipalities across Colorado who promulgated fracking bans.
Once inside the event, the well orchestrated action kicked off with Americans Against Fracking founder, David Braun, holding up a banner that read, “Toxic Industry Dollars Pollute Our Democracy.” While security guards and Politico staff struggled to remove Braun and confiscate his sign, myself and Colorado resident Mickey San Miguel used the opportunity to walk on stage so that Miguel, a resident of Weld County, Colorado could address Gov. Hickenlooper directly. You can see the action all go down by clicking the video below.
After being ejected from the event with David and Mickey, multiple waves ofdisruption took place, eventually forcing the event to eventually conclude earlier than scheduled. Politico’s Elana Schor, who was also acting as a moderator for the event, remarked after one of the later disruptions, “I think that’s the proverbial curtain dropping.” Meanwhile, outside of the event, activists awaited those departing the event with messages printed on signs that communicated the urgency of climate change and a call for a national ban on fracking.
This was a very successful example of peaceful direct action that communicated an important message to key Democrats and to API. I would like to thank the amazing work of all those who took part in the planning and execution of this action including friends from Oil Change International, WildEarth Guardians, Beyond Extreme Energy and Greenpeace USA. This will certainly not be the last time we are forced to descend on events that promote the continuous violence to our climate with the politicians who have been purchased by crude crash.