Coalition Sends Message to DNC: Don’t Frack This UP
With both the presidential primaries winding down, both the DNC and GOP are developing their party platforms ahead of their respective conventions in July. The platforms are supposed to define a sort of consensus positions for each party’s candidates during the general election season. A sort of short list of what it means to be a Democrat or Republican in 2016.
Members of Environmental Action, along with our friends Climate Hawks Vote, Honor the Earth, Food & Water Watch, MoveOn and 350.org amassed over 95,000 signatures demanding that both parties include a national ban on fracking as part of their platforms (Click here to sign on if you haven’t already). Yesterday we headed to the first meeting of the DNC Platform committee in Washington, D.C., to deliver your signatures and have our voices heard.
You can check out the event by clicking on the video below.
Our coalition presented a wide array of reasons to support a national fracking ban immediately. Honor the Earth National Campaigns Director, Tara Houska, discussed the fact that fracking poisons sovereign Tribal lands and waters, and impacts the health of Native Americans as well as their culture and way of life. Emily Wurth, Water Program Director with Food & Water Watch, called for the DNC to stand with the people not the fossil fuel industry. And Brad Johnson, Executive Director of Climate Hawks Vote, discussed the need to include a litmus test for politicians who want to be considered climate champion — in short, climate champions don’t frack.
For my part, I discussed the notion that Democrats who castigate Republicans for being climate deniers but support fracking are themselves denying the science of climate change. That’s because methane gas is 84 times more powerful of a global warming pollutant than carbon dioxide and accounts for 25% of global warming emissions. As such, fracking and methane gas are not short term solutions for climate change…they are agents OF climate change. I also warned the DNC of the dangers when people cannot tell the difference between their allies and their adversaries. That confusion and anger has already lead to direct action where people shut down fracking operations and infrastructure. It can also lead them to shut down political establishments that don’t act on climate.
Once inside the actual platform hearing, it was clear that a national fracking ban was not on the agenda. But it was good to bump into my friend Bill McKibben who was selected to be on the platform committee by Senator Bernie Sanders. I think it’s safe to say that with Bill on the committee, the issue of fracking will certainly be put on the table.
But even with leaders like Bill at the table, and our coalition outside, we’re on a collision course between fracktivists and the DNC. That train-wreck might take place in Philadelphia during the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. The March, set to take place on July 24th, just before the Democratic National Convention will feature fracktivists and clean energy warriors bringing a list of demands to the DNC including:
- A ban on fracking and other unconventional extreme fossil fuel extraction methods – we must keep fossil fuels in the ground!
- A halt to the rapid and reckless expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure including gas and oil pipelines, frac sand mining, wastewater injection wells, gas storage facilities, fossil fuel power plants, bomb trains, and other dirty infrastructure across the United States.
- A ban on the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a halt to the approval of export facilities, and a continuation of the ban on crude oil exports.
- A stop to other dirty energy sources including incineration, nuclear power, and biomass.
- Environmental justice for all to end the disproportionate impacts on low-income communities and communities of color.
- Swift action to invest in solar, wind and other clean energy power sources and energy efficiency measures across the United States so that we can transition quickly to a 100% renewable energy economy.
- A just transition for workers who are employed by the fossil fuel industry, and policies to ensure that the new renewable energy economy provides living wage jobs and benefits communities across the country.
Stay tuned for how you can get involved in actions set at the DNC convention — and as we continue to press BOTH parties to ban fracking in their platforms and policy guidance.
We’ve already shut down fossil fuel operations and infrastructure and regulatory agencies like FERC. Now, if necessary, we will do the same thing to the political establishment. These parties are on notice and we demand they take notice by include a national fracking ban in your party platform immediately…for the climate, for the planet, for the people and for our future.