August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, September 23, 2022

Arrests in Washington: Defenders protest secret fossil fuel dirty deal

Environmental and community leaders were arrested in a protest on Capitol Hill, calling on the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, and coal projects. The protest came one day after Manchin formally released his proposal, which had been first announced in July. After the bill was released, it was widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress.



Maria Harmon with Step Up Louisiana is escorted by police after her arrest in the Hart Senate Office Building. 

Lauren Maunus with Sunshine Movement is frisked by police after her arrest on Capitol Hill.
A group of environmental and community leaders were arrested in a protest on Capitol Hill, calling on the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, and coal projects. The protest came one day after Manchin formally released his proposal, which had been first announced in July. After the bill was released, it was widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress.
Leaders are led to a waiting police vehicle after their arrest on Capitol Hill. From left are Tom Goldtooth, Ebony Twilley Martin, center, and Jose Bravo, right. A group of environmental and community leaders were arrested in a protest on Capitol Hill, calling on the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, and coal projects. The protest came one day after Manchin formally released his proposal, which had been first announced in July. After the bill was released, it was widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress. Photo by Greenpeace media.


Environmental Leaders Arrested on Capitol Hill to Protest Schumer/Manchin Permit Deal
DeMareo Cooper, with The Center for Popular Democracy, talks with Capitol Polices Officers during his arrest. Photo by Greenpeace media. Cooper said, "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."

Women and youths leading the way were arrested as secret fossil fuel deal in Congress exposed.
"Climate activists stage a sit-in at the one open entrance to the Hart Senate Office Building to voice opposition to Sen. Joe Manchin’s “dirty deal” energy permitting legislation. All were arrested by USCP," reports journalist Bill Clark.

Secret Deal in Congress Exposed to Gut Environmental Protections and Fast Track Oil and Gas Pipelines


NOW: Police are moving to arrest Executive Directors of 11 climate and environmental justice organizations taking action at the Senate to stop Sen. Manchin. Organizations participating in the protest include the 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.
Greenpeace USA Co-Executive Director Ebony Twilley Martin was arrested in the Senate Hart Building trying to protest Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer’s #DirtyDeal to fast-track fossil fuel project approvals. "Big Oil continues to increase its profits while our communities carry the brunt of pollution and devastation," Ebony said before her arrest. "This #DirtyDeal proposed by Senators Manchin and Schumer makes us the sacrifice zone. Again."

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Sept. 22, 2022
Photos courtesy Greenpeace

WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 22, 2022 – Calling it the "Dirty Deal," eleven environmental and community leaders were arrested on Thursday. They urged the Senate to reject Senator Manchin’s proposal to undermine environmental and community review and fast-track oil, gas, coal and mining projects. 

Wenonah Hauter

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said, “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."

Those that participated in civil disobedience are all directors of prominent organizations, including national and regional environmental groups, community organizations, and labor unions.

The protest on Thursday came one day after Manchin formally released his Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, which had been first announced in July. 

Greenpeace said, "Since the bill’s released late Wednesday, it has been widely criticized by civil rights and environmental justice advocates, and members of Congress."

Jose Brave

José Bravo, Executive Director of Just Transition Alliance said, “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, but they will also 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.”

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.

Dirty Deal: Greenwashing 

Tom Goldtooth, arrested today, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said, “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," Goldtooth said.

Jennifer Krill during protest

Jennifer Krill, executive director of Earthworks, said, “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.

Mountain Valley Pipeline on Fast Track in Dirty Deal

The Guardian reports, "Scientists, health experts and environmental groups have condemned new legislation negotiated in secret by the fossil-fuel-friendly Democratic senator Joe Manchin and the Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, which will fast-track major energy projects by gutting clean water and environmental protections.

"The permitting bill published on Wednesday was the result of a deal between Manchin and Democratic leaders, which secured the West Virginia senator’s vote for Joe Biden’s historic climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which Manchin held up for months.

"The bill mandates all permits for the Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP), a project long delayed by environmental violations and judicial rulings, be issued within 30 days of passage and strips away virtually any scope for judicial review."

Congressman: No More Corporate Welfare to Fossil Fuel Industry

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, serving Michigan's 13th District, said on Twitter, the deal is worse than expected.

"Manchin's #DirtyDeal text is here and even worse than expected. This bill attempts to destroy our most important environmental laws and fast-tracks fossil fuel projects like MVP that will accelerate climate change and pollute frontline communities. Congress must vote this down."

"This fossil fuel wish list has no place on the Democratic agenda and I'm proud to stand with the more than 80 Democrats in Congress who have spoken out against this #DirtyDeal. We have the votes to protect our communities, we will not sacrifice them for fossil fuel company greed."

California Rep. Khanna, Silicon Valley, said, "Let me be clear, we cannot sell out frontline communities to the fossil fuel industry. I will not support any new laws that provide additional corporate welfare to the fossil fuel industry."

Honor the Earth said, "It would gut bedrock environmental protections, sacrifice, and silence frontline communities, and dramatically fast-track dirty fossil and mining projects – starting with Manchin’s permit-violating pet project, the fracked gas Mountain Valley Pipeline."

"Manchin’s alarming 'permit reform' legislation would recklessly undercut our climate goals, while hurting our just transition to sustainable clean energy."

"It would speed more of the fossil fuels creating climate chaos, while accelerating destructive industries aiming to profit from this chaos. It would steamroll Indigenous rights and voices, from the Bad River battle to stop Enbridge Line 5, to the Apache battle to protect Oak Flats from a massive Rio Tinto copper mine, to the Anishinaabe battle to protect the Mississippi watershed and wild rice from a toxic copper-nickel project," Honor the Earth said.

Jean Skinaway-Lawrence and Liz Skinaway, Sandy Lake Band of Mississippi Chippewa, said, "Our communities will not be silent as mining companies use the climate crisis to justify another land grab that threatens our lives and our culture. A green economy will only be built with respect for water and Indigenous rights." 


Directors from each organization released the following statements:

.

Ebony Twilley Martin in front of capitol before protest began

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.”

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

Kierán Suckling

“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 a time when we will not have to pit the 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.”

Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network:

Tom Goldtooth, in green, and Maria Harmon, in orange, are led to
waiting police vehicles after their arrest on Capitol Hill.

“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

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.”

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.”

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: 

Lauren Maunus

“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.”

Scientists send letter to protect public health

Below: More than 400 leading US scientists, doctors, and nurses speak out against Manchin’s cynical bill to expedite fossil fuel build-out and gut laws that protect public health. The letter just delivered to



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