The message below comes to you from Patrick Robbins, an ally and activist working to promote wind power for Long Island's energy future for the following petition.
Sometimes you have a choice that’s just a no-brainer. Right now, Long Island is considering whether or not to lease part of the ocean off of its south shore for wind power. This area could generate up to 700 MW of energy for New York homes, and would be far enough offshore that most residents would never see it. The wind power companies are ready to go, and studies indicate that such a project would generate many thousands of jobs. Sounds great, right?
Here’s the thing—there’s also a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port being considered in the exact same location. This is Liberty Natural Gas’s Port Ambrose project, a dirty energy project that would take offshore wind in this area off the table. Port Ambrose would present a security and explosion risk by bringing giant tankers of liquefied natural gas into one of our country’s most heavily trafficked ports. It would be destructive to the marine environment both during construction and operation—according to the company, construction for the mainline alone would impact 197 acres of ocean floor. This would impact the bottom-dwelling species that make the ocean floor their home, with consequences all the way up the food chain.
Finally, Port Ambrose would lead to further fracking up and down the northeast. While the company claims that Port Ambrose will be for import only, this claim doesn’t stand up—the market trend for American shale gas right now is for exports, and the same company is currently working on another project in the U.K. where they could get far higher prices. Once Port Ambrose allows fracked gas to reach foreign markets, drilling suddenly becomes much more profitable, and measures like New York’s hard-won fracking ban begin to look much more tenuous. We know that fracking impacts our soil, our water, our air, our health and our climate in ways that we cannot allow. These are some of the reasons why the coastal community of Long Beach, which would be most directly impacted by Port Ambrose, has unanimously opposed the project, and why more and more elected officials are opposing Port Ambrose every week.
Fortunately, the choice isn’t settled yet. Both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have veto power over this project. We can make our voices heard by commenting on the Port Ambrose environmental impact statement, by signing this petition calling for Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie to veto the project, or by reaching out directly to Governor Cuomo and Governor Christie here.
Tell them to choose wind over LNG—because really, how easy a choice is that?
Patrick Robbins is the Communications and Development Coordinator for Sane Energy Project. He is an activist and author based out of Brooklyn, New York.
Last week we sent a strong statement with petitions to the U.S. government’s Export-Import Bank, telling them to stay away from the Great Barrier Reef coal port expansion — a deal that would wreck the Reef and cook the climate!
Now it’s time to amplify our message by making a call to the bank. Here’s how you can help:
Call this number: 1-800-565-EXIM (or 1-800-565-3946)
The line is open from 8am-8pm Eastern time.
Leave a message if your receive a recording. If you get a live operator, politely tell them why you called:
“I’m calling to tell the Ex-Im Bank not to finance Great Barrier Reef destruction! Please pass the following message on to chairman Hochberg. The proposed Abbot Point coal port in Australia would damage the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site, and cook the climate. It’s too dirty for Wall Street, and it’s too dirty for Ex-Im Bank. Don’t finance reef destruction!”
Fred Hochberg, chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, recently launched a brand new customer support hotline. So far, this new line has only been receiving about 30 calls a day, and Hochberg has said he wants to get more people using this number. Let’s set a new record for daily calls, and send a clear message: don’t finance reef destruction!
The bank isn’t used to having citizens weigh in on their decisions. But when it comes to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and preventing climate change, we can’t afford to remain silent. Let’s make sure that the U.S. Export-Import Bank knows we'll fight to stop them from financing reef destruction.
Our petition got their attention: they know the public is watching what they will do on this issue. Now drive the point home by making a personal phone call to the bank’s hotline.
1. "Great Barrier Reef protection plan 'ignores the threat of climate change'", The Guardian, October 27, 2014
2. "Fred Hochberg, Chairman & President, Export-Import Bank", Federal News Radio, December 4, 2014
For immediate release: February 3, 2015
contact: Claire Sandberg, 646-641-6431, firstname.lastname@example.org
EPA gives the president everything he needs to reject Keystone
In response to comments by the Environmental Protection Agency released today regarding the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline, Rainforest Action Network Climate Program Director Amanda Starbuck issued the following statement:
“The EPA’s comments today on Keystone XL confirm what we’ve long known to be true: that this pipeline would be an utter disaster for the climate. For a president who has pledged to reject the pipeline if it fails the climate test, these comments should be the final verdict on the matter. We look forward to President Obama heeding the EPA’s words and putting this pipeline to rest once and for all.”
Thanks to your pressure, several of the world’s largest banks have said “no” to financing a huge coal project that would put Australia’s Great Barrier Reef at risk.1 But now, news reports have revealed that the U.S. government’s Export-Import Bank is considering financing this destructive project.2
This is an outrage: The U.S. government should be investing in climate solutions, not throwing coal a financial lifeline and trashing a global treasure such as the Great Barrier Reef. Even Wall Street thinks the coal industry's plan to build a giant coal port in the middle of the reef is too toxic to fund; late last year, thanks to your activism, Rainforest Action Network secured commitments to steer clear of the project from four of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street. Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs all provided RAN with written promises to stay away from this climate- and reef-killing project.3 If this project is beyond the pale for Wall Street's biggest banks, there's no excuse for the U.S. government to commit taxpayer money to destroy the reef and turbocharge climate change.
We know that our pressure can help to stop the coal industry’s reef destruction. Thanks to your pressure, major banks have publicly committed not to fund this project, because it would be a disaster for the climate, the reef, and their bottom lines. Not only would this perpetuate climate chaos, the proposed Abbot Point expansion could threaten the breeding grounds of endangered green and loggerhead turtles.4 Now, it is time to use our voices to prevent the U.S. government from financing reef destruction.
Momentum is building to stop the coal industry from damaging the Great Barrier Reef. President Obama recently spoke out at a summit, urging Australia to protect the reef.5 Hundreds of thousands of global citizens have spoken out against reef destruction, and a group of ten European and U.S. banks has already walked away from the project. Now we need to make sure the U.S. government says “no” to coal port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef.
As an agency of the U.S. federal government, the Export-Import Bank’s mission is to finance the sale of U.S.-made products, not to finance foreign-owned coal ports across the world. If we speak up, Export-Import Bank chairman Fred Hochberg will hear us. Late last year, Hochberg urged the public to submit feedback about how the bank is doing. Now is the time to send a clear message that the taxpayer-supported Export-Import bank needs to stay away from the coal industry’s Great Barrier Reef destruction.
1. "US Banks baulk at Abbot Point coal port expansion", The Australian, October 28, 2014
2. "Adani lines up $1 bln Indian state bank loan for Australian coal venture", Reuters, November 17, 2014
3. "US banks vow not to fund Great Barrier Reef coal port, activists say", The Guardian, October 27, 2014
4. "Great Barrier Reef", United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
5. "Barack Obama confronts Australia over climate change", The Telegraph, November 15, 2014
I am alarmed at reports that the U.S. Export-Import Bank is considering funding Australia’s Abbot Point coal port expansion. The port expansion and the coal mines that would feed it would gravely damage the Great Barrier Reef and accelerate climate change. The resultant dredging and ship traffic would threaten one of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, a global treasure that is under protection as a World Heritage Site. The deal would pave the way to double coal production in Australia -- already one of the world’s biggest coal exporters -- in the midst of a climate emergency. Under no circumstances should U.S. taxpayer dollars fund this reckless and destructive project. Please make a public commitment not to bankroll the Abbot Point coal port expansion and associated rail and mine infrastructure.
The coal industry is embarking on a project that would do grave damage to the Great Barrier Reef by massively expanding the port at Abbot Point and building new coal mines in Queensland, Australia. The resultant dredging and ship traffic would devastate this delicate ecosystem, a global treasure that is under protection as a World Heritage Site. Additionally, the proposed Abbot Point expansion could threaten the breeding grounds of endangered green and loggerhead turtles.
The climate impacts would be catastrophic, as building out Abbot Point would mean a dramatic expansion of coal mining in Australia's Galilee Basin, one of the world's largest stores of carbon. The planned mega-mines would be among the largest in Australia, and would dramatically increase greenhouse gas pollution.
The coal industry needs international bank funding to make their reckless new project happen. Many global banks have already said “no” to financing the project. As a result of campaigning from Rainforest Action Network, U.S. banks Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have already ruled out financing for Abbot Point. Leading European investment banks, including HSBC, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank have made similar commitments.
Call on the U.S. Export-Import Bank to do the same.
Adani lines up $1 billion SBI loan for Australian coal venture, Reuters, November 17 2014
Great Barrier Reef protection plan 'ignores the threat of climate change', The Guardian, October 27 2014
Great Barrier Reef, Unesco
“This decision does nothing to alter the fundamental facts on Keystone. Not only does the pipeline present dire threats to Indigenous communities, ranchers, and the Ogallala aquifer, it miserably fails the administration’s own climate test. The millions of people who have joined the movement to stop this pipeline are looking to President Obama right now to choose the only option compatible with a stable climate: immediate rejection.”
Yesterday was a watershed moment in our fight to stop Keystone XL. Following weeks of criticism of the pipeline from President Obama, the White House confirmed that the president will veto Republican legislation to approve Keystone.1 That's great news for the climate and for our communities—and a huge victory for the #NoKXL movement. Now it's time for the president to reject the pipeline once and for all.
President Obama's veto threat is a testament to the dedication and resolve of millions of grassroots activists like you who have for years fought to stop this pipeline, against all odds. Together our movement has marched, written letters, sat in at the White House and along the route of the pipeline, and self-organized a large-scale network ready to do whatever it takes to win a rejection on Keystone. Thank you for your commitment.
Yesterday's announcement is the direct result of all of that hard work, and a milestone on the path to killing this pipeline for good. Now, let's take the next step, and push President Obama to reject Keystone once and for all.
The veto threat is welcome news, but our work isn't finished yet. The new Republican Congress has pledged to keep Keystone at the top of its agenda. Meanwhile, the White House says it's waiting for the results of the State Department approval process before making a final decision.
Enough. President Obama has all the information he needs to do the right thing and reject the pipeline today. He has said that he won't approve the Keystone XL pipeline if it significantly increases carbon pollution.2 Well, the evidence is in, and it is overwhelming: Keystone XL utterly fails the climate test. In fact, the pipeline would light the fuse to the continent’s biggest carbon bomb. It would kill any hope for keeping climate change within two degrees of warming. Any spill would devastate communities along the pipeline route, contaminate drinking water, and wreck delicate ecosystems.
President Obama's veto threat is a huge step in the right direction, but it's not enough. We need him to finish the job and issue a clear "no" on this disastrous project now. Call on him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline today.
1. "Obama Will Veto Keystone XL Legislation, White House Says", NPR, January 6, 2015
2. "Obama Won't Approve Keystone Pipeline Unless It Passes New Test", National Journal, June 26, 2013
New Environmental Protection Agency comments confirm: Keystone XL fails President Obama’s own climate test. Now more than ever, it’s time for the president to reject the pipeline once and for all.
In light of the new Environmental Protection Agency comments, submitted to the State Department review process, I’m writing to ask you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all.
The EPA comments confirm, in no uncertain terms: Keystone XL utterly fails the climate test that you set, when you affirmed that the project would go ahead only if it didn’t significantly increase carbon pollution.
In fact, the pipeline would light the fuse to the continent’s biggest carbon bomb and kill any hope for keeping climate change within two degrees of warming. Any spill would devastate communities along the pipeline route, contaminate drinking water and wreck delicate ecosystems.
Now more than ever, we need you to finish the job and issue a clear "NO" on this disastrous project now. I urge you to reject the Keystone XL pipeline today.
People gonna rise with the water,
We're gonna calm this crisis down,
I hear the voice of my great grand-daughter,
Saying "shut down Wall Street now!"
I’m really grateful. I’m really grateful to be part of a mass movement that dreams big and takes bold action.
Back in September, I woke up on a crisp clear New York morning and joined 3,000 people to shut down the city's financial district as a part of Flood Wall Street.
Responding to a call from the Climate Justice Alliance for civil disobedience actions to add urgency to the People’s Climate Mobilization, New York organizers issued an invitation to Flood Wall Street. As both the symbolic and literal epicenter of global capitalism, Wall Street’s main players were to be held accountable for funding the current climate crisis as well as actively opposing organized efforts to wean our economy off fossil fuels.
That morning, we gathered at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, just a few blocks from Wall Street, with the aim of disrupting business as usual. Opinion-makers like Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, Rebecca Solnit, as well as leaders from frontline communities from around the world spoke to the crowd while organizers convened tactical meetings, lawyers gave legal briefs and people organized into affinity groups. My (fairly large) affinity group that day was constituted of RAN co-workers and friends from Utah, North Carolina, Philadelphia and New York. We were part of a second block that moved into the street as soon as fences were dismantled. The entire march swarmed into Broadway from Battery Park. Thousands surrounded the Wall Street bull and sat in. The occupation quickly turned into a festival of resistance with songs, chants, the deployment of a 300 foot long banner and a bouncing carbon bubble (later popped on the bull's horn by the NYPD).
We occupied Broadway for the morning and afternoon, and then moved towards the streets that led to the stock exchange on Wall Street. Riot police had barricaded the entrance to Wall Street and activists tried to move past their formations. Eventually, Flood Wall Street entered into a multi-hour stand-off with the police that led to about 100 people being arrested after they refused to leave the street.
On September 22nd, we created a convergence of movement spaces that empower climate justice activists to fight back against power-holders and be critical of existing institutions while building solidarity and our own power. Most importantly we facilitated a bigger and bolder action for North American climate and climate justice movements. Organizers set out to bring the anti-establishment climate movement to the streets of New York. Just as anti-extraction activists had blockaded oil trains in Washington and Oregon and tar sands fighters had stopped work on the Utah tar sands, Flood Wall Street disrupted business as usual for the financial district of the world’s largest economy.
In 2014, leading global banks began to turn away from financing mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. For years, RAN and other organizations in Appalachia and around the world have warned banks of the severe human and environmental consequences of financing MTR coal. And finally, banks have begun to respond.
This year, building on commitments from two US banks, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, several other banks indicated that they would not finance the largest MTR producers. As of this spring, the French bank BNP Paribas had made a similar commitment, followed by the UK-based Royal Bank of Scotland in late Spring. Then, in August, the Swiss bank, UBS indicated that it too would no longer finance major MTR producers. Look for more banks to follow suit in early 2015.
Also in 2014, the environmental and health impacts of MTR became even harder for banks and coal companies to ignore. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice reached a record-setting $227.5 million settlement with Alpha Natural Resources over water contamination at 79 mine sites, which included several MTR mines. Additionally, a study published in October added to a growing body of scientific evidence linking mountaintop removal mining to severe health impacts. The study, conducted by researchers at West Virginia University, found that dust from MTR sites promoted lung cancer tumor growth.
Financially, the bottom fell out for the U.S. coal industry this year. Facing a trend of U.S. coal plant retirements and stubbornly low coal prices, MTR producers idled, sold, or spun-off mines, and one even filed for bankruptcy. Globally, coal producers fared little better in 2014, facing a sustained slump in global coal prices, fierce competition from renewable energy sources, and broad-based opposition to new coal mines and coal-fired power stations.
Undaunted by this environmental, human, and financial turmoil, a few banks have stubbornly clung on to their financing relationships with MTR producers. For example, Deutsche Bank extracted $2.7 million in fees this year from bankrupt James River Coal for investment banking services. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that both MTR producers and the broader coal industry are in deep trouble. As Bob Burton of RenewEconomy noted in his retrospective on 2014, “[e]ach defeat or delay for coal projects, each new scandal or coal-caused disaster, each new report documenting coal’s toll on human health and every incremental fall in the cost of wind and solar brings the coal industry’s day of reckoning ever closer.”