WASHINGTON—At 5:00am this morning over 40 youth and concerned citizens queued up in front of the Rayburn building and waited more than four hours to attend Rep. Chairman Ed Markey’s (D-Mass.) hearing in his House Energy and Environment Subcommittee to discuss offshore oil drilling safety and U.S. energy policy. When the doors opened at 9:20am, however, it was the oil lawyers and lobbyists that took the seats. There was only space for four out of the 40 members of the public who waited to be let in.
Below is a statement from Ginger Cassidy of Rainforest Action Network who attended the hearing.
“Where citizens should be sitting in congressional hearings we have oil lawyers and lobbyists, ensuring their interests at the expense of the public’s. Just behind me is a wall of Chevron lawyers hawking our representatives to protect business-as-usual even at a time when it is clear that business-as-usual for the oil industry is incredibly dangerous.
“The loose safety regulations, slack oversight and outright legislative support that our government provides for corporations—most egregiously dirty energy corporations—have been on clear display with the BP oil disaster. We are seeing all of Big Oil at today’s hearing, because this is an industry wide problem.
“Today’s hearing is a perfect illustration of the role that corporations play in our government. This revolving door between corporations and government is undermining our democracy and literally destroying our communities and environment.
“How many times do we have to see reckless corporations risking the lives and livelihoods of our communities while being subsidized and propped up by the very institutions that are supposed to be regulating them and protecting us?”
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org