Progressives Push Biden To End Fossil Fuel Expansion, Protect Environment Of Vulnerable Communities

promises to protect our environment & mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Friday, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Member of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment, led her progressive colleagues in calling on President Biden to live up to his campaign promises to protect our environment & mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis.

“We write to you to express our grave concern that ongoing actions by your administration threaten to undermine our shared goal to further climate, racial, and economic justice,” the Members wrote. “Now is the time to use your authority under existing law to immediately stop fossil fuel expansion and declare a climate emergency as a fundamental part of your push to invest in good jobs, environmental justice, a just transition, and a future powered by renewable energy.”

“The failure of the United States government to phase out fossil fuels,” the Members continued, “is inextricably related to rising asthma rates and the fact that nearly every household in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley has lost someone to the deadly disease . . . The mistakes and failures that allowed Line 3 and other pipelines to proceed must not be repeated. Our communities demand better.”

Friday’s letter is the latest step in Congresswoman Bush’s efforts to hold the Biden Administration accountable to delivering on the platform it promised during the election. In April, Congresswoman Bush partnered with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez in introducing the Green New Deal for Cities, legislation that would make sure every city, town, county and tribe can have a federally funded Green New Deal.

In May, Congresswoman Bush introduced the Public Power Resolution to shift energy utilities towards true public and cooperative ownership, renewable energy, and transparent management. In July, the Congresswoman introduced an amendment that passed the House to transfer millions of dollars from the US Department of Fossil Energy to the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Later that summer, the Congresswoman joined her sisters in service, Reps. Tlaib, Pressley and Omar, at the site of the Line 3 pipeline. The Members travelled across the region to bring attention to the hypocrisy of Biden’s pledge to respect tribal sovereignty while allowing a major new pipeline to be built across Native lands.

“Our neighbors in St. Louis are already dying from extreme heat, dangerous floods, and pollution driven by the same fossil fuels driving the climate crisis,” said Congresswoman Bush. “So far, President Biden has been working with us on a great agenda of public investments, but his ongoing support for the fossil fuel industry threatens to undermine our work. The President is doing so much, but he is simply not doing everything he can to deliver climate justice and save lives – and we need him to now. We cannot allow fossil fuel leases and infrastructure projects to move forward and undermine our collective work – they represent a direct threat to Black, brown, and Indigenous lives.”

“The climate crisis threatens every aspect of our lives and disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable, including our Black, brown, Indigenous, and low-income neighbors,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “During my visit to Minnesota last month, I saw firsthand the type of devastation that fossil fuel projects like the Line 3 pipeline would have on these marginalized communities, and I see the devastation caused by climate change in my district every day. We must take urgent action to protect our planet and save our economy before it’s too late—starting at the top. President Biden must use his authority to immediately halt all fossil fuel burning and development, declare a climate emergency, and finally treat the climate crisis like the existential threat that it is.”

“President Biden has the power to stop dozens of highly polluting fossil fuel projects with a stroke of his pen, and he must do so immediately,” said Collin Rees, U.S. Campaigns Manager at Oil Change International. “Any commitment to environmental justice and climate action rings hollow until Biden takes bold executive action to fulfill his promises and protect Indigenous and frontline communities being impacted first and worst by the fossil fuel supply chain and its deadly climate impacts.”

“Right now, communities across the country are reeling from the impacts of the fossil fuel industry: we are suffocating from polluted air, children are sick from drinking contaminated water, families are fighting for survival as they face devastating climate disasters,” said Lauren Maunus, Sunrise Movement Advocacy Director. “President Biden must uphold his climate and environmental justice commitments, and explicitly reject and ban fossil fuel projects while working with communities to transition workers to safe, dignified, and good-paying jobs in a new clean energy economy. If he fails to do so, it’ll be a death sentence for our generation and the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities at the frontlines of fossil fuel pollution and climate destruction.”

“With every fossil fuel project approval, this administration pushes us closer to irreversible climate catastrophe,” said Kassie Siegel, Director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “President Biden needs to declare a national climate emergency and stop fueling it with oil, gas and coal.”

The letter is co-signed by Reps. Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Chairman James P. McGovern (MA-02).

The letter is endorsed by Food & Water Watch, Sunrise Movement, Amazon Watch, The Democracy Collaborative, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Our Revolution, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Zero Hour, Oil Change International, Climate Hawks Vote, Clean Energy Action, People’s Justice Council, The Climate Mobilization, Earth Action, Inc., Progressive Democrats of America, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Empower our Future – Colorado, and Our Revolution Michigan.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.

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