Friday, May 20, 2011
D.C. Rising Tide joined with DC Solar United Neighborhoods (SUN) today to demand that Pepco(al) bring them distributed renewable energy, not electricity from coal, other fossil fuels, or nuclear energy. The groups protested Pepcoal during the corporation's annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in downtown D.C.
The D.C. residents chalked the sidewalk with coal and handed coal to shareholders to tell Pepcoal that we don't want their dirty coal. Others chanted out "Now is the hour for solar power" and "No more Pepcoal!"
Pepco continues to give DC residents electricity mainly from coal, including coal from mountaintop removal. The corporation has impeded efforts to promote solar energy in DC, and has even rejected a shareholder resolution to help make them move towards renewable energy.
"The currents of climate justice are coming to Pepco(al). It's time for them to dump the fossil fuels and nuclear and amp up the renewable energy. If they don't, we need to move immediately to create a people's utility instead," said DC Rising Tide member Lacy MacAuley.
The protest comes as the shareholders of Pepco Holdings Inc meet for their annual general meeting but fail to discuss a shareholder resolution filed to make the company support distributed solar energy in the District. DC SUN member John Capozzi, also a Pepco shareholder, filed a shareholder resolution in 2010 to force the company to work to facilitate residential solar projects in the District. But Pepco(al) and the Securities and Exchange Commission dismissed the shareholder resolution based on the erroneous claim that it only addressed the company's regular business operations.
"We want access to solar and we don't want Pepco to keep dragging its feet about it," said Robert Robinson of the DC Solar United Neighborhoods (DC SUN).
DC Rising Tide members also called for the corporation to pay reparations for their past and ongoing harm to communities and the environment. The company, for example, has declined to clean up and pay up for its PCB pollution of the Anacostia River from its Benning Road facility.
"It's time for Pepco(al) to change or be fired," said MacAuley. A number of concerned residents indicated that they would prefer a more accountable municipal utility. Montgomery County has already been discussing creating a public utility company that would be more accountable than Pepco(al), and the idea is gaining in popularity in DC as well.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The DC residents tied a banner across the doors of the Government Affairs offices of British Petroleum in DC to send them a message, on the anniversary of the start of the Gulf disaster, that corporate polluters will be held accountable.
"BP is guilty of poisoning the Gulf and its communities. It is time for justice," said one of the activists. "The extraction of fossil fuels is killing communities and our planet. It must end," added another.
Monday, April 18, 2011
April 18, 2011
BREAKING: Activists Staging Sit-in at Dept. of Interior Demanding Phase Out of Fossil Fuels
Residents from Gulf Coast, Appalachia and interior West join students and climate justice activists in calling for more action on extractive industry.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Parkin; on site mobile- 415-235-0596;
Henia Belalia; on site mobile- 510-529-8927
Photos: available upon request.
Washington D.C.—Hundreds of climate activists marched to the Department of the Interior’s headquarters today, with twenty people committing civil disobedience inside, calling for the abolition of offshore oil drilling, coal mining and tar sands extraction. Reclaim Power led hundreds from Lafayette Park to the agency’s headquarters in Washington D.C. the same day after Powershift, a mass youth climate conference, ended and 2 days before the one year anniversary of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster.
The Dept. of Interior has oversight over two agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), which are responsible for the BP Oil Spill, mountaintop removal coal mining and tar sands oil drilling in southern Utah. Furthermore, the Dept. of Interior just opened up over 7,000 acres of land to industry for coal extraction in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
“Our demonstration today is to show that Wyoming might be small in population but mighty in heart,” said Kevin Uransky, a resident from Wyoming’s coalfields and member of High Country Rising Tide participating in the sit-in. “We don’t want to just stand by and allow big corporations to destroy our homes, our way of life, and some of last open, beautiful, and undeveloped terrain left in the United States. We want to show that Wyoming has a voice not to be drowned out by those of more represented states, we have a voice, we have an opinion, and we want to be heard.”
Reclaim Power is being led by residents of residents of the Gulf Coast, Appalachia and the interior West – regions directly impacted by heinous oil, gas and coal extractive industries. Participants are calling for the Obama Administration and the federal agency to phase out harmful mining and drilling practices and facilitate transitions to sustainable local energy systems.
“The Dept. of Interior has been allowing the killing of my community and Appalachia’s mountains by the coal industry for decades” said Junior Walk from Boone County, West Virginia. “King Coal has poisoned Appalachia with toxic water, toxic air and toxic waste. It’s time for real action, not merely political posturing. I commend these fiery activists taking risks and making change for our communities and the climate.”
“For all practical purposes, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast function as a third world resource colony within the US. For a hundred years, our people and ecosystems have been sacrificed to provide cheap energy and big profits,” said Devin Martin, a native Cajun from southern Louisiana. “We pay for the hidden costs of oil and gas with our health and our lives through air pollution, oil spills, and a completely corrupted state government. We already lose a football field of coastal marsh every 38 minutes, and now rising sea levels from climate change will put my home, including New Orleans, under water permanently.”
Reclaim Power also seeks to highlight the ruthless manner in which extractive industries are allowed to treat workers and the communities they operate in. “Obama’s administration allows oil and coal to make millions from the natural resources in our communities and leave behind nothing but misery,” said Ben Kessler of Rising Tide North Texas, a participant in the sit-in. “The 11 workers who died on BP’s oil rig and the 29 who perished in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine were killed by the same thing; corporate greed. These deaths are not accidents. They are the direct result of these companies cutting corners in pursuit of profit. Obama and his Dept. of Interior are complicit in this.”
“It’s called “public land,” not “industry land” and in Utah public land is most valuable exactly the way it is,” said Ashley Anderson, co-founder of climate group Peaceful Uprising and a student at the University of Utah. “The Dept. of Interior will not be permitted to sacrifice public land to an outdated deadly industry. Residents in Utah intend to keep the carbon in its public lands in the ground. We warn the Dept. of Interior: dirty energy is the public’s enemy, and a friend of our enemy is our enemy.”
Obama’s Dept. of Interior allows the fossil fuel industry to run amok on eco-systems, communities, workers and local economies. Last year’s, Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and spilled over 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The results have devastated local economies, fisheries and wetlands. Mountaintop removal is a radical form of coal mining in which up to 800 feet, sometimes more, of densely forested mountaintops are literally blown up to reach thin coal seams. Already, 500 mountains and 2,000 miles of streams have been lost due to this devastating mining practice. It has been recently discovered that oil companies in southern Utah greatly exaggerated the acres of land to be developed for tar sands extraction from 60 to over 30,000. The 758 million tons of coal to be extracted from the four competitive leases in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin will be the equivalent of 300 new coal-fired power plants.
Today’s march and sit-in are a preview to Rising Tide North America’s “Day of Action against Extraction” happening in two days on April 20th, the anniversary of the BP Oil Spill. The day of action will feature protests by Gulf Coast residents fighting offshore drilling, Appalachians resisting mountaintop removal coal mining, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York residents opposing natural gas hydrofracking, Canadians fighting tar sands mining in Alberta, as well as other community groups engaged in fights against extractive industries. Protests are also planned for the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
Reclaim Power’s and the April 20th’s Day of Action against Extraction demands include:
- An immediate phase out of fossil fuel extraction and a just transition to truly sustainable forms of energy
- Community control over natural resources
- Recognizing the sovereignty of indigenous nations and their right to control resources on their lands.
- Reparations from both state and corporate entities that have profited from extraction in order to fund ecological restoration, full health coverage, and sustainable livelihoods in impacted communities.
For more information please visit www.extractionaction.net
Rising Tide North America is an all volunteer climate justice network with over 50 chapters and local contacts that works to confront the root causes of climate change.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Greenwash Guerrillas added additional characters to the “PEPCO” sign on the company’s headquarters building, so that it read "PEPCOAL." Hundreds of fake Pepco advertisements also went up in the DC metrorail system late last night. The Fossil Fool’s Day advertisements highlight Pepco’s continued delivery of electricity from harmful fossil fuels, including coal from mountaintop removal mining.
The press release from Greenwash Guerrillas stated that Pepco is delivering electricity to DC that comes mostly from burning coal, including coal from mountaintop removal mining. The company provided 0 percent of its electricity from solar energy, and less than 2 percent from wind energy in 2010.
This Fossil Fool’s day prank follows the Greenwash Guerrilla prank in 2010, when thousands of letters were distributed to Pepco customers stating that "Pepco is going green" and making radical changes to its infrastructure to shift to wind and solar energy. The letters appeared to be a customer notice from Joseph M. Rigby, chief executive of Pepco's parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc. Pepco was forced to make public comment on the letters, as noted in the Washington Post. A mock website, www.pepco-green.com, looked similar to www.pepco.com, and announced the greening initiative.
More info and photos on D.C. Indymedia