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Climate Hearings on Climate Week

With scenes from the March to End Fossil Fuels

It’s Climate Week in New York City, which began with the impressive March to End Fossil Fuels through the center of Manhattan. The photographs in today’s newsletter are from the march.

Spotlight on Climate Week

Credit: Bill McKibben

There is an overwhelming array of events during Climate Week, but here’s a calendar of climate-justice events challenging extractive capitalism and envisioning a more sustainable future.

Last week, dozens of climate activists were arrested for blocking the headquarters of the fossil-fuel-financing giant BlackRock, for blocking the headquarters of fossil-fuel-financing giant Citigroup, and for staging an occupation of the Museum of Modern Art to protest Henry Kravis, the MoMA donor behind the fossil-fuel-financing giant KKR.

Speaking at the Climate Week opening summit on Sunday, London mayor Sadiq Khan warned that London will be crippled by 45°C (113°F) heat in the near future.

More than 100 protesters were arrested today after they marched from Zuccotti Park—the home of Occupy Wall Street—to the New York Federal Reserve.

This evening at 6:30 pm, Scientist Rebellion is hosting a screening of the documentary short Arresting Science, with climate scientist Peter Kalmus and climate activist Bill McKibben at the IFC Center in downtown Manhattan.

President Joe Biden is the only leader of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council attending this week’s UN General Assembly. He will address the assembly on Tuesday. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky is also in attendance, and will be coming to Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Credit: The InterReligious Task Force on Central America

We now turn our attention from Gotham to Washington, where House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is utterly failing to manage the Beetlevaping wing of his caucus in the run-up to the fiscal-year deadline of the end of the month. Republicans and their reliable plus-one in the climate fight, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), are continuing their death march to protect fossil fuels in several hearings.

Tuesday, September 19th

Tuesday morning, there are three House committee hearings attacking specific Biden climate policies: the Marine Sanctuary and Monument System, which protects vulnerable ocean waters from drilling and overfishing; the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed strengthening of the PM2.5 soot pollution rule; and the administration’s management of the federal onshore oil and gas program.

Also in the morning, House Transportation subcommittee chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) is holding a hearing with Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Deanne Criswell. The White House is seeking $12 billion in supplemental disaster relief in the wake of the most economically damaging year ever for climate disasters.

While the Senate Judiciary hearing on corporate manipulation of Chapter 11 bankruptcy will focus on Johnson & Johnson’s “Texas two-step” attempt to limit liability for asbestos in its baby powder, deliberate misuse of bankruptcy is rife in the fossil-fuel sector to evade accountability as well.

In the afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosts its Member Day for legislators to recommend policy priorities (i.e., earmarks), and the House Natural Resources federal lands subcommittee is holding a hearing to get testimony on bipartisan bills to improve access to public lands and deal with DC’s derelict RFK Stadium.

Credit: Bora Chang

Wednesday, September 20th

At 10 am, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifies before the House Transportation Committee.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) chairs an energy subcommittee hearing to promote the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act (H.R. 4045), which would expedite environmental permitting for hydropower projects. Federal officials including White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) chief of staff Matt Lee-Ashley and FERC official Terry Turpin will testify.

At the Science Committee, CEQ is in the hot seat for its proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations for federal contracting, which unwind Trump administration policies. Ceres director Steven Rothstein will testify alongside U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chad Whiteman and aerospace lobbyist Eric Fanning.

In the afternoon, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) chairs a Joint Economic Committee hearing on job training for the clean energy transition fueled by Biden’s energy and infrastructure legislation.

Wednesday afternoon also features a pair of hearings on the fossil-fueled Southwest drought: Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) chairs an environmental subcommittee hearing on drinking water and tribal communities, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) chairs an energy subcommittee hearing on drinking water and drought.

Credit: Michael Dill

Thursday, September 20th

At 10 AM, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) chairs a business meeting to vote on 26 pieces of legislation. In addition to legislation from Democrats expanding or establishing public lands, Republican bills of interest include Sen. Steve Daines’s (R-Mont.) so-called Community and Hydropower Improvement Act (S. 1521), a variant on the hydropower bill mentioned above; Sen. John Hoeven’s (R-N.D.) North Dakota Trust Lands Completion Act (S. 1088), which would transfer federal lands to the state of North Dakota to allow for drilling and other uses; and Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) Mining Schools Act (S. 912), which would set up a $10-million-per-year grant program for mining schools.

“We must be too big and too radical to ignore.”—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the march (D-N.Y.) Credit: Bryan Woolston

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