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People power vs. carbon capital
Cutting ties to a system of death and destruction
PRESENTED BY LONG-TAILED TITS
This afternoon at 6 PM, climate activist and writer Bill McKibben, who organized the elder generation’s Stop Dirty Banks protests around the nation yesterday, helps out the younger generation by headlining a DC fundraiser for Climate Defiance, the youth climate activists planning to blockade the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 29th.
For the first time, the coal-fired power plant in Bow, New Hampshire has failed to win funding from an annual program designed to guarantee future electricity supplies, a sign the last coal plant in New England is increasingly unneeded. Activists with No Coal No Gas, who have repeatedly blockaded coal shipments to the plant, are now seeking a shutdown date for the plant.
A powerful sign of the effectiveness of this form of activism is the extreme response by the state, as Grist’s Naveena Sadasivam writes. “In Utah, protests that hinder the functioning of fossil fuel infrastructure could now lead to at least five years in prison. The new rules make Utah the 19th state in the country to pass legislation with stiffer penalties for protesting at so-called critical infrastructure sites, which include oil and gas facilities, power plants, and railroads. The new laws proliferated in the aftermath of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017.”
Supporters of the legislation are lumping climate activists engaging in non-violent civil disobedience against fossil-fuel projects with extreme-right militants launching destructive attacks on electric substations and thieves stripping facilities of copper wire, a worrisome assault on peaceful First Amendment protests.
At 10 am, Senate Budget chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) holds his latest climate hearing on the effect of fossil-fueled weather disasters on insurance markets. Witnesses range from the corporate (Eric Anderson, President, Aon) to the GOP-invited climate-science denier (Dr. Judith Curry). Wharton professor Benjamin Keys, has explored how sea level rise has already disrupted housing markets, and actuary Nancy Watkins specializes in climate resilience insurance planning.
Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee chaired by Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) holds a hearing on improving rail safety in response to the East Palestine derailment, with Ohio’s senators and governor Mike DeWine (R), followed by a panel including Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw and National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy.
At 11:30 am, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) lead a press conference at the House Triangle to re-introduce the Environmental Justice for All Act, now named in honor of the bill’s recently passed co-sponsor, Rep. Donald McEachin. Many prominent environmental justice advocates will also be on hand. (Livestream here.)
Cabinet members are also heading to the Senate to discuss President Biden’s proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget: EPA Administrator Michael Regan; U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore; Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; and Small Business Administration administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. Check out Hill Heat’s detailed post on the budget hearings for more.
FIGHTING BACK: On Monday, activists with ShutDown DC prevented White House climate advisor Ali Zaidi from speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’s Future of U.S. Climate & Energy Leadership event. The activists protested the White House decision to grant ConocoPhillips the Willow oil project in Alaska, chanting “Keep your promise, no new drilling,” for several minutes. ConocoPhillips is one of many fossil-fuel donors to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Residents of a Louisiana’s St. James Parish, at the heart of Cancer Alley, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday for civil rights, environmental justice and religious liberty violations for the approval of several petrochemical factories in the two Black districts of the parish.
Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president, has dramatically increased his country’s reforestation goals to 1.85 million acres by 2026 as part of a bold climate agenda.
More than 100,000 Californians are still without power after the twelfth extreme storm this year hit their state Tuesday, this one a powerful extratropical cyclone. Intense thunderstorms struck San Francisco Bay as 100-mile-per-hour winds hit southern California, with three inches of rain recorded in Los Angeles. In San Joaquin Valley, a levee holding back floodwaters was intentionally breached with a backhoe, flooding the small, low-income, Black and Latino community of Allensworth. Five more feet of snow piled up in the Sierra Nevadas, presaging a long and catastrophic flood season ahead.
Hearings on the Hill:
10 AM: Senate Environment and Public Works
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget
10 AM: Senate Budget
Risky Business: How Climate Change is Changing Insurance Markets
10 AM: House Transportation and Infrastructure
Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
Roundtable: State of Federal Real Estate
10 AM: Senate Appropriations
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
A Review of the Fiscal Year 2024 President’s Budget for the U.S. Forest Service
10 AM: Senate Appropriations
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of State
10 AM: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Marine Debris Legislation and Improving Rail Safety in Response to the East Palestine Derailment
2:30 PM: Senate Judiciary
Immigration, Citizenship, & Border Safety
Living Up to America’s Promise: The Need to Bolster the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
2:30 PM: Senate Indian Affairs
Roundtable Discussion titled “Native Priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill Reauthorization”
2:30 PM: Senate Appropriations
Financial Services and General Government
Review of the FY 2024 Budget for the Department of the Treasury
2:45 PM: Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Oversight of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Proposal
Climate Action Today:
11:30 AM: House Natural Resources
Press Conference to Introduce A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act
6 PM: Climate Defiance
Climate Defiance Launch Fundraiser - with Bill McKibben