After the debt ceiling bill included the requirement to complete the fracked gas Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP) – when it couldn’t be built legally – several hundred of us gathered outside the White House on June 8 to raise our voices against the ecocide the Biden administration is overseeing. Several dozen of us risked arrest, with 20 of us elders and youth tied together with bandanas and scarves while sitting in rocking chairs (a continuation of the Rocking Chair Rebellion initiated by Beyond Extreme Energy and expanded by Third Act, two groups of mostly elders).
We had to raise our voices through our KN95 masks, since the air quality in Washington, D.C. was hazardous from all the climate change-impacted wildfire smoke drifting down from Canada. We all thought that would be a perfect day for Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and use his executive authority to DO something positive for the climate instead of all the horrible, destructive actions he’s taken lately to worsen the climate crisis, like approving the MVP, the Willow Project in Alaska (the largest oil drilling project ever on federal public lands) and a huge LNG project in Alaska (involving 870 miles of pipelines, a gas treatment plant and a huge liquefaction facility) – when the Arctic is already warming four times faster than the planet as a whole.
For example, Biden could halt crude oil exports, end offshore drilling and stop hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment in fossil fuel projects abroad. More ideas here from the Center for Biological Diversity.
I was happy to be tied to Rylee Haught, a militant 24-year-old from West Virginia, who is passionate about stopping the MVP but perhaps equally passionate about stopping all fossil fuel development. She’s part of the youth-led group Climate Defiance, which, though less than a year old, has been generating headlines not only in the progressive media but in the NYT, Washington Post and many other mainstream outlets for their very loud and angry but nonviolent confrontations with Biden administration energy officials (and Biden himself at one protest). Clarification: they are non-violent, but they are often roughed up by the protectors of the status quo. Case in point: a protest against Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Michigan in mid-June. These young people (and at least one older person) were disgusted by Granholm saying, “People are dying (due to the climate crisis). I’d be out there with them (protesters)…on the other hand…”
Here's a video clip of what happened.
And here’s the link to donate to them, which I just did and encourage you to do:
Here is a link to a 15-minute compilation of highlights from our June 8 action at the White House; and here’s a link to my Between the Lines segment featuring 5-1/2 minutes of the speech by Congressmember Rashida Tlaib, representing the environmental justice district of Detroit, MI, as she risked arrest with us.
In the end, nobody was arrested.
And here’s a link to this week’s Between the Lines segment, an interview with one of the leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance, representing 70 grassroots climate/enviro groups, about another poison pill in the debt ceiling bill: the so-called “permitting reform” that is reducing the impact that ordinary people can have on proposed projects that would directly affect them through the National Environmental Policy Act.