SAN FRANCISCO - October 11 -
When: 11:30 am Wednesday Oct 11th Where: Pombo Campaign HQ 6702 Inglewood Ave, Stockton, CA
Stockton, CA—On Wednesday, October 11th Ben Namakin, a climate change leader from Micronesia, will confront Pombo on his oil record and demand that he sign a pledge to no longer accept oil company campaign contributions. In the 2006 election cycle alone, Pombo has received $117,340 in contributions from oil and gas companies; the oil and gas industry makes up one of Pombo's five largest campaign contributors.
As chair of the House Resources Committee and a zealous advocate of major environmental rollbacks, Pombo has seemingly repaid the oil and gas industry by aggressively pushing for more public land to be opened to drilling including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the outer continental shelf, weakening the Endangered Species Act, selling off national parks and monuments, and changing the mining law to allow thousands or even millions of acres of public land to be transferred into private hands.
While Namakin's island of Micronesia is experiencing coastal erosion, contaminated drinking water, and landslides due to rising sea levels associated with global warming and the burning of fossil fuels; Pombo's committee staff has been enjoying travel sprees funded by industry interests, including Shell Oil and the American Gas Association, with expenses in 2003 and 2004 totaling $152,000 (as reported last year in High Country News).
About the devastating impact global warming has had on his home island of Micronesia, Namakin states: "We are the canaries in the coal mine! Can you imagine seeing your home sinking? It is only two to three meters above sea level where I grew up, if no action is taken by those who keep America addicted to oil and exacerbate the effects of global warming all over the world my home, my history will be gone in the next 25 years."
Namakin arrived in the United States in mid-September as part of an international delegation from communities severely impacted by oil addiction and global warming. The delegation, whose members hailed from the Arctic, Micronesia, the US Gulf Coast, Iraq and Nigeria, attended events in New York City and then spread out to communities throughout the United States to educate audiences about the need to separate oil and state.
"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our times, and without coordinated and immediate action, within a few decades our world will be a very different place than it is today," said Mike Hudema, the Independence from Oil Director at Global Exchange, the San Francisco-based human rights group sponsoring the oil and climate change speaking tour.