Members of the Troublemakers protest against the GTN Xpress pipeline

Members of the Troublemakers activist group block an entrance to Amazon's headquarters in Seattle on March 27, 2024.

(Photo: The Troublemakers)

'Troublemakers' Block Amazon HQ Over Plan to Link Data Centers With Gas Pipeline

"Amazon is breaking its Climate Pledge by powering new data centers with fracked gas," said one member of the new activist group. "So we came to demand that they honor the pledge."

A recently formed group of climate activists on Wednesday shut down entrances to Amazon's downtown Seattle headquarters to protest the tech titan's plans to link some of its data centers with an upgraded fracked gas pipeline.

Members of the Troublemakers—who describe themselves as "an ever-growing community of people who are committed to taking action for life on Earth"—blockaded the doors to the Day 1 Building on 7th Ave. in opposition to Amazon Web Services' (AWS) plan to connect three data centers near Boardman, Oregon to TC Energy's Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) XPress Project.

As Common Dreamsreported last October, GTN XPress, which has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would upgrade compressor stations in Kootenai County, Idaho; Sherman County, Oregon; and Walla Walla County, Washington. TC Energy plans to boost the 60-year-old pipeline's capacity by 150 million cubic feet of fracked gas by increasing the conduit's pressure.

"The decision to use fracked gas from the GTN XPress adds to Amazon's carbon emissions problems," the Troublemakers said in a statement. "Amazon's 2022 carbon emissions totaled 71.27 million metric tons, marking an 18% rise from 2020 and a 40% surge since 2019, the year Amazon unveiled its Climate Pledge. This alarming trend is in stark contrast to the global imperative to halve emissions by 2030."

The group wrote in a March 19 letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy:

Amazon prides itself on innovation. Using fossil fuel is not innovation... It is relying on a dying technology that is killing the planet. Utilizing GTN XPress would increase Amazon's carbon footprint and contribute greatly to climate change... We urge you to publicly commit to financing solar or wind projects to provide clean energy for Amazon's operations, and reject the GTN XPress.

The Troublemakers are calling on Amazon to:

  • Publicly renounce the plan to connect to GTN XPress;
  • Commit to not powering AWS data centers with fossil fuels; and
  • Commit to using 100% renewable energy in each operation while funding wind and solar generation, storage, and distribution.

"We see Amazon's greenwashing every time we pass by Climate Pledge Arena," said Troublemaker Valerie Costa, who was referring to the home of the Seattle Kraken and Seattle Storm professional sports franchises. "Until Amazon drops its plan to buy fracked gas from GTN XPress, we'll keep showing up. Every fossil fuel project in the [Pacific Northwest] will be met with fierce resistance."

Leonard Sklar, a scientist and Troublemaker, asserted that "Amazon is breaking its Climate Pledge by powering new data centers with fracked gas. So we came to demand that they honor the pledge."

"We know they have the power to be 100% renewable energy," he added, "and that's what this moment requires."

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