For Immediate Release
Mike Crocker, Greenpeace USA Media Officer, 202-319-2471; Nell Greenberg, Communications Manager, Rainforest Action Network, 510-847-9777; Anne Havemann, Communications Director, CCAN, 240-396-2022
Biggest Ever Civil Disobedience on Climate at Congressional Power Plant
1000+ Already Signed Up to Participate; Dr. James Hansen, Others to Protest Use of Coal
WASHINGTON - A national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health,
labor, social justice, faith-based and other advocacy groups today
announce plans to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol Power
Plant in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of March 2, 2009. The Capitol
Climate Action (CCA), the largest mass mobilization on global warming
in the country's history, reflects the growing public demand for bold
action to address the climate and energy crises.
"The Capitol Climate Action comes not a moment too soon. For more
than thirty years, scientists, environmentalists and people from all
walks of life have urged our leaders to take action to stop global
warming; and that action has yet to come," said Dr. James Hansen, one
of the world's leading climate scientists. Dr. Hansen will join the
protest. "Coal is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the
country and that must change. The world is waiting for the Obama
administration and Congress to lead the way forward on this defining
issue of our time. They need to start by getting coal out of Congress."
The Capitol Power Plant, which is owned by Congress and sits just
blocks from the American seat of power, burns coal to heat and cool
numerous buildings on Capitol Hill. The facility no longer generates
electricity but its reliance on coal - the country's biggest source of
global warming pollution and a documented health hazard - has made it
the focus of political controversy and a powerful symbol of coal's
impact on the environment and public health.
"This demonstration marks the beginning of a sustained effort to
draw a line in the sand against this dirty and dangerous fuel," said
Matt Leonard of Greenpeace, which is helping to organize the protest.
"Our leaders cannot promise us a healthy and prosperous future as long
as coal is polluting our soil, water and atmosphere."
"We can no longer wait for the changes we know we can, and must,
make today," continued Rebecca Tarbotton of Rainforest Action Network
(RAN), a lead sponsor of the action. "We've got to take the slogan ‘yes
we can' seriously. With a new administration and a new Congress, we
have a window of opportunity to build a clean energy economy that will
protect the health of our families, our climate and our future."
The diversity of groups involved in the action reflects the number
of people affected by global warming. Of all the fossil fuels, coal is
the single biggest contributor to global warming. Burning coal cuts
short at least 24,000 lives in the U.S. annually, inflicts catastrophic
damage to the landscape and water supplies, and jeopardizes the lives
of coal miners. Furthermore, the December coal ash spill in Tennessee
makes it clear that there is no adequate means of safely storing coal
"As the impacts of global warming accelerate, thousands of people
from all walks of life will join together in early March," said Mike
Tidwell of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN). "We will be
participating in the time-honored American tradition of peaceful
resistance, this time in the name of stopping the great moral wrong of
In response to public pressure, the House of Representatives
converted half of the plant's fuel to cleaner natural gas. But attempts
to remove coal from the fuel mix entirely have been blocked by powerful
coal-state Senators Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Mitch McConnell
A recent University of Massachusetts study found investing in clean
energy projects like wind power and mass transit creates three to four
times more jobs than the same expenditure on the coal industry. The
wind power sector has grown to employ more Americans than coal mining
as demand for clean energy has jumped over the past decade.
For a list of sponsors and more information about the Capitol Climate Action, visit www.capitolclimateaction.org.