The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Biden Urged by 145 Groups to Ban Fossil Fuel Representatives in Campaign & Administration



Today, 145 groups sent a joint letter urging Joe Biden to ban all fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, and representatives from any advisory or official position on his campaign, transition team, cabinet, and administration. The groups ranged from progressive to youth to faith to environmental justice to climate groups and beyond, and cited new polling from Data for Progress and Fossil Free Media showing strong opposition to fossil fuel representatives serving in a Biden administration.

Click here to read the joint letter from 145 groups to the Biden campaign.

"My generation is on the line and Biden will lose significant support from young people, as well as everyone else concerned about climate change, were he to allow any fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, or other representatives onto his campaign or administration in any form. Joe Biden has made a commitment to an aggressive climate plan but no climate action commitment can stand in the face of fossil fuel influence. If Biden truly cares about young people like me, he will ban any fossil fuel representatives from taking part in his team," said Lana Weidgenant, Deputy Director of Partnerships at Zero Hour.

"Joe Biden can't address the climate crisis while listening to people taking checks from the fossil fuel industry like Ernest Moniz, Jason Bordoff, Ken Salazar, and Heather Zichal. Biden must act boldly in collaboration with grassroots leaders fighting for environmental and climate justice--which means ruling out positions for dangerous 'all-of-the-above' boosters whose time has passed," said Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change U.S.

"In a time of cascading crises that will require a just and thoughtful recovery, fossil fuel CEOs have shown they care only about their bottom line. Joe Biden put forward an ambitious plan to advance environmental justice, tackle the climate emergency, and build back better from the crises we face. But personnel is policy. Stacking the White House with fossil fuel industry executives and lobbyists is a Trump move, and Biden should know better. Our movements--and millions of voters--demand a president ready to look fossil fuel CEOs in the eye and tell them their reign is over," said Charlie Jiang, climate campaigner with Greenpeace USA.

"Joe Biden is championing the most aggressive climate and environmental justice plan of any presidential candidate ever. But if he hires fossil fuel representatives, he'll lose any credibility he has built among youth activists, frontline communities, and all of us impacted by the climate crisis. We are under no illusion that the same people who extracted massive wealth by creating this existential problem will have any real interest or ability to solve it," said Kaniela Ing, Climate Justice Director with People's Action.

"A leader cannot stand for the people and not protect the people. This current administration has provided us with the results of said behavior and it has not gone well. The people deserve to be protected over profit. Joe Biden's recent commitment to an aggressive climate plan that includes environmental justice protects the people. After making such a commitment it is expected that it would be fulfilled. The fossil fuel industry has not only done extreme damage to the environment it has also done extreme damage to black, brown, indigenous, and poor communities. We call on the Biden Administration and the DNC to partner with the desires of the suffering by saying no to having fossil fuel representatives in the Biden Administration," said Rev. Michael Malcom of the People's Justice Council.

"Look no farther than Pennsylvania--its citizens who have suffered the health, safety, and economic harms inflicted by shale gas development and its forests and farmlands that have been irreversibly scarred as shale gas infrastructure has metastasized to every part of the state--to see what happens when government and industry become almost indistinguishable from one another. We know all too well that we will not be free of fossil fuels until our government is. Joe Biden can and must be the first fossil fuel-free president," said Karen Feridun, co-founder of the Better Path Coalition in Pennsylvania.

"Biden's pledge to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies is sure to become an empty promise with fossil fuel emissaries whispering in his ear. We do not need a repeat of Obama's all-of-the-above strategy which gave us the largest expansion of oil and gas production in U.S. history," said Karen Grainey, co-director of Center for a Sustainable Coast.

"For forty years the fossil fuel industry has deceived the American public about the consequences of our dependence on oil and gas. They've continued their rapacious march toward disaster while people watch their health and that of their land and water deteriorate. As the earth's ecosystems begin to unravel due to carbon fueled climate change, this industry's only concern is to drain the last drop of profit from a dying planet. Allowing fossil fuel representatives to have a seat at the energy policy table will destroy any credibility the Biden administration might claim on energy and environment leadership. We ask that you stand with integrity and embrace the energy of the future," said Kevin Ionno, chair of the Climate Reality Project of Coastal Georgia.

"As Elizabeth Warren says, personnel is policy. When Bush and Trump were in charge, putting Big Oil executives at the decision-making table was an active policy choice that cost us dearly. We are now out of time with the climate crisis and need people at the table who will support--not slow walk--Biden's ambitious climate proposals in his Build Back Better plan," said Caitlin Lang, spokesperson for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

"We've all seen the disastrous policy produced by personnel in the Trump Administration. But it's important for Joe Biden to remember that the same was true for him and President Obama: If you personnel in charge who have been paid millions by the fossil fuel, nuclear and other polluting industries, you will get bad policy too. Real change takes courage, it takes effort, and it takes a change in staffing--anything else is the definition of madness," said Liz Butler, Vice President of Organizing and Strategic Alliances at Friends of the Earth Action.

"We are in a climate emergency. Even as Covid-19 rages on, fossil fuel interests continue to prioritize profits over people, lobbying for financial secrecy, bailouts, and environmental rollbacks. For the sake of our children, and the future of this country and our world, the Biden Administration cannot risk depending on fossil fuel interests to guide decision-making on climate policy," said Fatema Sumar, Vice President of Global Programs, Oxfam America.

"There is an inherent conflict between the interests of our people and the interests of corporate CEOs, and hiring fossil fuel executives to institute an environmental justice plan would be the equivalent of hiring a fox to run the hen house. Communities most hurt most by the climate injustice that fossil fuels have brought down on our world are those same marginalized people who are hurt most by every aspect of our current systems where corporate profits are prioritized over people," said Mohammed Missouri, Executive Director of Jetpac.

"This election is a matter of life or death for our generation, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can only win if young people show up to vote for them in historic numbers. It's time for Biden to show young people he will fight for our generation by publicly committing to keep fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, and consultants off his team. We cannot afford this polluting influence in a Biden campaign or administration," said Lauren Maunus, Legislative Manager, Sunrise Movement.

"As fossil-fueled fires burn and super-storms rage, the stakes could not be higher for Vice President Biden to listen to the people--not a handful of fossil fuel executives and frack-happy allies like Ernest Moniz. There's simply no way to fend off climate catastrophe and end environmental racism without tackling fossil fuels, and there's no path to phase out fossil fuel extraction so long as Big Oil has the White House on speed dial," said Brett Hartl, Chief Political Strategist at Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

"Thanks to the environment and climate movement's decades of tireless work to make decision-makers act boldly, the Biden-Harris campaign has adopted the strongest climate platform of any presidential ticket in history. However, real progress will be measured by relationship to communities most impacted and investments in the same. Fossil fuel representatives have no place at the table except to hand over their dirty profits to rebuild what they have broken. Any accomodation to fossil fuel executives will undermine the promise of our shared work and throw away our chances of a livable future in the climate decade," said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin of 350 Action.

Click here to read the full letter.

Oil Change U.S. is dedicated to supporting real climate leadership, exposing the true costs of fossil fuels, and building a just, equitable, and renewable energy future in the United States.