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Today, Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace USA, Oil Change U.S., Indivisible, Evergreen Action, the Sierra Club and other partners launched a joint Gas is Not Clean campaign aimed at strengthening the Clean Energy Standard (CES) -- also known as the Clean Energy Payment Program (CEPP) -- by ensuring that gas is prohibited. The No Gas campaign will build pressure on politicians to commit to prioritizing truly clean, renewable energy and definitively excluding gas by making clear that gas is not clean, and that every stage of its production -- extraction, processing, transport, and combustion -- generates toxic air and water pollution.
These groups are demanding members of Congress make it clear they will fight to keep gas out of a CEPP. The microsite will track which members are supporting this priority and will serve as a resource for House and Senate Leadership to see the broad support among their caucus for. The groups behind this campaign will be engaging members of Congress through digital amplification, Hill blasts, and local organizing efforts.
This campaign comes ahead of the House Energy & Commerce Committee's anticipated September 13 mark-up, in which the House will advance language for a new clean energy standard to constrain emissions.
"With climate disasters coming at us from every direction, the stakes of the reconciliation bill could not be higher. This is our moment to turbocharge the transition to a green, just economy, and the Clean Energy Standard can play a key role - but it needs to be as ambitious as possible on renewables, and it needs to exclude gas. This is not complicated, and we can't allow the gas industry to confuse the issue. No fossil fuels, period." -- Representative Jamaal Bowman, NY-16
"We're making our politicians pick a side -- are you with us or fossil fuel executives? The science is clear: there is nothing clean about gas. It's a potent fossil fuel that pollutes the air we breathe, the water we drink, and is the reason Hurricane Ida intensified to the point of fatality and utter destruction. A CES that includes investments towards gas does not meet the scale of the climate crisis, and is a slap in the face to communities across the country who are facing climate disasters. We deserve a liveable future free of toxic pollution and catastrophic climate disasters. We will continue to pressure members of Congress until they exclude gas from the CES." -- Lauren Maunus, Advocacy Director, Sunrise Movement
"The evidence is clear: Gas is a deadly fossil fuel that's a disaster for the climate and communities. Any clean energy standard or payment program that allows gas would fly directly in the face of President Biden's commitment to decarbonization. Clean energy means no gas and no other fossil fuels, period." -- Collin Rees, Campaign Manager, Oil Change U.S.
"Natural gas is a dirty fossil fuel. Just like oil, it pollutes the air and water wherever it is extracted, produced, and burned. The fossil fuel driven climate crisis is already bringing record heat waves, massive storms, and crippling droughts that are killing people and destroying communities across the country. Natural gas is nothing more than corporate PR and marketing teams trying to rebrand fossil fuels -- if oil is Coke, natural gas is New Coke. We can't afford a Clean Energy Payment Program that pays the fossil fuel industry to continue to destroy our planet and our communities." -- Ashley Thomson, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace USA
"At a time when we have unprecedented wildfires, hurricanes, and devastating extreme weather events caused by the climate crisis it is well past time to listen to the science -- gas is not clean. Indivisible demands a Clean Electricity Payment Program explicitly excludes gas. Anything less than that sanctions the pollution of our air, water, and communities." -- Ann Clancy, Senior Climate Policy Manager, Indivisible
"A Clean Electricity Payment Program has the potential to displace polluting fossil fuels, secure pollution reductions in overburdened communities, and achieve a 100% carbon pollution-free electricity grid by 2035. Yet we can only achieve these goals if a CEPP does not incentivize or credit gas power generation, which would eliminate any possibility of reaching our GHG reduction commitments and avoiding the worst effects of climate change. In addition to emissions at power plants, when methane leaks are accounted for across the gas production, transmission, and distribution systems, the total GHG impact of gas power is nearly doubled, and the toxic waste left behind from the fracking process continues to harm communities across the country. Continuing to rely on gas will only further the environmental injustices faced by communities of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who already disproportionately bear the effects of pollution and climate change." -- Kass Rohrbach, Acting Director - Ready for 100, Sierra Club
"Trying to stop the climate crisis with gas is like trying to put out a fire with gas. It will only make the problem worse." -- Jamie DeMarco, Federal & Maryland Policy Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
"We must ban all fossil fuels and GHG pollution immediately to mitigate the unfolding planetary disaster which Congress shamefully has failed to address." -- Todd Fernandez, Executive Director, Climate Crisis Policy
The full list of groups joining the Gas is Not Clean campaign for today's launch include:
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Climate Crisis Policy
Elders Climate Action
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility
Interfaith Power & Light
Oil Change U.S.
Working Families Party
"House Republicans are trying to slash lifelines for middle-class families on behalf of rich special interests," said a White House spokesperson.
The White House on Saturday condemned a newly introduced Republican bill that would repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, a law that includes a number of changes aimed at lowering costs for Medicare recipients.
Unveiled Thursday by freshman Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), the bill has 20 original co-sponsors and is endorsed by several right-wing groups, including the Koch-funded organization Americans for Prosperity.
The Biden White House argued that rolling back the Inflation Reduction Act, which also contains major climate investments, would represent "one of the biggest Medicare benefit cuts in American history" as well as a "handout to Big Pharma." According to Politico, which first reported the White House's response to the GOP bill, the administration is planning to release "state-by-state data indicating how this would affect constituents in different areas."
"House Republicans are trying to slash lifelines for middle-class families on behalf of rich special interests," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement. "Who on earth thinks that welfare for Big Pharma is worth selling out over a million seniors in their home state?”
The Inflation Reduction Act authorized a $35-per-month cap on insulin copayments for Medicare recipients, as well as an annual $2,000 total limit on out-of-pocket drug costs.
The bill will also, among other long-overdue changes, allow Medicare to begin negotiating the prices of a subset of the most expensive prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies, which fiercely opposed the law and are working with Republicans to sabotage it. The newly negotiated prices are set to take effect in 2026.
Ogles, whose two-page bill would eliminate the above reforms, repeatedly attacked Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs and protections during his 2022 campaign for the U.S. House.
\u201cNEW @Campbell4TN ad in TN-5: \u201cExtreme Andy Ogles in his own words \u2014 a SUPERCUT\u201d\n\nWatch @AndyOgles back a no exceptions abortion ban, cutting Medicare & Medicaid, eliminating Dept of Ed, impeaching Biden, deny the election was legit, etc\u2026 do better, TN-5.\nhttps://t.co/YhCRGXIPsU\u201d— The Tennessee Holler (@The Tennessee Holler) 1667748662
The White House's critique of Ogles' bill comes as Biden is facing pressure from advocates and physicians to cancel a Medicare privatization scheme that his administration inherited from its right-wing predecessor and rebranded.
It also comes as the White House is locked in a standoff with House Republicans over the debt ceiling. Republican lawmakers have pushed for deeply unpopular cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and other critical federal programs as a necessary condition for any deal to raise the country's borrowing limit and avert a catastrophic default.
"In less than a month, MAGA extremists have threatened to drive the economy into a recession by defaulting on our debt, promised to bring up a bill to impose a 30% national sales tax, and now have introduced legislation to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act," Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Democratic Party-aligned Center for American Progress said in a statement. "This will cut taxes for corporations who earn billions in profit while empowering Big Pharma and Big Oil to continue ripping off the American people."
"It is vital that all Americans understand what is at risk if MAGA extremists succeed in passing their latest dangerous idea: millions of lost jobs, millions more without health insurance, and higher costs for lifesaving insulin, utilities, and more," Gaspard added.
One election expert called the decision an "electoral coup."
Guatemala's Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled earlier this week that a leftist presidential ticket headed by Indigenous human rights defender Thelma Cabrera should be barred from the June ballot, prompting fury and vows of mass protests from Cabrera's supporters.
Thursday's ruling—which Cabrera's young political party, the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP), is vowing to appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice—stems from Guatemala electoral authorities' refusal to certify the candidacy of Cabrera's running mate, former human rights ombudsman Jordán Rodas.
Reporting indicates that election officials have justified stonewalling Rodas—a longtime target of Guatemala's right-wing political establishment—by citing supposed "anomalies during the collection of compensation" upon his departure from the ombudsman post last year.
But Cabrera and Rodas contend that the electoral tribunal's decision is a politically motivated attempt to keep a left-wing party—whose base is largely rural—off the ballot, which is set to include the daughter of Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator who was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2013.
Montt's victims were largely Indigenous peasants.
Last month, the same electoral body that deemed Cabrera and Rodas disqualified from the June ballot ruled that Zury Ríos can participate, despite a constitutional provision barring the relatives of coup leaders from serving as Guatemala's president. Ríos was blocked from the 2019 presidential ballot on those grounds.
That year, as Nick Burns of Americas Quarterly recently reported, Cabrera "gave the Guatemalan political establishment a shock" by winning 10% of the vote in the presidential election.
"It was the most successful presidential run by an indigenous person in Guatemala’s modern history—the only other was by Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú in 2007, who won 3% of the vote," Burns noted. "Cabrera’s biography is striking. She grew up in a Maya Mam family of poor laborers on a coffee plantation on Guatemala's Pacific coast and was married at 15. She described in a book how she and her sister Vilma went to school through the sixth grade because their mother—who could not read or write—saw education as crucial."
Cabrera's supporters have vowed to "paralyze the country" with large-scale demonstrations if the electoral body's decision isn't reversed.
"If they do not do it, we are going to take over the international airport, the three ports of the country, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and all state institutions," said one MLP supporter. "We are Indigenous, we are Maya, and we can be out here for a month!"
\u201c#EUElecciones2023 Manifestantes amenazan con tomar el Aeropuerto Internacional La Aurora, los tres puertos del pa\u00eds y el TSE si no se inscribe al binomio presidencial del MLP | V\u00eda @noel_solis \n\n\ud83d\uddf3\ufe0f\ud83c\uddec\ud83c\uddf9 #Elecciones2023 #EleccionesGT #GUATEVOTA2023\u201d— Emisoras Unidas (@Emisoras Unidas) 1675357690
Daniel Zovatto, a political scientist and expert in Latin American elections, said the tribunal's ruling against the MLP presidential ticket amounts to an "electoral coup" that "vitiates the integrity and credibility" of the upcoming contest.
Rodas, a human rights champion, lamented in response to the decision that "democracy in Guatemala has taken another step back."
"They are afraid of the people and their sovereign decisions," he said.