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Civil rights and abortion groups demand the communications platform offer end-to-end encryption and a blocking/reporting feature to secure messages and address harassment
Today, a coalition of 93 groups sent a letter to Slack calling on the company to protect its users by offering end-to-end encryption for messages, and to add blocking and reporting features to help protect users from harassment. The signers include abortion rights, digital rights, racial justice, and other civil society groups, as well as privacy-focused businesses.
The letter, hosted at MakeSlackSafe.com, points to attacks on abortions and bodily autonomy in the US as a specific threat under which people’s personal messages are being targeted by law enforcement. While Slack says that it only provides user data to law enforcement when it is legally required to do so, in states where abortion is being criminalized, law enforcement can and will use subpoenas to force Slack to hand over the internal messages of abortion funds, abortion providers, and reproductive rights organizations, as well as private individuals who use Slack to message friends, family and coworkers.
The letter also highlights broader attacks on human rights, stating that “in the US and around the world, governments are using data and digital communications to target human rights defenders and people exposing human rights violations, including political nonprofits, activist networks, journalists.” Signers argue that end-to-end encryption is a key feature for ensuring user messages cannot be accessed by Slack, hackers, snooping bosses, or law enforcement.
In addition to offering end-to-end encryption to secure messages, the groups call on Slack to offer tools to stop harassment on the platform, specifically blocking and reporting features, which they note are available on the vast majority of communications tools. With online harassment of workers on the rise (especially since the shift to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic), Slack’s refusal to add a tool to allow people to block other users or report content is unacceptable.
“Slack is falling short in terms of the most basic guardrails for platform safety and privacy, which could have seismic implications for users. End-to-end encryption keeps people safe, and safety must be a built-in feature on all of our platforms. By not addressing this security flaw, Slack is aiding the criminalization of abortions and other expressions of bodily autonomy. As a leader in the online messaging space, Slack has to do more than just run nice PR campaigns claiming to support reproductive rights, they must ensure user safety is inherent in their tech.” Caitlin Seeley George, Campaigns and Managing Director at Fight for the Future.
“Slack has become one of the most popular communications tools of our era. And with that popularity comes responsibility — responsibility that Slack is currently neglecting. Slack must protect its users and catch up with many of its peers by offering common sense safety features, like the option for end-to-end encryption.” Reem Suleiman, U.S. Advocacy Lead at Mozilla
“For years, Slack has said it doesn’t need a block button because it is just a workplace tool and that would cut down on meaningful conversations. I have been advocating for one basic feature, blocking, since 2019, to make Slack safer. Slack isn’t just a workplace tool, it’s used by all different kinds of people, communities, and it’s also used in workplaces. It’s important to emphasize one thing here: harassment happens everywhere. It happens between families, friends, across strangers, and it also happens in the workplace. Blocking is a necessary tool to help mitigate harassment; it’s something users need to create their own safety, especially in the workplace, but in any community. Better security and privacy, privacy tools make people safer. Now is the time to press for what I call: seatbelts of online safety, which are necessary tooling and product features every product, software or infrastructure should have. End to end encryption, blocking, muting, and reporting are those necessary features; we need to think of them as the kinds of safety requirements that airbags and seatbelts provide for cars. We need to shift our thoughts away from thinking of these solely as additional features, but as necessary and required functionality to create and maintain a healthier web. The time is now to remake our web to include this functionality and every product. It’s time for Slack to really commit to safety and user health; these features make that happen.” Caroline Sinders, founder, principal researcher, Convocation Research + Design
“A key component of collective action is communication. We all deserve to know our communications are safe. Workers, consumers, friends, and activists need end-to-end encrypted communications platforms with safety features like blocking, muting, and reporting. I’m hopeful that Slack will take this responsibility seriously and offer these important safety features for users.” Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge
“We are in strong support of mainstreaming encryption and urge messaging platforms to adopt encryption as a way to safeguard people’s human rights. Encryption is not just a matter of privacy, it is a fundamental tool to enhance trust in digital communications. For an organization that yields as much power as Slack does through their popularity and reach, there is a responsibility to keep their users and community safe. We call on Slack to prioritize the adoption of encryption to ensure that messaging apps remain a powerful tool for empowerment, freedom, and the protection of human rights online.” Isabela Fernandes, Executive Director, the Tor Project.
“Ranking Digital Rights’s standards call on companies to protect users’ private communications. While we believe that all chat communications should be encrypted, at the very least, users should have the option to turn on end-to-end encryption. While Slack has some protections in place, these do not extend to end-to-end encryption for messaging. Our 2022 Big Tech Scorecard found that most messaging services, ranging from iMessage to Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Kakao Talk, did provide options for end-to-end encryption. QQ and WeChat, however, both from Chinese company Tencent, failed to do so. Had we ranked Slack, it would have failed, alongside Tencent’s services. We believe Slack can, and should, do much better.” Anna Lee Nabors, Ranking Digital Rights
“In a time when our personal freedoms and rights are under threat, it is crucial to hold Slack accountable. The lack of end-to-end encryption in Slack exposes our private messages to various entities, enabling potential harassment, union-busting, suppression of political activism, and even criminalization of essential choices like abortion. With the rise of repressive laws and increased surveillance, the privacy of our communications has become paramount, especially for marginalized communities. End-to-end encryption ensures the protection and empowerment of individuals, allowing us to navigate a post-Roe US with dignity and autonomy.” Perry Toone, Thexyz
“As a workplace tool that many employees can’t opt out of using, Slack users need control over their exposure to abusive and harassing messages. Because of its real-time delivery and the current inability of the platform’s users to block or mute other users, Slack can be a hothouse for bad behavior. It is in the interests of employers and the platform itself to empower users to control their interactions with illegal or distressing content and the ability to keep their personal conversations private. Mechanisms like muting, blocking, reporting content and encrypted direct messaging should be standard operating procedure on the social Internet,” Tracy Rosenberg, Oakland Privacy
“As an organization that uses Slack to run our campaigns and communicate as a team it is vitally important that the platform be safe and private so that we can do our work to prevent war and violence. Political and human rights activists in the United States and around the globe that use Slack face increasing risks to their freedom and safety because of the use of online surveillance, harassment, and repression, and we expect Slack to take measures to protect them and the important work that they do. We call on Slack to implement end to end encryption and measures to prevent harassment so that its customers can do their work to build more democratic and just communities.” Amy Frame, Director of Data and technology, Win Without War
“At Malloc, we firmly believe in safeguarding the privacy and security of communication for all individuals. That is why we are joining the call to make Slack safe. In an era where personal freedoms and marginalized communities are under threat, it is crucial that we advocate for end-to-end encryption in workplace messaging platforms like Slack. Protecting the privacy of direct messages is not only a matter of personal liberty but also vital to ensure the safety and well-being of employees, activists, and vulnerable communities. We stand united in demanding stronger privacy measures to safeguard confidential conversations and protect the fundamental rights of all individuals.” Maria Terzi, Co-Founder & CEO – Malloc Inc.
In addition to delivering this letter, Fight for the Future has placed sidewalk decals outside Slack’s offices in San Francisco and Denver, has a billboard in the Bay Area, and is running digital ads targeting Slack and calling for end-to-end encryption. The group is also running a broader campaign calling on all messaging platforms to Make DMs Safe by implementing end-to-end encryption by default.
Letter and full list of signers:
We are businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals who depend on tools like Slack to connect online. We are activists organizing for change; journalists who communicate with sources and about sensitive stories; nonprofits providing care and support for our communities; companies that need to streamline our processes and share ideas; students, creators, gamers, alumni, artists, athletes, and other communities that use the Internet to connect with people all over the world.
Slack has put the security of our communities in danger by not taking steps to ensure user safety. Safety should be a built-in feature of all technology, so we are calling on you to protect your users by providing the option to enable end-to-end encryption for messages to protect our privacy, and to add blocking, muting and reporting features to help protect users from harassment.
In the US and around the world, governments are using data and digital communications to target human rights defenders and people exposing human rights violations, including political nonprofits, activist networks, journalists. For many of these groups and individuals, Slack is an absolutely vital communication tool, but it could also become the basis of government targeting, repression, censorship.
For years, law enforcement has monitored marginalized groups—including BIPOC, immigrants, social justice activists, and sex workers—through their online communications and through other forms of surveillance. Personal communications immediately became a target for criminalizing abortion seekers and providers after the reversal of Roe v Wade. Securityexperts and humanrights organizations have sounded the alarm about this abuse and point to default end-to-end encrypted messaging as a first and best step companies can take to protect targeted communities. End-to-end encryption is crucial for protecting people from anti-human rights attacks on their bodily autonomy and personhood.
Despite critiques from journalists and privacy experts, Slack has not publicized any plans to offer end-to-end encryption. Instead you’re choosing to prioritize profit over users’ privacy and safety.
In addition to unencrypted Slack messages, the absence of functionality to address harassment over Slack puts users at risk. Whether for work, volunteering, or other social communities, many cannot opt out of using Slack. With workplace and online bullying and harassment on the rise, disproportionately impacting marginalized people who might not have other resources or feel comfortable reporting harassment to HR departments or other moderators, Slack must take responsibility to ensure everyone is equipped with resources to defend themselves.
The vast majority of communication tools give users the ability to mute, block, and report people. Adding these features is a simple, commonsense way to offer more protection from harassment on Slack.
Right now, Slack is falling short in terms of the most basic guardrails for platform safety and privacy. At this political moment, this can mean life or death for some people online. We call on Slack to go beyond statements and put into action its commitment to human rights by implementing basic safety and privacy design features immediately.
Abortion Access Front
Associação Portuguesa para a Promoção da Segurança da Informação
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Catholics for Choice
Center for Digital Resilience
Climate Mobilization Project
Convocation Research + Design
Dangerous Speech Project
Den Frie Vilje ApS
Digital Defense Fund
DNS Africa Media and Communications
Electronic Frontier Finland – Effi ry
European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL)
Fight for the Future
Forward Together & Forward Together Action
Gotham City Drupal
I Need An A.com
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
Jane’s Due Process
Medical Students for Choice
National Abortion Federation
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Network of Abortion Funds
New Eden welfare promotion foundation
Open Data Charter
Pixels for Humans
Point of VIew
Privacy & Access Council of Canada
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
ProgressNow New Mexico
Ranking Digital Rights
Reproductive Health Access Project
RootsAction Education Fund
Salmonberry Tribal Associates
Sex Workers Project @ The Urban Justice Center
State Innovation Exchange (SiX)
Superbloom Design (previously Simply Secure)
Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
The Tor Project
The Womxn Project
United We Dream
Utah Abortion Fund
Win Without War
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
World Wide Web Foundation
Fight for the Future is a group of artists, engineers, activists, and technologists who have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling Internet outrage into political power to win public interest victories previously thought to be impossible. We fight for a future where technology liberates -- not oppresses -- us.(508) 368-3026
"In 2021 alone, the expanded Child Tax Credit reached more than 61 million children and lifted nearly 4 million of them out of poverty."
As congressional Republicans intensify their assault on vital social programs, a trio of House Democrats on Wednesday reintroduced legislation that would make permanent the expanded monthly Child Tax Credit—a policy credited with lifting millions of U.S. children out of poverty.
The American Family Act—reintroduced by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and backed by 204 House Democrats—would ensure the permanency of the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) as established in the American Rescue Plan, the sweeping $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021. The expanded CTC expired at the end of 2021 amid the Omicron surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The legislation would continue the $300 monthly credit for children age 6 and younger while expanding the maximum CTC to $250 per month, or $3,000 annually—up from $2,000 under the current policy. The bill also provides the full CTC to "left-behind" children by revoking a rule limiting the refundable portion to $1,400 per year and eliminating the earnings requirement that previously excluded about one-third of eligible children from the full credit.
"An investment in our children and their families is an investment in the future of our country."
According to a summary from DeLauro's office, the expanded CTC "was the largest tax cut for working families in generations," helping more than 61 million children and lifting nearly 4 million youngsters out of poverty in 2021 alone.
"When we expanded and improved the Child Tax Credit in 2021 under the American Rescue Plan, it provided unprecedented economic security for American families. It was the largest tax cut for middle-class and working families in generations," DeLauro said in a statement.
\u201cWhen we expanded the Child Tax Credit in 2021, it was the largest tax cut for middle-class & working families in generations.\n\nI'm glad to be joined by @RepDelBene & @RepRitchie in reintroducing the American Family Act, which would make the monthly CTC permanent. #ChildTaxCredit\u201d— Rosa DeLauro (@Rosa DeLauro) 1686157417
"These monthly payments helped parents pay bills, keep healthy and nutritious food on the table, afford school clothes and supplies, pay for a music lesson or a new pair of cleats, or manage a mortgage or rent payment," she added. "It lifted nearly 4 million children out of poverty in one year alone. It worked, and it is time we get it working for families and children once more."
DelBene said that "the enhanced Child Tax Credit was one of the most transformational policies from the American Rescue Plan, lifting millions of children out of poverty, boosting our economy, and helping parents pay rent, put food on the table, and afford other essentials for their kids."
"This is a proven program that will help grow our economy by rebuilding and strengthening the middle class," she added.
\u201cThe #ChildTaxCredit drastically reduced child poverty in the U.S. Let's make life just a little easier for working families and make it permanent by passing the #AmericanFamilyAct!\n\nhttps://t.co/m47WsvtyCg\u201d— Rep. Mark Pocan (@Rep. Mark Pocan) 1686165592
Torres asserted that "an investment in our children and their families is an investment in the future of our country."
"In 2021 alone, the expanded Child Tax Credit reached more than 61 million children and lifted nearly 4 million of them out of poverty. No government program has impacted so many Americans in such a short amount of time," he continued. "It's one reason why I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan and why we must pass the American Family Act. Making the Child Tax Credit permanent provides much-needed financial stability for working families, helps them make ends meet and fight rising costs, and reduces child poverty."
"I can't think of a more worthy cause than helping meet the basic needs of children—our future—so they can learn, grow, and reach their fullest potential," Torres added.
\u201cThe #AmericanFamilyAct would make the expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit permanent, helping more kids live without hunger or the fear of poverty.\n\nLearn more about the eye-popping achievements of the #ChildTaxCredit here: https://t.co/bXYft0Ikbw\u201d— Economic Security Project (@Economic Security Project) 1686158628
Progressive advocacy groups welcomed the bill's reintroduction.
"We're thrilled to see lawmakers prioritizing tax credits for low- and middle-income families with the introduction of the American Family Act today," Amy Hanauer, executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), said in a statement. "This legislation would help millions of children and families, especially the lowest-income families who currently make too little to receive the CTC."
"We know the CTC works wonders to boost economic security; when the expanded credit was in place in 2021 child poverty was cut by an astonishing 46%," Hanauer added. "Restoring the more robust CTC should be a top priority of all lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. But unfortunately, this bill stands in stark contrast to other tax bills taking shape that would deeply cut taxes for profitable corporations and wealthy families."
\u201cRestoring the more robust #ChildTaxCredit should be a top priority of all lawmakers.\n\nUnfortunately, that goal stands in stark contrast to other tax bills taking shape that would prioritize tax cuts for profitable corporations and wealthy households. https://t.co/GY0Qp2n2fg\u201d— ITEP (@ITEP) 1686154268
The revived American Family Act comes amid relentless Republican attacks on social programs benefitting families, including slashing funds for rental assistance and education programs and the imposition of new work requirements on some recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as conditions for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling to avoid what would have been a historic U.S. default.
"The governor has sided with the interests of private equity, hedge funds, and their powerful corporate lobbyists over and against the affordability concerns of people in our state," said the lead sponsors of the legislation.
Progressive lawmakers expressed anger Tuesday after Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis vetoed a landmark affordable housing bill following a lobbying push by corporate interests who opposed it.
House Bill 23-1190 would have given local governments a right of first refusal to buy certain multifamily properties and convert them to publicly owned housing units. Both Democratic-led chambers of the Colorado Legislature passed the proposal, but Polis rejected the effort to expand the supply of affordable shelter in a state hard-hit by the nationwide housing crisis.
In a letter explaining his veto, Polis—an entrepreneur-turned-public official worth an estimated $400 million—wrote that he supports "local governments' ability to buy these properties on the open market and preserve low-cost housing opportunities," but he is "not supportive of a required right of refusal that adds costs and time to transactions."
Left unsaid by Polis was that his veto was sought by a coalition of powerful business groups, including Colorado Concern, the Colorado Real Estate Alliance, the Colorado Bankers Association, and the Land Title Association of Colorado. Those organizations asked the governor to kill the legislation, and he did, aligning himself with moneyed interests over affordable housing advocates and members of his party.
All four of the bill's lead sponsors—Sens. Faith Winter (D-25) and Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-17) and Reps. Andrew Boesenecker (D-53) and Emily Sirota (D-9)—condemned Polis in a joint statement released Tuesday night.
"It should be alarming to all of us that the governor has failed to usher these proven affordability measures across the finish line."
"The governor has sided with the interests of private equity, hedge funds, and their powerful corporate lobbyists over and against the affordability concerns of people in our state," the sponsors said. "It should be alarming to all of us that the governor has failed to usher these proven affordability measures across the finish line."
The lawmakers described Polis' stated commitment to affordable housing as "rhetorical" and said they felt blindsided after being told on "numerous occasions" that the governor had no intention of vetoing their bill, which would have made Colorado the first state in the country with a right-of-first-refusal requirement for multifamily housing.
"It is alarming that the governor has vetoed H.B. 23-1190, given the fact that the governor's office was engaged in helping us count votes on the policy as late as the last week of session," said the lawmakers.
Taking aim at the groups that urged Polis to nix the bill, they added that "the only currency you have in the state Capitol is your word—and with today's actions and the behind-the-scenes campaign leading up to the veto, several organizations have demonstrated that they are indeed bankrupt."
On Wednesday morning, journalist David Sirota—Emily Sirota's husband and founder of investigative outlet The Lever—blasted Polis for "bowing to the demands of a right-wing oil billionaire's editorial page and delivering an enormous victory to the most powerful corporate lobby firm in Colorado."
\u201c\ud83d\udea8 Update: Democratic Gov. @JaredPolis just vetoed the Democrats\u2019 affordable housing bill, bowing to the demands of a right-wing oil billionaire\u2019s editorial page & delivering an enormous victory to the most powerful corporate lobby firm in Colorado. #copolitics\u201d— David Sirota (@David Sirota) 1686149289
H.B. 23-1190, drafted after a similar right-of-first-refusal initiative for mobile home parks was enacted last year, would have given municipalities and counties a leg up in purchasing multifamily residential or mixed-use buildings constructed more than 30 years ago with at least five units in rural areas and at least 15 units in urban and suburban areas.
As The Colorado Sunreported: "Local governments would have had seven days to indicate that they were interested in buying an eligible property before it was listed on the open market, and then 30 days to make an offer and 60 days to close. The local governments would have had to pay market value for the properties and use them to increase their community's affordable housing stock."
"You will see a right-of-first-refusal bill next year."
The newspaper noted that Polis' veto of the legislation "represents another big failure at the Colorado Capitol this year for affordable housing advocates. Democrats declared the state's 2023 lawmaking term the year of affordable housing, but many of their priority measures failed, including a rewrite of Colorado's land-use policies and an eviction protections bill."
Last year, a Polis veto threat forced Colorado Democrats to remove a provision that would have capped annual rent hikes for mobile home lots from H.B. 22-1287. The bill was signed into law by the governor, but without the proposed rent stabilization rule, mobile home park residents remain at the mercy of landlords.
Looking ahead to the legislative session that begins in January, Boesenecker said, "You will see a right-of-first-refusal bill next year."
As Colorado Public Radioreported, the lawmaker "called for a more cohesive approach next year, saying that a lack of unified support for this year's measures 'allowed the opposition to really circle around them and tear them down.'"
"Young people are angry and fed up with watching President Biden cave to the fossil fuel industry time and time again," one activist said.
In the wake of Biden administration decisions like approving ConocoPhillips' Willow project and agreeing to fast-track the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), climate organizations and frontline communities across the country are launching a week of action from June 8 to 11 to demand President Joe Biden honor his promise to be the climate president and end the era of fossil fuels for good.
The action week will include a Thursday rally and sit-in at the White House along with demonstrations at 65 other locations across the nation backed by 64 different Indigenous, climate, labor, and environmental justice groups.
"Young people are angry and fed up with watching President Biden cave to the fossil fuel industry time and time again," Zero Hour organizing director Magnolia Mead said in a statement. "We need an immediate transition to renewable energy to slow the climate crisis, and that's impossible while our president is still approving massive fossil fuel expansion. If President Biden cares at all for future generations and frontline communities, he must choose to end the era of fossil fuels."
Our public officials clearly lack the political will or backbone to protect our people and the planet. So we must take action."
The action week—whose organizers include Zero Hour, Sunrise, 350.org, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Fridays for Future, and the People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition—grew out of disappointment with Biden's Willow approval along with the desire to channel young people's online opposition to that project into direct action.
The sense of urgency only mounted when the debt-ceiling agreement, signed into law by Biden Saturday, included approving the MVP and weakening the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which gives frontline communities a say in infrastructure projects.
The protest outside the White House, which begins at 2:00 pm ET, will specifically demand that Biden cancel the 300-mile fracked gas MVP through Virginia and West Virginia.
"We are still not deterred in our fight against the MVP and other such harmful projects," Maury Johnson, a landowner in the MVP's path and a member of Preserve Monroe and the POWHR (Protect Our Water, Heritage, & Rights) Coalition—who is helping to arrange transport for the rally—told Common Dreams. "Hope to see hundreds if not thousands join us in front of the White House on Thursday, June 8."
The new direct action group Climate Defiance has promised to risk arrest at the protest and called on everyone of conscience to join them.
\u201cThe President stabbed us in the back. He sold us out to fossil fuel CEOs. He forced upon us the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is a death sentence for our generation.\u201d— Climate Defiance (@Climate Defiance) 1686004033
"Now is the time for climate action," Jay Waxse of Climate Defiance told Common Dreams. "Joe Biden and Joe Manchin think it's time for massive fossil fuel expansion, while our forests burn and skies fill with smoke. Our public officials clearly lack the political will or backbone to protect our people and the planet. So we must take action."
Waxse added that the group had chosen nonviolent direct action "to express to our branches of government that we won't be satisfied until we put an end to the expansion of new fossil fuels. And that means stopping the MVP now!"
As Washington D.C., along with most of the eastern U.S., chokes on unhealthy air from Canadian wildfires, Jamie Henn of Fossil Free Media said the White House protest would go ahead, though the organizers were taking health precautions including distributing N95 masks.
"This is 'exactly' why we have to take these sorts of actions," Henn tweeted.
\u201cThat said: we are absolutely going to take precautions to keep people healthy and safe, with KN95 masks and other precautions available for folks. \n\nThe fires are a real reminder of how climate, health, and disabilities all intersect, especially for the most vulnerable.\u201d— Jamie Henn (@Jamie Henn) 1686161011
For those who can't travel to D.C., organizers have provided a nationwide action map for the week as well as a toolkit explaining how to register an action.
Overall, the week has four main demands for Biden:
Local actions will also target specific fossil fuel projects, such as the Canadian-owned aging Line 5 pipeline that Indigenous advocates worry will spill oil into the Great Lakes.
"As a Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe member, I am calling on the Biden administration to shut down Line 5 immediately," Bad River Ojibwe activist Aurora Conley of the Anishinaabe Environmental Protection Alliance said in a statement.
"Our territories and water are in imminent danger, and we do not want to see irreversible damage to our land, water, and wild rice. We do not want our lifeways destroyed," Conley added.
In Seattle, meanwhile, protesters with XR Seattle, 350 Seattle, and other groups are meeting outside the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building at 12:00 pm PT Thursday with both national and local demands. In addition to calling on Biden to halt the MVP and restore NEPA, they also want Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to publicaly oppose the expansion of the GTN pipeline, a plan from TC Energy to pump an additional 150 million cubic feet of methane per day through the 1,354 mile long pipeline that runs through British Columbia, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The additional methane would add 3.47 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere each year.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is set to decide on the expansion June 15, 350 Seattle communications director Ben Jones told Common Dreams.
The action, he said, was motivated by "the combination of looming expansion of natural gas" along the West Coast "and approval of a deeply unpopular and strongly resisted pipeline out East."
Jones was also concerned about the gutting of NEPA, which has helped communities in the Pacific Northwest to fight off more than 20 proposals for oil and gas expansion in the region in the last 15 years.
"With gutting NEPA, that's some of the main avenues that community groups have for public comment or for advocacy," Jones said.
Nationwide, organizers hope that the coming week of action will be the first in a summer-long escalation leading up to U.N. Secretary General António Guterres' hosting of a global Climate Ambition Summit in New York City in September.
"Starting this June and leading up to September, we will be taking action with national and international partners to make it clear that siding with Big Oil is a political liability for Biden—and we, the people who got him elected, demand better," the coalition said in their toolkit.