[On November 15, 2022, a coalition of youth, environmental, civic, faith, and climate groups met on zoom with a staffer for Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who represents Oregon’s District 1 in Congress, to urge a NO vote on Manchin’s dirty side deal. William Layman, a member of Extinction Rebellion PDX, read this statement which directly addressed Rep. Blumenauer. – Ed.]
The proposed Manchin-Schumer side deal attached to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will severely limit citizen input abilities to protect communities (usually Black, Latino, Indigenous or poor white) against the deep pockets of corporations and the devastation of extraction sites, pipelines, refineries, LNG export facilities and more.
Environmental justice, which has been a strong feature of COP27, must not become an empty phrase that flies into the face of promises made by congressmen who profess to strengthen environmental justice stances. These justice issues are crucial in moving forward to a just and equitable transition based on fossil free economies.
Do you, who have done so much, really want our government to stand in the way of providing essential citizen input to protect our communities? This act would further threaten Indigenous lands and waters, homes and lands of citizens residing in Appalachia, the Gulf Coast States, Alaska and elsewhere.
Do you want to restrict citizen input for further destruction of our planet’s security by paving the way for Big Oil’s interest and profits?
Have you researched just how this bill will further empower oil and gas companies set on forcing through dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline in any neighborhood and community where they want to build them, stripping further the voice of the public out of the process?
Are you at peace with living in a more dangerous world where fossil fuel corporations have more power, and vulnerable people have less?
If this pork-laden measure is fully excluded from the NDAA, we will have held on to legal tools in the critical fights for real environmental and climate justice.
I assume when you took office you wished to be a leader to steer us toward a sustainable future. I personally would like you to stand as a visionary leader in a clean energy future through advocating major reform on electric transmission planning that includes interregional long distance transmission lines. Through such actions we can take advantage of recent promising abilities of an expanding network of wind and solar power generation necessary to take us safely into the future.
The current system of complex and diverse electrical transmission structures wastes huge amounts of energy produced by coal and gas fossil fuels. I ask that you explore and introduce legislation that can create the kind of flexibility in our antiquated grid needed for our futures. Rather than feeding a destructive culture and economy based on fossil fuels, here is where you can truly make your voice count.