Climate Congress 2020

Overview Our Seven Priorities Sign On

Overview:

Over the next six months, we will be charged with responding to the COVID-19 crisis, building the movement for a Green New Deal, and protecting our democracy as our nation grapples with how to recover from thepandemic. It will take each and everyone of us to fight for a just recovery from this crisis, and to build the electorate needed to pass a Green New Deal that ensures long term climate resiliency and protect us from future crises. Join us as we:

  1. Fight for Bailouts that Protect People and Not Polluters – In the coming weeks and months, 350 will be responding to the pandemic recovery efforts. We’ve worked to stop bail out funds from going to the fossil fuel industry and called out President Trump when he rolled out the red carpet for Big Oil and Gas. We have to continue to fight to make certain we do not repeat the mistakes of our last economic crisis, when corporations won and the people lost. We need to ensure that the communities that were hit hardest by this virus are prioritized, that we get relief directly to workers and not executives, and we set the stage for long term, climate-resilient just recovery.
  2. Push Biden to the left -We must defeat Trump but we must also demand better from Biden. Biden’s climate policy falls far short of the investment we need to get to a just carbon-free future. Despite being by President Obama’s side when the historic decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline was announced, he has sat on the sidelines as construction has begun at the Montana border and Indigenous communities have been threatened in the midst of a pandemic.
  3. Elect Green New Deal Champions – We need a Congress that will enact bold and robust climate policies that prioritize a just transition to a 100% renewable energy economy and creates opportunities for millions of workers in this sector.
  4. Get out the vote and win – We will work to Get Out the Vote to elect climate champions at all levels of office with a focus on empowering voters where suppression and environmental injustices are taking place. We know that when communities face disenfranchisement it gives polluters and politicians a blank check to continue to harm their communities.

Our Seven Priorities for a Just Recovery:

In order to ensure that COVID-19 stimulus legislation prioritizes people over polluters, and that communities are protected in both the short and long term from coronavirus and the climate crisis, 350 Action has outlined a list of seven inclusive priorities that are critical to a strong Congressional stimulus package. These demands, along with the People’s BailOut endorsed by nearly a thousand organizations, make up the blueprint for a just recovery.

 

1. Protect all essential workers and provide healthcare for all.

Pushing the Trump Administration to use the Defense Production Act to provide adequate PPE and medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

A large percentage of essential workers are from the most vulnerable communities, including Black, Latino, and Immigrant communities, as well as people of color and the working class, who cannot afford to go without a paycheck. These workers, regardless of immigration status, must be protected. The Defense Production Act, historically used during wartime to secure the production of essential goods, should be enacted to provide the right personal protective equipment and medical equipment to all essential workers and health care workers as the top priority. This will ensure we are mobilizing our resources in service to protect workers who need the most support. Instead of mobilizing resources to provide essential goods, Trump has used this act to keep meat processing plants open, endangering the lives of tens of thousands of workers at risk of COVID-19.

Support Medicare for All.

COVID-19 has further exposed all the cracks in our healthcare system and this must be fixed immediately to ensure that all people residing in the U.S. have proper healthcare. Congress should put steps in place to pass a sweeping Medicare for All package to provide millions of people with comprehensive health benefits, replacing private insurance and the current Medicare program.

 

2. Provide relief directly to people and not corporate executives.

Ensure Puerto Rico and all other territories receive substantive support and relief.

Congress must not forget necessary relief for Puerto Rico and all other territories impacted by COVID-19. Puerto Rico has reported over a thousand cases, with dozens of deaths of individuals with no prior health conditions. The local government still does not have an accurate picture of COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico since there has not been widespread testing. Congress must ensure widespread testing and support for Puerto Rico and all U.S. island territories facing the dual impacts of COVID-19 and climate impacts such as hurricanes.

Expand the social safety net and economic security measures such as bans on utility shutoffs, mortgage and rent relief, and extended unemployment benefits.

Tens of millions of Americans have filed for unemployment due to industries that have been shuttered by protective stay-at-home orders. The United States has not seen this level of job loss since the Great Depression, and the government is struggling to respond fast enough to the health crisis and the widespread economic pain it has triggered. Communities of color in particular have been hit hard by COVID-19, facing disproportionately high rates of infection and mortality, and have been further confronted with the historical burden of institutional and structural racism that leads to a lack of social safety and economic security.  These impacts are bleeding into the ability to pay for utilities, mortgages, and rent. Congress must expand the social safety net to ensure that all individuals and families are not faced with loss of homes or utility shut offs during this national disaster.

Ensure companies that receive relief retain workers and their benefits.

In April 2020, the Senate approved a $480 billion stimulus package to help small businesses and hospitals impacted by the coronavirus. Congress must ensure that businesses protect their workers and secure their benefits through additional stimulus efforts. We cannot allow companies who receive federal aid to use it for stock buybacks or executive bonuses.

 

3. Protect our democracy.

Require all states/territories to offer vote by mail for all elections.

America needs a system that allows all citizens to vote safely from the comfort of their homes. Requiring people to attend in-person polling places, which often have an inadequate number of voting machines and long lines, leads to avoidable disenfranchisement of voters and is unsafe with the current pandemic. All states and territories should have a fair and uniform vote by mail system that does not hinder individuals from casting their vote.

Provide states with additional funding to implement vote by mail and hold fair elections.

In order to have properly functioning and secure vote by mail systems for all states and territories, additional federal funding should be provided to ensure that states can properly carry out their duty to hold fair elections.

 

4. Prioritize Hardest Hit Communities.

Invest in additional resources for communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and the climate crisis

Black, Indigenous, people of color, and low income communities have been hit hardest by this pandemic. This virus has compounded the hardships that these communities were already facing. Low income workers have less access to health insurance, health care, and paid sick leave, and are less likely to hold jobs where they can work from home, so they are left with no choice but to continuously place themselves at risk. Recovery efforts from this pandemic should prioritize low income communities, communities of color, and essential workers who have suffered the most impacts from both climate change and the pandemic. Just recovery efforts must also be long term, and consider climate resiliency. These efforts should prioritize supporting the hardest hit communities and making them resilient to future crises, including climate impacts.

 

5. Hold Trump and politicians accountable.

Hold Trump accountable for his administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic.

The Trump Administration has not supplied the personal protective equipment or sufficient medical equipment needed to protect people on the frontlines of the pandemic. Insufficient testing combined with a lack of planning and preparedness has led to the loss of thousands of lives. The Trump Administration must be held accountable and President Trump and his family must not personally profit off of this crisis.

Hold politicians accountable who illegally benefitted from the pandemic.

According to financial disclosure forms, Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) each sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks within days of the Senate holding a classified briefing on Jan. 24 with Trump administration officials on the threat of the coronavirus outbreak. This is illegal insider trading and an ethical violation for the Senate. So far no Senators have been held accountable for their actions. We cannot allow a different set of rules and standards for elected officials. They must be held accountable.

 

6. Stop Fossil Fuel Expansion.

Ban use of bailout funds for the fossil fuel industry and other polluters

As the pandemic has unfolded, Big Oil and Gas are rushing to line their pockets with bailout funds that should be going to people and not polluters. President Trump invited oil executives to the White House and has pledged through tweets that he will never let the “US  Oil and Gas Industry down,” instructing his cabinet to make funds available to the flailing fossil fuel industry. 

As Trump and members of Congress who are beholden to Big Oil have maneuvered to bail out the oil industry, legislators such as Representative Barragan and Senator Merkely have launched efforts to combat giveaways to oil executives with the “Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling Act” (ReWIND Act). The ReWIND Act would prevent oil, gas and coal companies from gaining access to stimulus money through the Federal Reserve or Treasury, ban CARES Act fund recipients from securing new fossil fuel leases, and safeguard the Interior loosening of regulations during the state of emergency. These legislative protections are necessary to ensure that our communities are not left behind in favor of corporate giveaways.

Prohibit construction on fossil fuel industry and other polluters

In the midst of the pandemic, when communities are reeling with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, fossil fuel companies moved forward with construction of pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure. The EPA and PHIMSA (the agency that monitors pipelines) have loosened regulations and monitoring as the Department of Health and Human Services declared that pipeline construction was essential despite an oversupply of oil and gas. For example, in Montana, TC Energy has deployed workers to begin construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, threatening Indigenous lands and populations that have historically been more vulnerable and endangered by epidemics, and potentially taxing overburdened rural healthcare systems. Faith Spotted Eagle, an Indigenous leader and member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, likened this action to when settlers brought smallpox intentionally to their communities. With oil prices below zero, and pipelines like Keystone XL mired by court proceedings, construction should be prohibited on these polluting industries.

Stop the sale of leases for fossil fuel extraction on public lands

Despite outcry from environmentalists, the Department of Interior is moving forward with oil and gas lease sales. The Bureau of Land Management is holding auctions for parcels in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming. The Department of Interior has not extended comment periods to allow for members of the public who are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic to have time to adequately respond to projects that have severe environmental and climate consequences. With the drop in oil prices showing once again showing the volatility of Big Oil and its impact on our  economy, sales of leases for fossil fuel extraction should be stopped immediately. 

 

7. Invest in a Green New Deal.

As we are working towards economic recovery we should be building the foundations of a Green New Deal. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $90 billion for investment in renewable energy. This spurred a clean energy revolution across our nation. As Congress develops future stimulus plans, they should include Green New Deal policies that would:

  • Rebuild our infrastructure to transition to a clean, renewable energy economy.
  • Build affordable, zero emissions public transit. 
  • Expand public services that support climate resilience.
  • Prioritize investments in  vulnerable low income communities and communities of color.
  • Provide a just transition for fossil fuel workers and communities.
  • Invest in renewable energy infrastructure workforce training, research, and development. 
Sign Now

Tell Congress Bailout People, Not Polluters

Due to the coronavirus crisis, 30 million people have filed for unemployment and are living out this same reality every day. We all know the stories from our loved ones, friends, and family who are dealing with unemployment offices that are overcapacity. We know that COVID-19 is putting everyday working-class people at risk.

As millions of Americans are waiting for relief, the fossil fuel industry has pushed its way to the front of the line and Trump has rolled out the red carpet for them. The Trump administration has set up a $500 million dollar fund for big oil relief. We the people need to tell congress to divest that money to the people that need it. Trump has invited fossil fuel executives -not nurses and not struggling Americans to the White House to see how he could prop up Big Oil and Gas companies

Tell Congress to stop bailouts for Big Oil and prioritize the millions of people who are reeling from the pandemic.

The good news is that we do have climate champions in our congress that want to ensure that we are building the future and not bailing out fossil fuel industries. This week, Sen. Merkley and Rep. Barragan introduced the “Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling” Act or ReWIND Act. They want to ensure that any funds used are invested in people and not polluters.

We are asking that you sign our petition to tell congress to support the ReWIND Act (Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling) TODAY!

  • Keep the oil, gas, and coal industry from getting access to stimulus money through the Federal Reserve or Treasury.
  • Ban expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and prevent the SPR from leasing space to private oil.
  • Make discretionary royalty relief illegal.
  • Ban ability of bank holding companies to take over distressed oil and gas companies.
  • Ban any CARES Act fund recipients from getting new leases.
  • Ban Interior from modifying/loosening any oil, gas, or coal regulations during the state of emergency.
  • Ban fossil fuel bailouts under the Defense Production Act.
  • Extend all comment periods and ban new non-COVID rulemaking processes, both until at least 30 days past the end of the state of emergency.

Sign now to urge Congress to support the ReWind Act 


Dear Member,

I am writing to you today to ask you to co-sponsor the  “Resources for Workforce Investments, Not Drilling" (REWIND Act) led by Sen. Merkley and Rep. Barragan. The REWIND Act stops vital investments from going to the fossil fuel industry and ensures that people and communities will be prioritized over polluters. The REWIND Act would do the following: 

  • Keep the oil, gas and coal industry from getting access to stimulus money through the Federal Reserve or Treasury.
  • Ban expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and prevent the SPR from leasing space to private oil.
  • Make discretionary royalty relief illegal.
  • Ban ability of bank holding companies to take over distressed oil and gas companies.
  • Ban any CARES Act fund recipients from getting new leases.
  • Ban Interior from modifying/loosening any oil, gas, or coal regulations during the state of emergency.
  • Ban fossil fuel bailouts under the Defense Production Act.
  • Extend all comment periods and ban new non-COVID rulemaking processes, both until at least 30 days past the end of the state of emergency.

Please co-sponsor the REWIND Act today. 

Sincerely,

Sign now to urge Congress to support the ReWind Act 

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