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Washington D.C. — Three days after a viral protest at Nancy Pelosi’s office, dozens of young people crowded the D.C. office of Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) to demand he back Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Select Committee on a Green New Deal and reject contributions from fossil fuel interests.
The young members of climate advocacy group Sunrise Movement highlighted Pallone’s $130,000 in contributions from fossil fuel PACs, lobbyists and executives, suggesting that the donations compromised Pallone’s integrity and leadership on climate change.
“Frank Pallone calls himself a climate champion, but he continues to take over one hundred thousands of dollars from the same people hell-bent on stopping action on climate change – fossil fuel CEOs and lobbyists,” said 18-year old Sunrise member Jeremy Ornstein.
Pallone, the presumptive incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had previously attracted ire from climate advocates on Wednesday, when he spoke out against Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal committee, as well as Nancy Pelosi’s less ambitious Select Committee on Global Warming.
While some Hill observers framed Pallone’s objections as a simple matter of turf-jockeying by a committee chair, the protesters framed the issue in starkly moral terms.
“Pallone and his funders are scared of the ambition in Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal because it threatens their wealth and power. His obstructionism may condemn my generation to a lifetime of climate-fueled chaos and violence,” said Sunrise Communications Director Varshini Prakash. “If he wants to prove that he cares about young voters who just delivered the House to Democrats, he must back Ocasio-Cortez’s plan and cut his ties with oil and gas executives.”
This week’s events have seismically shifted the conversation about climate change among Democrats in Washington. Sunrise Movement plans to continue increasing pressure on Congressional Democrats with a national day of action on Tuesday in support of Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution.
“Young people are leading the way for Democrats to step up and be real climate leaders, or step aside and get out of the way,” said 350 Action Executive Director May Boeve. “For any shot at averting further climate catastrophe, Pallone and all elected officials must reject dirty fossil fuel money and fight for a Green New Deal that puts our climate and communities first. It’s not enough to acknowledge the reality of climate change — we need our representatives in Congress to walk the talk and support equitable solutions to this global crisis.”
Contact: Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement, 978-430-0708
Lindsay Meiman, 350 Action, (347) 460-9082