Opposing Fossil Fuel Interests In Congress

The ECOreport reposts an OP Ed about the growing movement, opposing fossil fuel interests in Congress

Press Release from the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge

Two major Democratic candidates challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District — Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers — have taken a pledge to reject campaign contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industries, and to put the health of families, our climate, and our democracy ahead of fossil fuel industry profits.

Opposing Fossil Fuel Interests In Congress

“We are feeling the impact of climate change right now in the Wisconsin 1st. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen major flooding hit our district. Meanwhile, Ryan continues to put the interests of his Big Oil donors above our health and wellbeing,” said Greta Neubauer, a spokesperson from WI-01 for Sunrise Movement, the group that recruited Bryce to the pledge, and which is building an army of young people to end the corruption of the fossil fuel industry on our politics and stop climate change while creating millions of good jobs.

Candidates who sign the  “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge vow to not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs or executives of fossil fuel companies — companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution or sale of oil, gas or coal.

Candidates also pledge to prioritize the health of families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.

“Fossil fuel money is corrupting our political system and blocking action on climate change,” said ClimateTruth.org Action Campaigns Director Emily Southard. “Rejecting fossil fuel money shows the kind of courage and moral leadership required to begin strengthening our political system.”

Paul Ryan

In 2016, Paul Ryan was the top House of Representatives recipient of money from the oil industry and electric utilities. He ranked third in contributions from both coal mining companies and natural gas pipeline companies.

As Speaker of the House, Ryan has shepherded dozens of bills that have stalled progress on climate change, from cuts to renewable energy research to attempts to block the Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters, such as the droughts and floods that have devastated his state. He also has been a vocal proponent of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the historic Paris Accord on climate change.

“By signing this pledge, Bryce and Myers are sending a clear message that, unlike Ryan, they will stand with working families like mine, not fossil fuel billionaires and their lobbyists,” said Gunther Melander, another member of Sunrise who lives in Wisconsin.

Bryce and Myers — the first pledge-takers in Wisconsin — are the latest in a string of candidates who are rejecting dirty energy money to take a stand against fossil fuel interests.

California & Virginia

In California, the list includes congressional candidates and elected officials such as Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Harley Rouda (CA-48 candidate), and all viable Democratic candidates in CA-25: Bryan Caforio, Katie Hill, and Jess Phoenix. Tom Perriello, former Democratic candidate for Governor also signed the pledge, and over 75 Virginia state legislative candidates have signed a similar pledge not to take money from Dominion Energy. The movement began last fall, when over 75 candidates for the Massachusetts State Legislature – including 40 current state legislators, signed a similar pledge spearheaded by 350 Mass Action to not take money from fossil fuel companies and utilities. The Massachusetts State Democratic Party has also since incorporated the pledge into its formal platform.

Building Grassroots Political Power

“We’re thrilled to see the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge spread nationally,” said RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, a group dedicated to building grassroots political power for the climate movement. “This pledge sends a powerful signal to the nation that Democrats are not afraid to rely on people-powered small dollar donations instead of begging from billionaires hell-bent on poisoning our climate.”

The No Fossil Fuel Money pledge is coordinated by a coalition focused on stopping climate change and ending the corrupting influence of fossil fuel money on America’s democracy.  Members include Sunrise, ClimateTruth.org Action, Oil Change USA, Climate Hawks Vote, Activate Virginia, 350 Mass Action, Food & Water Action Fund, Center for Sustainable Economy, and 350 Action.

About The No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge

The No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge is  coordinated by a coalition of groups focused on stopping climate change and ending the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on America’s democracy. Taking the pledge is a commitment by a candidate to not knowingly accept any contributions over $200 from the PACs or executives of fossil fuel companies — companies whose primary business is the extraction, processing, distribution, or sale of oil, gas, or coal.  A list of these companies is available upon request. More information can be found at http://nofossilfuelmoney.org

Top Image: Screenshot from Randy Bryce for Congress Launch Video

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