Today, we celebrate. We won one of the most significant verdicts on fossil fuels in US history. The Biden Administration has paused all liquified natural gas exports.
When I think about how far we have come in the climate movement it honestly makes me cry. The environmental justice movement was started by Black, brown, and indigenous leaders who saw the impacts of the fossil fuel industry using their communities as sacrifice zones. For decades, communities in regions with heavy fossil fuel production have suffered from dirty air and water, health problems like cancer and asthma, and have watched their land become barren from toxic waste polluting the soil. While we are still facing environmental racism across the country, today’s decision centered and prioritized frontline voices over fossil fuel executives’ financial interests.
Venture Global, the largest company responsible for LNG projects in the Gulf South, has faced legal challenges for multiple standard infractions. Calcasieu Pass has had so many malfunctions with permitting and drilling that it has faced legal penalties all year. In fact, it was out of compliance 84% of the first year of development. It’s been clear for a very long time, LNG projects, like all fossil fuel expansion projects, are not in the public interest.
That is why I am so incredibly happy today, and we don’t always get to say that. Today, President Biden did something brave. Though a low bar to clear, President Biden has do more on climate than any other president in US history. And today, Biden stood on the side of the People against some of the most formidable special interests in industry and politics.
In 2020, Sunrise, among others, campaigned on how investing in climate would create millions of good jobs across the country. Soon after, President Biden campaigned with the most progressive general election platform in history. “When I hear climate, I think jobs” he said on the campaign trail. Our movement campaigned for a leader who would see the urgency of this crisis and do everything in his power to find solutions that invest in our communities. After a long battle for Build Back Better, we were able to secure the largest climate investment in history with the Inflation Reduction Act. Though it came with concessions that we disagreed with, the IRA has enabled a massive investment in transitioning to a green economy that is better for our planet and for American’s wallets. We are still fighting for what was left out of the IRA today.
Then, after laying the groundwork on the 2020 campaign trail, we were able to win The American Climate Corps, created out of the vision of the Civilian Climate Corps we popularized. The ACC is a step towards an all out government mobilization that gives people good paying jobs to fight the climate crisis and better the infrastructure and resiliency of communities across the country. The ACC has the opportunity to become a massive and fully resourced program that employs millions of people and develops endless clean energy throughout the country. Still, these investments cannot keep up the needed pace to decarbonize and secure a livable world while fossil fuel expansion is allowed to continue.
That’s why today, we can truly say we are at the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. Halting liquified natural gas export projects shows that the organizing we do is reaching the President, and that he is siding with our generation. All I can say is that more decisions that listen to our generation will be met with the same praise and celebration as this one. More choices that side with fighting for a just and livable world for all will mobilize our generation to organize and vote in this defining election cycle.
As I write this, I am receiving dozens of messages about our work in the election to come. I am seeing thousands of celebratory comments on articles that show the President’s historic decision today, and I am feeling hopeful more than I ever have, that we will end the climate crisis and deliver for communities across the US.
I believe that the administration has made a promise today. This promise is for Biden to be the FDR of climate and never allow fossil fuel executives to win over the voices of thousands fighting for a reinvestment in safe, clean, and sustainable communities. A promise that he is listening to our generation, that he agrees with our dedication to change, and will be a champion for the new green economy we need in order to thrive. Sunrise will be here to help the administration keep its promises to our generation.
Our work is far from over. We still have communities breathing unclean air from drilling projects next to their homes, neighbors with illnesses caused by polluted water, and friends losing their homes and loved ones to climate disasters.
Today is a reminder that organizing works. We have to keep going. We have to keep advocating for policy change, for a formal declaration of a climate emergency, and we have to mobilize and vote in this election. The stakes are too high to allow all of our hard work to be eradicated by extremist politicians. I know we can win more if we keep showing up the way we did for this historic moment.
Thank you to the thousands of activists and organizers in the Gulf South and across the country who never gave up to get us to where we are. Thank you to President Biden for standing up to fossil fuel executives and lobbyists to say, “enough”. Let’s take a moment to cheers, breathe, and then let’s get back to work.