“Stop The Dirty Pipeline Deal”: NYC Activists Arrested In Blockade of Senator Schumer’s Office

Dirty side deal would fast-track dangerous fossil fuel projects

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Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Photos and videos of the event are available here; a recorded livestream is available here.

This morning, 100 climate activists blockaded Senate Majority Leader Schumer’s Manhattan office, demanding an end to the side deal negotiated behind closed doors last month. Senator Schumer negotiated the side deal with Senator Manchin to buy the West Virginia Senator’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law Tuesday. 12 activists, represented by civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby, were arrested conducting a peaceful sit-in at Senator Schumer’s office. Police handcuffed protesters holding signs saying “Schumer: Stop The Dirty Pipeline Deal” and “Off Fossil Fuels”. 

According to a leaked one-pager, the side deal proposes to fast track dangerous fossil fuel projects, gut decades-old environmental review processes for infrastructure projects, and silence the public’s voice in decision making. The side deal also proposes to rubber stamp the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a failing fracked gas project that neighboring communities in Appalachia have been fighting for five years. A vote is expected on the side deal in September. Food & Water Watch Senior New York Organizer Laura Shindell, who was arrested Thursday morning said:

“Senator Schumer is sacrificing frontline communities and our clean energy future, all to placate a coal baron. Schumer’s dirty side deal is a lose-lose-lose for our frontline communities and our climate, shortcutting the federal agencies and public processes meant to protect us and fast-tracking dangerous fossil fuel projects. Senator Schumer must reverse course on the dirty pipeline deal and recommit to preserving a livable future.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act is a strong first step toward addressing the climate crisis, but the deal that Schumer struck with Manchin could seriously undermine it,” said Livvie Mann, organizer with Rise and Resist. “The ‘deal’ would allow fast tracking of fossil fuel infrastructure like pipelines, taking us in a completely wrong direction. Schumer must stop the dirty pipeline deal.” 

“We refuse to accept the so-called ‘Permitting Reform Bill’. This back-room side deal made with Manchin that would expand fossil fuel permitting is indefensible. We cannot allow the passage of a bill that would stifle the powers of frontline communities to fight back against ecological harm in their hometowns,” said Jonathan Salazar with Sunrise NYC. “We will keep fighting for a just transition until we’ve achieved a Green New Deal –– that’s why we are here.”

“It is vital that everyone step up to do their part in fighting the climate crisis,” said civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby. “While I am a bit old to be sitting in the streets (who knows if I could make it up?) I am proud to stand up for the climate warriors in court!”

“The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act carries a headline ‘42% GHG reduction by 2040’. This is debatable, given questionable methane accounting. What is not debatable is that even this 42% does not account for the side deal struck between Senators Manchin and Schumer to fast-track pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure in a separate bill,” said Shayok Mukhopadhyay, organizer with 350NYC. “Rep. Grijalva of Arizona has expressed concern that this bill may be tied together with other must-pass legislation to incentivize legislators to vote in its favor. This kind of backroom dealing that sacrifices the health of frontline communities and the stability of our climate must stop.”

“We see death, starvation, flooding, droughts, and wildfires from climate change. We should not be walking on eggshells with West Virginia’s Senator Joe Manchin, who is the largest recipient of fossil fuel money in the entire United States Congress,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project. “Our allies fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in his state have been protecting the land and water for nearly a decade against this heinous fracked gas project. It is unconscionable that we are fighting for our lives in the 21st century so politicians can profit off obsolete technology. We need Senator Schumer and the rest of Congress to use their power to defend communities, not pipelines.”

“As a survivor of Hurricane Sandy, I know the impact of climate change first-hand. Every time it rains, my daughter wonders if our home will once again be destroyed and we will be rendered homeless,” said Rachel Rivera with New York Communities for Change. “As long as Senator Chuck Schumer continues to acquiesce to Senator Joe Manchin’s dirty side deals that destroy bedrock climate protections, families like mine will continue to suffer.  It’s time for Senator Schumer to block this “permitting reform” proposal and protect our climate and communities, not Exxon Mobil.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]