For Immediate Release
Seattle, WA – Eight activists were arrested after staging a sit-in at the Seattle office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray to demand she oppose the fossil fuel expansion deal proposed by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in exchange for his support of the Inflation Reduction Act. According to a leaked draft, the proposal would fast-track fossil fuel projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline, undercut basic environmental protections and reduce the ability of state agencies, tribes and community groups to review dangerous fossil fuel projects.
Activists delivered a letter to Sen. Murray’s staff and asked that Murray commit to opposing Marchin’s proposal. When they didn’t get that commitment, eight activists with the People vs Fossil Fuels coalition staged a peaceful sit-in at the office and held a banner reading “Senator Murray: stop fossil fuels! No fast track deal for pipelines.”
Police were called in and arrested all eight activists, who were later cited and released.
Senator Murray serves as the assistant Democratic leader in the Senate, ranking just below Majority Leader Schumer and Majority Whip Durbin. This makes her an especially important voice within the Democratic caucus.
Meanwhile, dozens of activists and coalition members rallied outside the Federal Building, chanting and holding signs reading “No fast track deal for pipelines,” “No permit deal for Big Oil,” and “Don’t sacrifice communities to Big Oil”.
Coalition members released the following statements after the actions:
“The proposal from Senator Manchin is nothing more than a wish list from Big Oil, whose only goal is more profit at the expense of people and the planet,” said Thomas Meyer, National Organizing Manager with Food & Water Watch. “Washingtonians expect our representatives to fight for real climate action and deliver for working families, not make deals with Big Oil. Senator Murray and the rest of our Congressional delegation must speak up strongly and swiftly against this massive rollback of public health and environmental protections that will fast track fossil fuel projects.”
“As a scientist and researcher, it is impossible to ignore the reports of our trajectory towards catastrophic climate breakdown,” said Will Livernois, a materials scientist and member of the climate activist group Scientist Rebellion. “The climate crisis is here and it is deadly. We are desperate for the government to listen to science so that we can avoid the worst effects of the climate and ecological crises, and transition towards a safe livable future. Fossil fuel expansion is not compatible with this future. Senator Murray must oppose this deal with Big Oil and any policies that allow for fossil fuel expansion.”
“Senator Manchin held climate action hostage to make deals for his buddies in the fossil fuel industry,” said Emily Johnston, a local writer and longtime climate activist. “Now Senator Murray has to stand up and make it clear that she won’t make deals with hostage takers and that she’ll defend critical environmental protections like NEPA. We can’t let Big Oil gut our bedrock environmental laws and bulldoze over communities; we need to stop this dirty deal.”
“Over 400 people died in Washington state last year from a heat dome — deaths linked to burning fossil fuels,” said Annemarie Dooley MD, a doctor and member of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “What Senator Manchin calls ‘permitting reform’ is really a health and safety sidestep, allowing fossil fuel projects to go ahead without careful review. We ask Senator Murray to oppose this deal with the fossil fuel industry, a giveaway that will result in many more heat deaths in the years ahead.”
“Anyone with their eyes open can see that the climate is changing disastrously for human health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Bill Daniell, environmental health physician and retired faculty at UW Public Health. “New long-term commitments to fossil fuel infrastructure make no sense and only serve corporate greed. Congress must stand up against false narratives and squash any legislation making it easier to continue oil and gas exploration or build new pipelines.”
Contact: Jessica Gable, [email protected]