Today, climate activists held a press conference at Congressman Hakeem Jeffries’ Brooklyn office to condemn his weak climate record and his ties to the fossil fuel industry, urging him to take a stand against Senator Manchin’s Dirty Pipeline Deal. In 2022, two of Jeffries’ top ten donors were private equity companies with fossil fuel holdings. Jeffries’ campaign accepted $80,550 from Apollo Global Management and Blackstone Group this year, as he continued to refuse to take the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, signed by 59 members of Congress.
Since taking office in 2013, Rep. Jeffries has failed to deliver bold action to end U.S. reliance on the fossil fuels supercharging the crisis, from banning fracking nationwide, to halting new fossil fuel infrastructure, banning fossil fuel exports and cutting off taxpayer subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Most recently, he was one of only two New York City Democrats in the House who did not publicly oppose Sen. Manchin’s “Dirty Pipeline Deal”.
The press conference came days after Jeffries announced his bid for House Minority Leader, a role he is widely expected to assume later this month. Speakers called on Jeffries to deliver bold climate leadership from Day One as House Minority Leader. Activists with 350 Brooklyn, Climate Families NYC, Food & Water Watch, Indivisible Brooklyn, New York Communities for Change, and Sunrise Movement NYC demanded that Jeffries oppose any renewed version of Senator Joe Manchin’s “Dirty Pipeline Deal” that fast tracks the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure, while weakening bedrock environmental laws, and urged him to fight the House Republican majority, which is dominated by climate deniers and fossil fuel extremists.
Food & Water Watch New York Organizer Santosh Nandabalan said:
“Rep. Jeffries’ capacity for leading Democrats in the House is called into question by his virtual silence on perhaps the greatest threat facing humanity — the climate crisis. While New Yorkers put up fight after fight against the fracked gas plants and pipelines threatening our health and climate, Rep. Jeffries has failed to use his considerable influence in Washington to further the cause. As House Minority leader or as Brooklyn Representative, our demands are the same — Rep. Jeffries must stand up to his corporate fossil fuel donors and champion bold legislation to end our addiction to fossil fuels.”
“For a very long time now, Rep. Jeffries has stood with corporate interests over the planet and the working people in his district harmed by the climate crisis,” said New York Communities for Change member and Jeffries constituent Sonia Medrano. “As House Minority Leader, Rep. Jeffries must turn around his weak climate record and come out to reject any renewed version of Sen. Manchin’s ‘Dirty Deal’ that might be in the works.”
“Democrats outperformed their midterm expectations because of young and millennial voters who care about climate by huge majorities. But politicians like Jeffries still ignore climate at best, and do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry at worst,” said Liat Olenick with Indivisible Nation Brooklyn and Climate Families NYC. “The party and Hakeem Jeffries need to choose — young people or fossil fuels. And the choice is clear.”
“The climate crisis is accelerating rapidly, even as Congressman Jeffries stays silent,” said Sara Gronim of the local grassroots group 350Brooklyn. “Right now Senator Joe Manchin is trying to add language to the National Defense Authorization Act that would let fossil fuel companies ram through interstate pipelines over environmental and local concerns. Right now the United States is exporting more liquified natural gas than any other country on the planet. That methane gas is 85 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Where is Congressman Jeffries? Leadership means responsibility. We need him to shoulder responsibility for real action on climate.”
Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]