Kate Triggiano Endorsed in Red Bank Council Race

May 25, 2021
 Climate

Food & Water Action, the political arm of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, is endorsing Kate Triggiano in the Democratic primary for Red Bank Borough Council.

The group cited Triggiano’s involvement in a range of activist campaigns across the region, and her leadership on the Council. During her first term, Councilmember Triggiano successfully introduced and enacted a local law that puts Red Bank on a path to achieve 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. She also championed an ordinance to ban single use plastic bags in the borough.

Food & Water Action New Jersey State Director Matt Smith released the following statement:

“We have been proud to consider Kate a friend and an ally for years. It was bold of her to run for political office and win her seat on the Council. And she didn’t stop there. She has demonstrated not only her support for bold climate and clean energy solutions, but also the political savvy to get them enacted into law. She is the kind of young progressive leader we need in Red Bank, and everywhere else across the state.”

Food & Water Watch has been active in New Jersey for over a decade, with a regional office in New Brunswick.

Food & Water Action Endorses Elizabeth Guzman and Lee Carter for the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates

May 14, 2021
 Climate Democracy

 

Richmond, VA — The national advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing Elizabeth Guzman and Lee Carter in the races for House District 31 and 50, respectively, citing their bold climate and environmental justice policies. Both candidates endorse the Green New Deal for Virginia, and are dedicated to a bold and urgent suite of climate policies that treat climate change as the emergency it is.

One of the first two Latinx women elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, Elizabeth Guzman has an impressive legislative track record. She wrote the resolution to declare a climate emergency in Virginia, and worked to ensure its passage in the House. As an immigrant and second-generation union member, Guzman has long championed policies that support Virginia’s workers, championing their needs above those of corporate interests. She is a co-founder of the Virginia New Deal Coalition, where she pushes for legislation that centers environmental justice concerns. She is also a strong advocate for clean water, having passed a bill to study and create recommendations for PFAS forever chemicals in water.

Lee Carter is running to maintain his seat in the House of Delegates 50th district. A Marine Corps veteran, Carter brings bold commitments to environmental policies that put Virginia workers above corporate powers. Committed to a fossil fuel free future, Carter opposes fracking, is a vocal opponent of infrastructure projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline and refuses campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies. A supporter of the Virginia Green New Deal, Carter’s leadership in the House of Delegates will push for bold policies that address the urgency of the climate crisis.

With the endorsements, Food & Water Action Southern Region Director Jorge Aguilar issued the following statement:

“Elizabeth Guzman is a champion of clean energy and clean water, and she has the legislative experience to support her bold ideas with action. She has already spearheaded successful environmental policy initiatives from the declaration of a climate emergency to the formation of a declaring a climate emergency to the Green New Deal Coalition and action on PFAS contamination in Virginia’s water supply. With another term, Guzman will deliver more urgent action on the climate crisis knocking at our door.

“Lee Carter is committed to standing up to corporate control. Virginia needs his leadership on bold climate policies that put people before polluters. Carter has displayed critical leadership in his commitment to keeping fossil fuels in the ground and fighting dirty pipeline projects. With another term, Carter’s bold policies will be critical in pushing Virginia toward a clean, renewable energy future that works for all Virginians.”

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Food & Water Action Endorses Sam Rasoul for Virginia Lieutenant Governor

April 27, 2021
 Climate Democracy

 

For Immediate Release

Richmond, VA — The national advocacy group Food & Water Action is endorsing Sam Rasoul for Virginia Lieutenant Governor. Sam Rasoul is a longstanding climate champion in the Virginia House of Delegates. Since 2018, Delegate Rasoul has been the lead sponsor of legislation to move Virginia to 100% renewables by 2035 and to declare a fossil fuel moratorium. In that time, he has also led Virginia’s Green New Deal coalition, offering bold leadership on the intersectional issues of environmental justice, racial justice and climate change.

With the endorsement, Food & Water Action Southern Region Director Jorge Aguilar issued the following statement:

Sam Rasoul has been our top ally in the fight to stop the worst impacts of climate change and has consistently provided a vision for how Virginia can protect its residents from the impacts of the fossil fuel industry. During his time as a Delegate, like his campaign says, he has approached coalition building with truth, love and grit, standing with advocates in critical fights surrounding the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines, as well as the legislative battles to ensure ratepayers are protected from companies like Dominion.

We believe that as Lieutenant Governor, Rasoul will bring his critical focus on working Virginians to the climate movement, prioritizing bold policies that ensure a just transition for all workers. Rasoul’s visionary plan for a Marshall Plan for Mothers, infrastructure that ensures quality internet access for all Virginians, and focus on a platform that benefits ordinary residents is reflective of what he’s stood for as a public servant. We are proud to endorse his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor.

 

We Helped Elect More Than Just Biden — Here’s Our Plan To Get Bold Climate Action

November 13, 2020
 Climate Democracy

Where does Joe Biden stand on banning fracking?

We saw big wins nationwide for our plan to curb the worst of climate change. It goes far beyond just electing Biden. Here’s what we did and what comes next.

by Sam Bernhardt, Political Director of Food & Water Action

The movement for a healthy future played a big role in defeating Donald Trump. 

President-elect Joe Biden has served in public office for nearly five decades, and he’s got his ways of doing things. However, Biden will enter office with one of the most progressive Congresses in history, and he will need to govern with them. Among the 117th Congress will be a set of new climate champions like Mondaire Jones (NY17), and Jamaal Bowman (NY16) who we helped elect, and who will go to work every day fighting for a COVID recovery that creates millions of renewable energy jobs and bans fracking.

Biden will also need to govern with a powerful climate movement which this fall rallied behind him to defeat Trump, but which will pivot to pressuring Biden to transition our country off of fossil fuels now. 

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Climate Movement Activists Helped Elect Biden And We Plan To Get Bold Climate Action

Food & Water Action played our part in defeating Trump. Our leaders drove a massive campaign to get voters in Pennsylvania signed up to vote absentee. In the last two weeks of the election, we pivoted to getting voters who weren’t registered to vote absentee to instead vote early or vote in person on election day. In total, we made 700,000 phone calls to voters around Pennsylvania, and engaged 25,000 voters in conversations to talk through their options for voting safely and securely. Food & Water Action volunteers also wrote 5,000 handwritten letters to voters in swing districts around the country, and sent hundreds of thousands of peer-to-peer text messages encouraging people to get out and vote, and to mobilize their friends to vote. 

Our effort was part of an enormous mobilization of organizations fighting to protect our planet, with the understanding that defeating Donald Trump was step one. Not only did the movement to ban fracking do the work, but our messaging worked too. Trump tried to frame Joe Biden as the leader of the movement against fracking. We now know that Trump’s messaging pushed voters in Pennsylvania’s heavily-fracked counties towards Biden.

Now that that’s accomplished, we turn our focus to pressuring President-elect Biden to follow through on his campaign commitments, like banning fracking on public lands. And we need to prioritize electing a majority in the Senate that will act on climate change. That work starts in Georgia’s January 2021 Senate runoff elections, but we know that the path towards meaningful climate legislation also runs through states like Pennsylvania and Iowa, where we need to utilize power we’ve been building on the ground for years to elect climate champions to the U.S. Senate.

Nationwide Support For Bold Climate Action Resulted In Important Regional Wins

We also know now more than ever that our movement is more than just groups like Food & Water Action and the community leaders we work with. We know that we have broad-based support nationwide for climate action, because in races around the country where the main issue was climate change, voters sided with the science to vote for a livable future.

New Jersey

The township of East Brunswick, New Jersey passed a ballot measure to create a clean energy program that will transition every household in the community to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Food & Water Action brought this policy to East Brunswick after we passed a similar ballot measure in neighboring Piscataway in 2019. We collected 1,000 signatures to qualify it for the ballot in East Brunswick. Then, we engaged in hundreds of conversations with East Brunswick voters through phone-banking, texting, and friend-to-friend organizing. On election day, over 70% of voters cast their ballot in support of the measure, making East Brunswick the sixth community Food & Water Action has worked with to adopt this policy, called Community Choice Aggregation, since 2018.

California

Meanwhile, in California, two county races pitted people against the profits of fossil fuel corporations, and we came out on top. In Los Angeles County, the third-most drilled county in the state, we helped elect Holly Mitchell to the County Board of Supervisors, who will be the deciding vote to enact setbacks to keep oil wells away from homes. With Holly’s vote, we’re ready to kill the dangerous practice of urban oil drilling in LA. 

In Ventura County, the second-most drilled county in California, we helped elect Carmen Ramirez, who will be the deciding vote in keeping recently passed setbacks in place. The oil industry didn’t go quietly. They spent nearly one million dollars to try to roll back our progress. But we out-organized, out-strategized, and out-mobilized them. 

Pennsylvania

Even in Pennsylvania, where fracking spokespeople would have us believe that opposing their industry is political suicide, we made progress, roughly doubling the caucus of state legislators who support transitioning off of fossil fuels while defending our most vocal leaders against hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack ads funded by the fracking industry. In 2022, we will flip the Pennsylvania State House with the most progressive Democratic majority to ever hold power in Harrisburg, so stay tuned for ways you can help build toward that goal. 

We have so much more work to do, but I know that by working together to make the most out of these important wins, we can build the power needed to get our country to a renewable energy future.

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Fracking Fizzled for Trump in Pennsylvania

November 6, 2020
 Climate Democracy

Desperate fracking ban fear mongering failed to produce results

For Immediate Release

After months of making wildly inaccurate claims about fracking, Donald Trump came up short with Pennsylvania voters.

Food & Water Action Pennsylvania Organizing Manager Megan McDonough issued the following statement:

“For months, Donald Trump desperately tried to weaponize a ban on fracking in order to win votes in Pennsylvania. He routinely lied about the number of workers in the fracking industry, exaggerated the role of fracking to the state’s economy, and had nothing to say about the communities that have been harmed by fossil fuel drilling and fracking waste.

“The fact that Trump’s ploy was a failure tells us that voters in Pennsylvania are tired of being told that they must sacrifice their health and safety for the sake of jobs.

“Contrary to Trump’s delusional portrait, the fracking industry has been in decline for years. Debt-ridden drilling companies have been shedding jobs across the state, and Wall Street investors have grown tired of losing money on a dubious business model that only works for fossil fuel CEOs.

“The real story about fracking in Pennsylvania is the deep resistance to fossil fuel exploitation. Communities have come together to fight new fracking wells and dangerous pipelines. Their leaders have run for political office — and won — by promising to fight corporate polluters. In fact, the caucus of state legislators explicitly calling for the phasing out of fracking grew substantially with the 2020 election. Those of us close to the ground in Pennsylvania can tell you that the debate over fracking has nothing to do with Donald Trump’s losing strategy. What we see is a determined opposition movement that is fighting for a better future for workers, the climate and their communities.”

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Trump’s Pennsylvania Fracking Fantasy: Polls and Recent Elections Prove a Pro-Fracking Message Won’t Win

September 1, 2020
 Climate Democracy

Donald Trump’s re-election hopes rest heavily on winning the state of Pennsylvania, which is why he is spending so much time talking about fracking. His campaign falsely claims Joe Biden supports a ban on drilling, and pro-Trump Super PACs are blanketing the airwaves claiming that a Biden drilling ban would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The political bet that Pennsylvania voters will support a pro-fracking candidate is a staple of election punditry. But there is abundant evidence that this conventional wisdom is totally incorrect.

 

Fracking is not popular with Pennsylvania voters in the first place

An August CBS/YouGov poll found that a slight majority of Pennsylvania voters (52 to 48 percent) oppose fracking. And new polling released by Climate Power 2020 shows that Pennsylvania voters favor bold climate action, have negative views of the fracking industry, and support a range of policies to limit drilling. And a recent Franklin & Marshall poll of registered Pennsylvania voters found 48% actually support a ban on fracking, while 39% opposed it.

 

Victorious anti-fracking candidates show limits of fracking’s appeal 

Anti-fracking Democrats have won in key areas of Pennsylvania, despite a heavy influx of industry campaign contributions dedicated to defeating them.

In 2018, anti-fracking candidates Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato and Elizabeth Fiedler won state legislative races, while the movement fighting the Mariner East pipelines in Chester County flipped a key Republican-held state legislative district by electing Danielle Friel Otten. These anti-fracking candidates all won competitive races, unseating incumbents who did not take on the industry. These trends continued in local races in 2019 in the Pittsburgh suburbs, and in the 2020 primaries the industry spent an astonishing sum in an attempt to unseat Friel Otten, while pro-fracking Democrats heavily backed a challenger to Lee. The strategy was a colossal failure; both candidates cruised to victory.

 

Trump Can’t Save Disappearing Fracking Jobs

While Trump and other pro-fracking politicians claim to be protecting fossil fuel industry workers, the industry has been shedding thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania.

The core of Trump’s fracking blitz is about protecting jobs. One widely aired pro-Trump Super PAC television ad makes the ludicrous claim that a fracking ban would eliminate 600,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. This is wildly inaccurate; before the most recent wave of job cuts, there were about 25,000 fracking jobs in Pennsylvania in total.

Outlandish claims aside, the fracking industry’s financial meltdown has already cost thousands of Pennsylvanians their jobs. Companies laid off hundreds of workers in 2019, and the COVID pandemic has accelerated that trend. One recent study found that almost 9,000 fossil fuel jobs in Pennsylvania were lost between March and July — a 26 percent decline. At this rate, Trump is protecting fracking jobs the same way he ‘saved’ workers in the coal industry.

While overshadowed by Trump’s dishonest rhetoric, the real jobs numbers speak for themselves: A new report shows that clean energy sector jobs grew by almost 9 percent between 2017 and 2019; over the same time period, coal and gas jobs fell by 3.3 and 7.4 percent, respectively.

 

Fracking has taken a terrible toll on public health in Pennsylvania, and the evidence is clear that the hype about gas being a climate-friendly ‘bridge fuel’ was fossil fuel industry spin. Instead of repeating and reinforcing tropes about fracking’s supposed appeal to swing state voters, there should be more attention devoted to the real story:  Anti-fracking politicians are winning their races, drilling is not popular with voters, and Donald Trump is claiming to save workers whose jobs are already being eliminated in an industry that is in the process of collapsing.