George Floyd


The recent brutal murder in Minneapolis has forced all of us at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to confront the injustice that runs rampant throughout our country. Our hearts and thoughts are with the families and communities of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others.

Lives have been senselessly taken, and that can’t be undone. But we can work to shine a light on police brutality, and join justice advocacy organizations to find solutions to this ongoing tragedy. 

Systemic racism permeates nearly everything — from brutal police killings to COVID-19’s disproportionate mortality rate among African Americans to the fact that people of color are disproportionately affected by runaway climate change. We have to work together for permanent and durable solutions that protect every single person of every single race — particularly the most vulnerable — now and in the future.

As an immediate step, we encourage everyone to donate generously to organizations promoting racial justice and raising funds for those affected by this crisis. A few recommendations: 

We also condemn all statements that condone or incite violence against those who are exercising their First Amendment rights to protest this and other recent deaths of African Americans across our country.

The right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy. We at CCAN have participated in dozens of demonstrations that have been essential for growing momentum for climate solutions. Yet, too often, African Americans are disproportionately targeted at these protests. When CCAN Board Member and frequent climate justice advocate Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. participated in the March for Science, he was targeted and assaulted by the police. When we joined with the #ShutdownDC Coalition to temporarily block traffic around the nation’s capitol to draw attention to the climate crisis, our largely white group was able to block off several intersections without trouble from the police — while the Black Lives Matter blockade was immediately targeted for arrests during the protest and hassled afterwards. 

Everyone should have a right to protest without fearing being killed. Everyone should have a right to walk down a street or sleep in their own bed without fearing being killed. 

For those of you reading this who are white, we encourage you to take this opportunity to learn as much as you can about institutional racism and privilege: 

For those of you who are people of color: Our hearts are breaking for you. If you have a story about what’s going on you’d like to share, we’d love to amplify your voice. Simply respond to this email and we’ll work with you on this. 

There is no climate justice without racial justice. 

In solidarity forever, 

The entire team at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network 

Graduate student life in a pandemic

Written by Joanne Sims, Virginia Commonwealth University

Good Bye Spring Break, hello social distancing

It was a rare occasion that the news was on in the middle of my spring break. The first COVID-19 cases had just spread to Virginia.  Suddenly the post-midterm peace was pushed aside for a pandemic. 

About a week into “stay at home” my socials became littered with “the earth is resetting itself” type posts about how the oceans and sky were cleaner now that we all stayed inside and it made me a little fearful. Climate change, an issue you can’t see, was still happening whether I went outside or not. Suddenly all my classes were discussing COVID-19 impacts on sustainability practices and public health. 

Jack of all trades! How I became a student, teacher, and caretaker all at once.

I had already planned to go back to my mom’s house for part of the break so I just headed there with way fewer clothes than would eventually be required. My spring break got extended to two weeks when the stay at place order and school cancellations were announced. Thankful for my mother free child care was delivered right at her doorsteps (Me!).

I have two younger siblings, one in pre-school and one in high school. My new role became part time-grad student and substitute teacher. My day consisted of waking up, doing pre-K worksheets, prepping breakfast and lunches, and organizing a schedule of daily classwork for my high school sibling. 

This was my first semester in graduate school, studying sustainable planning. Switching to an online format was… WEIRD. I’ve only done 1 class online before and hated every second of it. Writing memos on environmental impact assessments with Peppa Pig blasting in the background is far from ideal. 

Thankfully most of my professors were pretty chill and the amount of work required this semester was reduced and altered to better fit an online format.  The worst part of virtual learning is honestly discussions on zoom. I used my phone for the first couple weeks because my laptop broke just in time for online classes. Trying to find a time to interject when you can only see a quarter of the class and it feels like your professor is looking right at you is an introvert’s nightmare. 

We had a discussion in my environmental policy and planning class about whether this prolonged isolation will cause a surge in suburban living. The resources strain of urban spawn is less than ideal environmentally, but the idea of having space at a time when parks and other public green spaces are closed is appealing. 

Being at my mother’s house where we have a yard and the ability to not run into anyone was nice at first but something about being able to see and hear people from your 2nd-floor window has a kind of peace to it as well. It is my hope that we’ll see a rise in tiny green spaces, more apartments with courtyards and balconies at least.

I’ve been really thankful that my family has been safe and pretty fortunate so far. My mom’s job actually decreased her hours in order to limit the number of people in the building. They even gave masks to all the employees and their family members. 

I definitely think being in the house with my family, who I normally see a couple of times a month, has been very stressful. Homework and babysitting don’t always agree with each other. I took a short oasis to my apartment to work on the finals. This increase in family time has made me value my peaceful one bedroom. 

One of my biggest concerns during the pandemic has been my grandmother. She doesn’t drive and relies mainly on carpools and public transportation and the majority of her time was spent at church in large group settings. 

I’ve been in charge of ordering all her groceries and working as tech support so she can video call family. Grocery delivery is super easy but she isn’t very adept with technology so a lot of my free time has been occupied with opening facebook’s lives of her pastor. 

My next goal is to get her to figure out how to open Netflix or at least send her some DVDs so she’ll stop impulse buying from catalogs out of boredom. She called asking if I could send her a VHS player so I got my work cut out for me. 

Looking into the future

Prior to the pandemic, I was feeling wishy-washy about my future. I was thinking about leaving graduate school but the state of the economy is making a Masters degree look more appealing. I’ve only been on the job/internship hunt for a couple of months and since COVID I’ve noticed a significant drop in job opportunities. I’m still hopeful but I’m definitely expanding my net to things that weren’t necessarily interesting to me. 

I have a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and I’m not sure how a lot of the non-profit work I’m interested in will be fairing during a recession. An economic downturn won’t help already disinterested people care about the topic of climate change but it should. 

The speed of how quickly things turned from bad to worse with the pandemic can happen with our environment. It also gave me hope, seeing how quickly we’ve adapted to things like social distancing.

Hopefully, this shows people that fast-pace advancements for the health of our country are feasible and that we are resilient when it comes to change. 

Mental Health and Activism During the Time of Coronavirus

I saw a tweet the other day that went something like this:

My therapist: Your OCD is irrational

The Government: Wash your hands 19 times or else your dad will die

I couldn’t help but laugh at the grim reality of this tweet. I’ve had OCD my whole life, but was only formally diagnosed in the past couple years. I think it took so long because there’s a general misunderstanding of what OCD actually is. Although I relate to the above-mentioned tweet, I don’t have hand-washing compulsions. I also don’t compulsively straighten picture frames or clean (although sometimes I wish, since I have to deal with OCD anyway, I could at least get a clean room out of it).

OCD is actually a cycle of obsessive thoughts, anxiety, compulsions, and temporary relief. I’ll have an upsetting thought that I just can’t let go of, which results in almost unbearable anxiety. To relieve it, I’ll do something that my brain has decided makes me feel better – that could be turning my lamp off and on ten times, checking that the oven is off over and over before I go to sleep, or tapping my foot in a specific way on a crack in the sidewalk. I’ll feel better then, but just for a little while. Usually, giving in to the compulsions just makes the cycle more vicious, and soon enough, the compulsive behaviors are more upsetting than the obsessive thoughts.

All this to say, coronavirus has made OCD much more difficult to manage. It’s a time of extreme uncertainty, I have absolutely no control over it, and I’m stuck inside all day without many outlets for my energy. Everyone with OCD is different, but for me, it’s really the perfect storm.

That means prioritizing my mental health has been more important than ever. But that’s not true just for me. We are in stressful, unprecedented times, and many of our coping mechanisms, such as spending time with friends and family or going to the gym, aren’t available to us in the same way. It’s more important than ever for folks to learn about their own mental health, and figure out the best ways to take care of it.

For me, taking care of my mental health in quarantine has looked like this:

  • Therapy. I’m lucky enough to have a therapist that specializes in OCD and is also there to talk about pretty much anything I want. It took me a really long time to go to therapy – I procrastinated for about two years. But it’s one of the best moves I’ve made for my mental health. I’m lucky enough to have health insurance that covers my visits, a workplace that lets me adjust my hours so I can make my appointments, and a therapist who has transitioned to tele-appointments during coronavirus. Not everyone has the same access to therapy, but it’s worth doing the research – you may be surprised at the affordable options out there! If you’ve been on the fence about therapy, take this as your sign. DO IT!
  • Being kind to myself. This one takes constant work, but is more important than ever during coronavirus. I tend to get down on myself for not doing enough or being enough, whether that’s because I ate chips and salsa for dinner three nights in a row, or because with all this free time, I’m still opting for netflix over the books on my bedside table. Once I became aware of this thinking pattern, it became easier to recognize the moments where I am unnecessarily hard on myself. And in those moments, I gently remind myself that we are in a global pandemic, and that I am doing enough. Another trick that’s been particularly helpful has been writing down all the things I get done at the end of the day – that way, I can remember all that I’m doing, and not fixate exclusively on the unchecked items on my to-do list. 
  • Exercise. Whatever that means for you! I’ve never been a big walker, but suddenly I have a lot of free time – and I’ve discovered I actually love going on walks. However, not everyone lives in an area where it’s super safe to be outside right now. So listen to your body, and do whatever feels good to you.  But, truly, getting a little bit of exercise every day has been critical for me and my mental health. (The photo at the top is one of the many photos I’ve taken on my daily walk. This is one of my favorite views near my mom’s house.)
  • I know I said I would never show anyone my embroidery, but I guess I’ll make an exception. It’s a small, simple design, but the process is so therapeutic!
    Creative outlets. I will never let anyone see my watercoloring or embroidery, and absolutely NO ONE will ever be hearing me play the guitar, which I started learning a couple months ago. But that’s because these creative outlets aren’t for other people, they’re for me. Coronavirus means a lot of staring at screens and redundancy in everyday life. Spending time being creative feels like a breath of fresh air for my brain, and I’ve found it really helps reduce my anxiety.
  • Doing what’s in my control – like fighting climate change. I think mental health can be so tricky to manage right now because it truly feels like nothing is in our control. When things first started to pick up in the US, I was one of those people who was frantically googling coronavirus numbers at three in the morning, and checking every single news alert that came onto my phone. But this just left me feeling anxious and hopeless. I’m so grateful that I’m not in that place anymore. Instead, I’ve directed my energy into what is in my control – Which is where climate action comes in.

Climate Action: Necessary for the planet, equally necessary for my mental health.

I always knew that climate action was important to me for the obvious reasons. Our lives and the lives of future generations are at stake, and the most vulnerable communities will be hit hardest by our changing climate. Taking action on climate isn’t just an environmental necessity, it is a human rights necessity. However, during the coronavirus, taking action on climate has been equally necessary to maintaining my mental health. Because, even though climate change is a complex, global issue, I still have control over my impact. I feel better knowing that I am taking action, and that my small impact is still a real impact.

Of course, climate action looks a little different during a stay-at-home order. Strategy meetings are now on zoom, protests are on twitter, and educational events are on Facebook Live. And although I am eagerly awaiting the day we can all operate in-person again, I’m also feeling better and better about virtual activism. There is a huge, passionate community of people that are doing everything possible to avoid future catastrophe – and a stay-at-home order hasn’t stopped them. Folks are posting more about climate on social media, contacting their legislators over the phone or email, and are attending educational webinars hosted by organizations across the country. I am confident that this momentary pause in physical activism is only fueling the passion and drive that climate activists have always possessed. When this is all over, we’re going to fight harder than ever.

There are a lot of organizations doing a ton of great work right now, but here are a couple things that CCAN has lined up to help you get involved in climate action during coronavirus.

A skill-up on digital advocacy. We’re holding a training for how to best use social media for climate advocacy. Have you heard about the “Facebook townhall” feature, where you can reach out to all your local officials on Facebook at once? Learn this and more by watching this uber-informative social media training for climate activists.

Learning about the next big clean energy campaign in Virginia. We’re not just going to build a movement for the sake of building a movement. We’re going to put our new skills and communities into action! The next big clean energy fight in Virginia will be on transportation. Learn about what opportunities we have, like fare-free public transit, and how you can help us win! Click HERE to RSVP for the transportation info sesh with experts on May 26 at 7:00pm.

I hope that, sometime soon, you can take a moment to really consider your mental health. Sometimes, it can feel easier to ignore the question of how you’re doing than to really take a moment and check in with yourself. But, at least for me, prioritizing my mental health has been critical to staying afloat during coronavirus. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely worth it. 

An example of virtual activism! I participate in weekly virtual climate strikes. Email me at hannah@chesapeakeclimate.org to join me!

Grassroots Organizers (Central and Northern, Virginia)

Remote option available during COVID-19 pandemic

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is seeking two passionate organizers who are dedicated to uplifting community leaders in central Virginia & Northern Virginia to take on the climate crisis. This position can be tailored for a junior or senior level of experience.

Join our Winning Team

Work in the burgeoning climate movement in the increasingly progressive state of Virginia while joining a team of talented advocates and organizers at the forefront of Virginia’s sprint toward clean energy. Work with our diverse and committed supporters as part of a cutting-edge group that Bill McKibben calls “the best grassroots regional climate organization in the world.”  The Central Virginia & Northern Virginia Organizers will be joining CCAN at a critical time – a time where poor leadership and systemic inequities have worsened the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, especially in our most vulnerable communities, and now, more than ever, we need bold action to get us out of this crisis and it will take the same kind of ambitious action to solve the climate crisis before we find ourselves in another dire situation. 

About Us 

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the only group in the Chesapeake region of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. dedicated exclusively to building a powerful grassroots movement to fight climate change. We envision an equitable energy future where truly clean sources of power — efficiency, solar and wind — sustain every aspect of our lives, and dirty fossil fuels are phased out.

In Virginia, we are working on bold campaigns that would result in energy policies matching the scale of the climate crisis the state is facing. Never has our work been more important as we are facing stalls and rollbacks at the national level. For over a decade, we have been pushing the envelope of what’s “politically possible” in Virginia, using every tool inside and outside of the box – from organizing to lobbying to the law. We are standing in the way of two fracked gas pipelines, weakening one of the nation’s most powerful polluters (Dominion Energy), and we led the charge towards the first 100% clean electricity mandate in the south. 

About the Position 

The Central Virginia & Northern Virginia Organizers will have the skills, passion and commitment to take on one of the biggest problems facing our planet in a state newly committed to tackling it. We are looking for a resilient, creative, and strategic problem-solver to join our team. The ideal candidates will see opportunities to build relationships, inspire mobilization, and urge faster and more equitable change to address the climate crisis. They are energized by empowering others and are looking to put their creativity to work. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these positions will rely heavily on remote organizing and the utilization of digital tools to move people to action from the safety of their homes. 

What You Will Do

The primary responsibilities of the position include: 

  • Outreach and Volunteer Development: Much of this person’s time will be spent building relationships with people and inspiring them to take action. This involves recruiting, training and supporting volunteers and grassroots leaders, as well as forming and cultivating active volunteer teams.
  • Mobilization: Both of these organizers will work closely with existing supporters, community partners, and coalition leaders throughout Central Virginia.
  • Planning and Executing Inspiring Actions: The Central VA & Northern VA Organizers will plan and execute creative actions, media events and community meetings that will mobilize our base and influence Virginia’s decision makers.

Qualifications 

Qualified candidates will display the following capabilities and qualities: 

  • Commitment to the mission of fighting climate change and promoting environmental justice
  • Demonstrated experience building relationships through organizing racially diverse audiences; experience organizing in Virginia is a plus  
  • Demonstrated experience with campaign planning, coalition building; media outreach a plus  
  • Proven ability to be self-driven, while working effectively with a team 
  • Proven ability to multitask, while prioritizing measurable results 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Problem-solver; someone who thinks of solutions more than barriers  
  • Willing to travel as needed, a valid driver’s license and car, a satisfactory driving record and auto insurance 

The Details

The Central Virginia position is based in Richmond, Virginia and, though initially remote, will eventually involve frequent travel within the state and periodic travel within the region. The Central VA Organizer reports to the Virginia Director.

The Northern Virginia position, though initially remote, is based in the Washington, DC metro area (preferably in Northern VA, though DC-based candidates will be considered) and involves frequent travel within the state and periodic travel within the region. The Northern VA Organizer reports to the Virginia Director.

*Both positions can be performed remotely until health professionals lift social distancing and telework guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic*

Salary is commensurate with experience (minimum of $40,000/year) and this position will be tailored to the level of experience of the successful candidate. We provide a generous benefits package including health care, dental and vision coverage and 4 weeks’ paid vacation. 

How to Apply

Please fill out the Google form application, you will be prompted to answer a series of short questions and asked to submit a resume and cover letter, a writing sample is optional.

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis. CCAN is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse workforce. We value bringing a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives on staff because it makes us smarter and more effective at what we do and, ultimately, we want our staff and supporters to reflect the communities we organize. We are seeking to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups to apply for this position.

Student Activist Maddie Graham: “Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.”

Transcribed interview has been lightly edited for clarity. 

Maddie Graham: My name is Maddie Graham. I’m 17 years old and I’m a junior in high school. 

CCAN Organizer Anthony Field: You were recently featured in a Washington Post story called “The Foot Soldiers of the New Environmental Movement.” I read through it and saw the pictures and it was really incredible. How did you feel about it? 

MG: It was really cool to see myself in the Post. It made me seem a lot cooler than I am. But it could’ve been any of my organizer friends in that story. The movement as a whole, the youth, all of us are so incredibly brave and strong, so I think that story could’ve been about any of us. But it is pretty cool. 

AF: How did you get started in climate advocacy? 

MG: I’d always been into the environment. I was in the environmental club in middle school, I always had a garden, I liked to climb trees and be outside. But it was in my sophomore year of high school, during the mid-term elections, when my chemistry teacher told us that if we wanted to make a video — I’m in a communications climate program at school, so I film — she told us if we wanted to make a video encouraging people to vote green she would let us out of class. So that’s what we did, and it got 300,000 views and Bill McKibben retweeted it which was wild. At first people wanted to talk to me about that video, and through that I got connected to other people in the environmental movement. I really enjoyed making that video and wanted to do more. So then I found Sunrise really quickly after that, and then Fridays for Future really started to pick up steam in the USA after that. From there I’ve been organizing every way I can. 

AF: How has organizing changed in this time period? 

MG: On the one hand, it seemed the physical act of organizing hasn’t changed. We were always using Zoom. Most of our organizing happened not in person. On the other hand, everything has changed. Earth Day was online, something we’ve been planning for half a year, we had to pack up and move online. I still think the Earth Day actions were a success and we did a good job with what was given to us, but it was still kind of sad to be sitting inside on Earth Day. 

AF: You can’t necessarily be with friends and family in person, but is there something you can point to that’s been helping you through this situation?

MG: Harry Potter. Definitely. Rereading. Not so much watching the films. This has gotta be my 150th time rereading them. I love Harry Potter. 

AF: Any final thoughts? 

MG: Just want to make sure everyone knows if you do want to digital strike, you can find instructions for doing so at @fff_digital on twitter and @fff.digital on Instagram. It’s easy! Take a picture of yourself with a sign of that week’s theme, tag FFF Digital and DM them if you want to be included in the collage. 

My Covid-19 Story — Visible and Invisible Despair

“I shouldn’t even be out and about. My demographic is the most at risk, but I couldn’t miss the chance to see everyone,” said a good friend and fellow climate activist at a happy hour in Annapolis. A good friend whose words echoed in my mind whenever I began lightly coughing on my drive home. 

“See you tomorrow,”  Mike Tidwell, CCAN’s Executive Director, said as we bumped fists goodbye. A gesture that I thought about as I lay in bed hoping to escape the chest pains by sleeping.

“We’re here for you,” rang a cacophony of voices from friends, family, and co-workers as I read the word across my screen: POSITIVE.

How it started

The first symptom manifested as a slightly annoying dry cough the evening of March 9th as I left a happy hour in Annapolis. This cough was quickly followed up by a fever and sore throat. “Is this it,” I thought to myself as I googled COVID 19 symptoms for the 5th time the next day. 

The next week was a whirlwind of google searches, news articles, and sweating through every article of clothing I had as the fever worsened and my breathing became harder. The symptoms kept building up to the point that simply walking to the bathroom in my small 1 bedroom D.C. apartment felt like an Olympic feat.

Eventually, after a virtual visit with my primary care doctor, I was able to secure an appointment to get tested. I was terrified of the very real possibility that I have the Novel Coronavirus. Terrified that I would join the rapidly increasing number of positive cases in D.C., the United States, and around the world. 

Being Negative About The Positive

POSITIVE

Reading the word made it real – and it freaking sucked.

I immediately notified my co-workers of the results. They had already begun taking precautions around the workplace. Limiting face-to-face meetings, disinfecting workplaces, allowing staff to work from home. But this news required additional precautions: Notification of building management that someone was exhibiting symptoms and an order for all staff to work from home for the duration of this crisis.

CCAN couldn’t risk the possible transmission of the virus within the office. But, with all those precautions, all they could do was hold their breath and wait to see if they too began exhibiting symptoms. This was the case for dozens of my friends and colleagues who I had met within the previous weeks. Who knows when and where I contracted the virus and who I may have exposed. 

This positive diagnosis did not weigh on me for my own sake, but because of the fear that I put dozens in danger. I was like a barrel of toxic radiation and for all I knew I had been harming people for days before I noticed the symptoms. 

Corrosive Thoughts

By now I am sure everyone knows about the physical symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus: 

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

However, dealing with being COVID positive while also living in this crazy new world of social distancing and cosplaying as your favorite Mad Max character just to go to the store, there was a lot of mental weight as well:

  • Guilt. The guilt of possibly infecting others was ever-present. There was the guilt of knowing that in spite of how bad I felt, there were thousands dealing with this crisis while not having access to health care, a stable income, or a means of feeding themselves and their families.
  • Despair. Then there were the thoughts of uselessness. The crippling feeling of being worthless in your everyday life, unable to leave to go to the store or check the mail. Feeling useless while your co-workers continue on to fight the good fight while I struggle to sit up without coughing out a lung. 

I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Many have even reported feeling “Survivor’s Guilt” after recovering. I can certainly understand that too.

But we are not forever bound by these corrosive thoughts. This crisis, this virus, cannot last forever.

Taking a Deep Breath

About a month after COVID-19 decided to pay me a visit, I finally started feeling better. I could YAWN without it being interrupted by a two-minute coughing fit. I wasn’t afraid of switching positions while I was asleep and waking up choking and gasping for air. I could go a day (don’t shame me) without showering because I was no longer sweating profusely throughout the day due to a high fever. I even moved into a new house in Takoma Park!

I was finally starting to feel like myself.

Though, I would be lying if I said I was excited to get back to work.

My Second First Day

So that last sentence was more so for dramatic effect, but for real, I was extremely nervous. Getting back to work felt like my first day all over again. The CCAN staff had been weathering this storm and steering the ship through this crisis for a month without me. Would I even remember how to work? How would the others react to me having been gone for so long and would they think of me as that guy that got away without working for a few weeks?  What even is a “climate”?

CCAN is a special place. I was lucky enough to have the full support of the CCAN staff, even getting a care package of toilet paper delivered to me from our General Counsel, Anne Havemann.

As cheesy as it sounds, we are a family. More importantly, we are passionate about protecting the climate. We have a job to do. And unfortunately, the climate crisis isn’t on pause.

Even through the worst of times.

That is not to say individuals cannot take their time. There is nothing more important than ensuring your own stability. It just means that, no matter what, when you’re ready to rock n’ roll again, a spot is always open. 

Continuing the Fight

The fight never stops.

We find ourselves in a moment in time where millions are income insecure, our food supply chains are failing, and Maryland is in desperate need of a plan to deal with both the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic and the ever-present climate crisis. One part of that plan needs to be providing well paying and stable jobs for Marylanders,now and into the future.

With over 300,000 thousand Marylanders now having filed for unemployment benefits, we will soon need to create many new jobs for a sustainable new economy. And we have the opportunity to rebuild a new, CLEAN AND HEALTHY economy with renewable energy. Yet our clean energy industry has taken a hit. There are more than 40 utility-scale solar projects and two major offshore wind projects in danger of being held up in Maryland in part by the slow pace and misguided regulatory focus of the state’s Public Service Commission.

One thing you can do right now is sign this petition calling on the PSC to not delay clean energy in Maryland any longer. But that’s not the end, far from it. We’re going to keep fighting for clean energy. Because our health depends on it.

Thousands of Virginians, Scores of National Groups Tell Dominion CEO and Shareholders to Abandon Atlantic Coast Pipeline

More than 4000 residents sign petitions; 78 groups sign on to full-page ad calling on Dominion shareholders to abandon controversial pipeline

RICHMOND, VA — Today, as Dominion Energy meets virtually for its annual shareholder meeting, an unprecedented coalition of advocacy organizations and Virginia residents have sent a message to shareholders and board members, calling on the utility monopoly to abandon its plans to build the highly controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). 

A coalition of 78 prominent advocacy organizations from Virginia and across the country signed onto a letter that will be displayed in a full-page Richmond Times-Dispatch ad and a half-page Washington Post ad on May 6, the day of Dominion Energy’s annual shareholder meeting. The ad, addressed to shareholders, states: “New legislation and legal challenges have rendered the completion of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline unrealistic.” The letter points to the pipeline’s $8 billion price tag, eight missing permits necessary for construction, and the fact that Dominion recently informed state regulators that “significant build-out of natural gas generation facilities is not currently viable” under the state’s new law requiring Dominion to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. 

A law signed last month by Governor Northam, HB 167, significantly raises the threshold for Dominion to pass any of the cost of the ACP onto ratepayers. In order to recover costs from Virginians as planned, Dominion must now prove a need for the energy the pipeline would supply in Virginia and that the pipeline was the lowest-cost way to produce that energy.

Additionally, two petitions garnering nearly 4,000 signatures were delivered to Dominion executives and shareholders today. With one petition, over 2200 Virginia residents called on Dominion CEO Tom Farrell to walk away from the pipeline “for the financial health of the company.” Another petition gathered over 1800 signatures to tell Dominion shareholders that the pipeline “no longer makes economic sense, even based on Dominion Energy’s own logic,” and that “continuing to pursue this project is fiscally irresponsible.” 

VIEW FULL AD HERE AND PETITIONS HERE AND HERE

“Dominion Energy’s stubborn push to continue building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline despite ballooning costs, legal and permitting challenges, and a seismic shift in Virginia’s energy landscape betrays its duty to shareholders,” said Brennan Gilmore, Executive Director of Clean Virginia. “The responsible thing — for Virginians and shareholders alike — is for Dominion to shutter the project before another tree is felled.”

“After the coronavirus, the last thing we need is another crisis at our doorstep,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia Director at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “If built, the pipeline would be a disaster for both the economy and public health. And now that the economic case is stronger than ever, it’s time to end this dangerous project once and for all.”

“Our normal way of life because of the pandemic is not even close to returning. Factor this together with the economic uncertainties and the harmful impacts to the health and welfare of many elderly, low income and majority African Americans in the proposed compressor station neighborhood of  Union Hill, and you have something that is absolutely unjustified,” said Chad Oba, President Friends of Buckingham.

“Recent research shows that higher levels of air pollution increase the risk of death and hospitalization from COVID-19. Increasing toxic emissions takes us on the wrong path, placing Virginians at increased risk from the current pandemic as well as from other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases” Samantha Ahdoot, MD, Chair of Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action.

The letter to Dominion shareholders was signed by the following organizations: Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, Alliance for Affordable Energy, Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Appalachian Voices, Berks Gas Truth, Better Path Coalition, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Bold Alliance, Bold Iowa, Bridging The Gap In Virginia, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Center for Sustainable Economy, Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Clean Virginia, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, Climate Disobedience Center, Climate Hawks Vote, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Divest RVA Earth Action Inc, Earthworks, ENOUGH is ENOUGH Preserve VA, Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, First Alliance Consulting LLC, Food & Water Action, Friends of Buckingham, Friends of Nelson, Friends of the Earth, Green New Deal VA, Greenpeace USA, Hip Hop Caucus, Indigenous Environmental Network, Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, La ColectiVa, Lancaster Against Pipelines, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Lebanon Pipeline Awareness, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Mothers Out Front VA, Movement Rights, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (anti-nuclear), Oil Change International, Our Revolution Alexandria, Piedmont Environmental Council, Preserve Giles County, Property Rights and Pipeline Center, Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, Reclaim Augusta, Richard Freeman Allan, Richmond For All, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council (RACC), Rockfish Valley Investments, LLC, Scenic Virginia, Stand.earth, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Sustainable Roanoke, Together We Will Henrico, United Parents Against Lead & Other Environmental Hazards (UPAL), Virginia Clinicians for Climate Action, Virginia Community Rights Network, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia Democracy Forward (VADF), Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Virginia Justice Democrats, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Virginia Network for Democracy and Environmental Rights, Virginia Organizing, Wild Virginia, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, Yogaville Environmental Solutions, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Center For Sustainable Communities, 350 Alexandria, 350 Fairfax, 350 Loudoun, 350.org

CONTACT:
Denise Robbins, Communications Director, CCAN denise@chesapeakeclimate.org, 240-630-1889
Cassady Craighill, Communications Director, Clean Virginia cassady@cleanvirginia.org, 828-817-3328

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Congressman Raskin Leads Letter to Leadership: Oppose Fossil Fuel Liability Relief Now and Always

60 Members Of Congress Reject Attempts to Use the COVID-19 as an Excuse to Shield Industry from Ongoing Lawsuits over Climate Change Damages

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, 60 Members of Congress sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to “categorically oppose any attempt to confer immunity on the fossil fuel industry or to limit its liability for the damages it causes to people or property.” 

VIEW THE LETTER IN FULL HERE 

The fossil fuel industry knowingly lied for half a century about the catastrophic damage their product would cause and now they are attempting to use the COVID-19 recovery to evade legal accountability for its wrongdoings. Members of Congress are making clear that the industry will have to pay for the damage it created. 

Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated, “We applaud Congressman Raskin and all the lawmakers who put their name on this letter. The fossil fuel industry needs to pay for the damage it knowingly caused. The attempt of these companies to exploit this pandemic and make taxpayers clean up their mess is immoral.”

Those costs are becoming increasingly concrete. Already more than a dozen city, county, and state governments across the country — including the cities of Baltimore and Honolulu; the counties of King, Washington, and Boulder, Colorado, and the state of Rhode Island — have sued fossil fuel companies in recent years to recover billions of dollars in damages resulting from climate change the companies knew their products would cause. Giving liability relief to the fossil fuel industry could keep those cases from having their day in court. 

The letter has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), 350.org, Earthjustice, Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI), Food & Water Watch, Food & Water Action, Oxfam America, Union of Concerned Scientists, Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, VOICES (Victory over InFRACKstructure, Clean Energy Instead), Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network International (WECAN International), Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Climate Hawks Vote, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Center for Sustainable Economy, EarthRights International, Rachel Carson Council (RCC), Corporate Accountability, and the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. 

The letter opposes liability relief for the fossil fuel under any circumstances, not just during the COVID-19 recovery. The final line reads, “Shielding carbon polluters from proper accountability is an irrelevant and dangerous distraction from the task at hand. It has no place in federal legislation—we think never, but especially not now.”

Contact: Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, mtidwell@chesapeakeclimate.org, 240-460-5838

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 17 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.