January 12, 2016

350.org on SOTU: Obama Must Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Brooklyn, NY — Ahead of this year’s State of the Union, 350.org is looking for President Obama to build on his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and outline how he plans to keep more fossil fuels in the ground.

“The top climate priority for President Obama during his last year in office needs to be keeping fossil fuels in the ground,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “The question will be if Keystone XL was a one-off because of massive movement organizing or whether the President will stick to the climate test he laid out for the pipeline. That means making more public lands off limits to drilling, passing strong regulations that put the brakes on fracking, and scuttling bad trade deals like the TPP that would hand over new powers to the fossil fuel industry.”

Over the past few months, climate activists have already been protesting fossil fuel auctions across the country. Meanwhile, the fossil fuel divestment movement continues to pick up steam as investors turn towards the clean energy economy. Activists are gearing up for a big fight against any new fossil fuel development on public lands, including a strong push against offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Arctic coasts.

With a massive environmental disaster still underway in Porter Ranch, California, activists are also shining a spotlight on the need for new methane regulations that put an end to the fracking boom, and protect communities and the climate from dangerous natural gas projects.

“The Porter Ranch disaster has blown a giant hole in the ‘all of the above’ strategy previously touted by this administration,” said Boeve. “The methane emissions from that single leak are the equivalent of putting millions of new cars on the road every single day. Fracking has no place in a safe future. The administration’s new methane regulations must put the brakes on this dangerous practice. We need a full transition away from fossil fuels, and that includes natural gas.”

Groups like 350.org are also mobilizing for a head on confrontation with the fossil fuel industry’s biggest company: ExxonMobil. New revelations have revealed that Exxon knew about climate change for decades, but misled the public and its shareholders about the severity of the crisis and the impact it would have on the planet and the company’s bottom line. The New York state Attorney General has already launched an investigation into the matter. Activists are calling on President Obama to instruct the Department of Justice to do the same.

“We know that while politicians talk a big game in public about climate action, the fossil fuel industry is still in the back room trying to call the shots,” said Boeve. “With the win against the Keystone XL pipeline and an agreement in Paris, the climate movement has never had more momentum than we do today. We’re ready to intensify the fight against the fossil fuel industry and will be looking for the President to do the same.”