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Ikiya Collective

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People have traveled from all corners of the U.S. to Washington, D.C. today to show mass opposition to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s side-deal to fast-track fossil fuel projects, including his pet project, the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline.

“The Manchin dirty deal is more than a dirty deal and a give-away to the fossil fuel industry,” said Maury Johnson, co-chair of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Coalition, one of the groups leading today’s mobilization. “If it is passed it will decimate the environmental and social justice laws put into place over the several decades.”

Over 1,000 people are expected near the Capitol from 5:00 to 7:00pm for a rally that will feature speakers from environmental justice communities and frontline fossil fuel fights around the country. Speakers from Cancer Alley in Louisiana, along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia, and communities fighting fossil fuel projects in Alaska, Michigan, and South Dakota will all speak to how Manchin’s attacks on environmental protections would directly harm them and their families.

“This is just another ‘dope deal’ by Manchin and the Big Oil Lobby Machine to further sacrifice devastated, impoverished communities from Appalachia to the Gulf,” said John Beard, CEO & Founder of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, which is fighting LNG export facilities in Texas.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people from impacted communities will take part in more than 50 lobby meetings with Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. The effort is likely the largest grassroots lobbying effort put on by frontline communities during this session of Congress.

“Here in Appalachia, on the frontlines of the Mountain Valley Pipeline fight, we stand united with all frontline communities that our politicians are too quick to deem sacrifice zones in exchange for their political gain and financial profit,” said Russell Chisholm, Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator. “We demand Congress stop Manchin’s dirty pipeline deal and embark upon a path of inclusive and bold climate action that centers our needs — for we are not only the most impacted by the climate crisis, we are communities that have been underestimated by the fossil fuel industry for decades — we know how to fight this extraction and come out with a livable, just future for all.”

The effort is being led by the Stop MVP coalition, which has been successfully fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline for years, in partnership with national groups, including People vs. Fossil Fuels, a coalition of over 1,200 organizations pressuring the Biden Administration to stop the federal approval of new fossil fuel projects.

“This dirty side deal is nothing short of a wholesale giveaway to the fossil fuel industry to the detriment of frontline communities, Tribal nations, and Mother Earth,” said Joye Braun, national pipelines organizer of the Indigenous Environmental Network and a member of the People vs. Fossil Fuels steering committee. “The world is on fire and negotiating the amount of fuel for those flames is not acceptable. Congress needs to understand that there is no compromise when it comes to protecting the next seven generations of life and beyond.”

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Political opposition to Manchin’s dirty deal has been growing. More than 50 House Members signed onto a letter led by House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva opposing the deal. Over 650 organizations also sent a letter to Members of Congress calling on them to oppose the deal. Meanwhile, a group of state Democratic Party chairs and DNC members are pushing for a vote opposing the deal at a party meeting this week.

“A half century of environmental law and public participation in the decisions impacting their communities hang in the balance because Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin made a dirty deal behind closed doors that would sacrifice frontline communities from the Bronx and Brooklyn, to Appalachia, and throughout Indian Country,” said Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “As the home of the landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, I imagine many New Yorkers are ashamed of Majority Leader Schumer’s recent actions that are antithetical to our nation-leading climate law.”

A new report released today by Oil Change International debunks three of the arguments that Senator Manchin has been using to promote the Mountain Valley Pipeline, showing that the project won’t support US climate goals or help increase gas exports and debunking the idea that the Southeast needs more gas pipeline capacity.

Organizers are pledging to keep up pressure on Congress over the coming weeks to try and stop Manchin’s dirty deal. Today’s rally and push on Congress came together in just a matter of weeks.

About Ikiya Collective

Ikiya Collective is a frontline direct action group of femme, queer, and two-spirit Black, Indigenous, and queer folks of the global majority.

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