Protests Urge Sen. Schumer to Oppose Bernard McNamee As FERC Commissioner

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Above: NY youth, leaders representing hundreds of community, social justice, environmental and climate organizations wrote and delivered an open letter to Democratic Party US Senate leader Chuck Schumer on December 3, 2018 urging him to oppose Bernard Mcnamee for FERC Commissioner and Joe Manchin as Energy And Natural Resources Committee ranking member. Photo by Erik McGregor.

Note: There was also a sit-in at Senator Schummer’s office in Washington, DC.

KZ

Leaders representing hundreds of community, social justice, environmental and climate organizations have written an open letter to Democratic Party US Senate leader Chuck Schumer urging him to take two immediate actions:

“Take steps to ensure that President Trump’s latest nominee to become a FERC commissioner, Bernard McNamee, is not approved by the Senate without a full debate on the floor of the Senate;” and, “Do not appoint Joe Manchin to be the ranking member for the Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.”

Bernard McNamee was nominated by President Trump in October to fill a vacancy on the five-person board of commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. At a November 27th meeting of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, all 11 Democrats voted against him, with the exception of Joe Manchin, who voted with all of the 12 Republicans to confirm McNamee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set a cloture vote on the McNamee nomination for 5 pm Monday, December 3. Senator Maria Cantwell, ENR Committee Democratic Ranking Member, has stated that the Democrats will attempt to prevent his approval.

Ted Glick, arrested for speaking out against McNamee at the November 27 hearing, explained why the groups have written to Schumer:

“The McNamee vote on Monday afternoon gives Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Party an opportunity to show which side they are on, the people and the planet, or the fossil fuel polluters and plutocrats. It is encouraging that Senator Maria Cantwell, ENR ranking member, has taken the public position which she has. Senator Schumer should take his cues from Cantwell and lead the charge to prevent fossil fuel extremist McNamee’s approval, and he should then choose a new ENR Committee ranking member who votes with him against McNamee, not McNamee and fossil fuel supporter Manchin.”

Delaware Riverkeeper Maya Van Rossum added, “The Democratic Party has been posturing as leaders in addressing issues of climate, the environment and the rights of people.  To hold true to that posturing, Senator Schumer needs to lead the effort to oppose Bernard McNamee, a self-described fossil fuel advocate who denigrates clean energy whenever he is given the opportunity.  Giving McNamee the power of FERC to advance his fossil fuel agenda would be devastating for present and future generations.”

Open letter sent to Senator Schumer: Essential for the Democratic Party to take Climate Action

Dear Minority Leader Schumer,                                            December 2, 2018

Over the last two months both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment have issued stark warnings about the deepening dangers of climate change. This comes on top of the massively destructive wildfires in California, the Biblical, torrential rains in Houston last year and the Category 5 hurricane which devastated Puerto Rico.

It is essential that the Democratic Party, as a party which accepts the reality of climate change and the need for action to address it,

There are two immediate things which you as the party’s leader in the Senate can and must do toward this end:

-Take steps to ensure that President Trump’s latest nominee to become a FERC commissioner, Bernard McNamee, is not approved by the Senate without a full debate on the floor of the Senate. In the vote on McNamee in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 27, all Democrats voted against McNamee, with the exception of Joe Manchin. They did so because McNamee is an over-the-top advocate for the fossil fuel industry, a fossil fuel extremist. He is an openly-expressed opponent of renewable energy. He cannot be allowed to be approved without the Democratic Party putting up a public fight.

-Do not appoint Joe Manchin to be the ranking member for the Democrats on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. By his vote for McNamee earlier this week he made clear that he continues to be out of step not just with the majority of the Democrats on the ENR committee but with the Democratic Party generally. It would be a huge step backwards for Manchin, the most pro-fossil fuel Democratic Senator, to assume this position.

We urge you to do the right thing on these two substantive issues.

For the VOICES network,
Karen Feridun, Berks Gas Truth and Better Path Coalition
Ted Glick, Beyond Extreme Energy
Kim Fraczek, Sane Energy Project
Drew Hudson, 198 Methods
Maya van Rossum, Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Rosemary Wessel, No Fracked Gas in Mass

VOICES, Victory Over Infrastructure Clean Energy inStead, is a network of over 200 local, state, regional and national organizations working to protect people’s rights and the environment from fossil fuel industry expansion and for a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency

Additional organizations signing on:

Jane Winn, Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Lee Ziesche, Seeding Sovereignty
Elaine Tanner, Friends for Environmental Justice
Barbara Sims, Marysville Watch
Arianne Elinich, Bucks County Concerned Citizens Against the Pipeline
Al Blake, 350Ma-Berkshires
Connie Dawson, Easthampton Climate Response
Michaelan Bewsee, Arise for Social Justice Housing and Homeless Committee
Robert A. Armstrong, Franklin County CPR
Stephanie Scherr, ECHO Action NH
Rebecca Tippens, Center for Cultural Evolution
Daphne Wysham, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network
Tammy Murphy, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tim Spiese, Lancaster Against Pipelines
Michel Bagdes-Canning, Marcellus Outreach Butler
Maple Osterbrink, NC Alliance to Protect the People and Places We Love
Lynn Benander, Co-op Power
Julia Welch, Frack Action
Nancy LaPlaca, LaPlaca and Associates
Sandra Steingraber PhD, Concerned Health Professionals New York

  • Jim Schulman

    I regret missing the action!

  • mwildfire

    I live in West Virginia. I do not have any representatives, not in Washington or in Charleston. Certainly not Joe Manchin, D-Coal, Oil and Gas. I hope Schumer heeds this but he seems to be eagerly “bargaining” with the Repubs, in the manner of Obama and Pelosi, who come to the bargaining table with a list of what they will concede upfront, while the Republicans issue a list of what they demand before they’ll even negotiate–100% their way.