Actress Jane Fonda slammed Republican energy policies on Tuesday and urged Americans to break what she called “the stranglehold the fossil fuel industry has on our political process.”
Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, the Oscar winner said the devastating effects of climate change mean drastic steps are needed now.
“You know, I lie in bed at night searching for the right words that will galvanize people to action around the climate emergency and show them why it's too late for moderation,” said Fonda, who for 10 consecutive Fridays has led demonstrations in the nation’s capital protesting inaction on climate change.
She lashed out at GOP lawmakers, such as Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyConservatives are outraged that Sarah Bloom Raskin actually believes in capitalism Meet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (R-Pa.), for backing and promoting energy policies that benefit the fossil fuel industry.
"Several Republicans, notably Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have introduced resolutions prohibiting a unilateral moratorium on fracking by a president – just in case – next November a pro-climate president is elected,” Fonda said.
“Officials like Sen. Toomey tells us that American oil and gas production is the only path to energy security,” she added. “This narrative is at odds with the fact that we export so much gas and oil. I mean if we need it for energy security, what are we doing shipping it overseas?”
Toomey responded to Fonda’s remarks, saying in a statement that she “may be unaware that tens of thousands of Pennsylvania families rely on natural gas extraction for their livelihoods.”
“Furthermore, if, as Ms. Fonda advocates, we stop exporting natural gas, then our trading partners would inevitably switch to coal for electricity production and become dependent on hostile authoritarian regimes, like Russia’s,” Toomey added.
Fonda went on to say that working-class families, people of color and indigenous groups are the most vulnerable to fossil fuels polluting the environment and that there need to be policies that will grant them a “livable future.”
She advocated for implementation of the Green New Deal, a progressive proposal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Hispanics sour on Biden and Democrats' agenda as midterms loom MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Overnight Health Care — White House boosts mask availability MORE (D-Mass.).
Fonda added that the costs associated with funding the Green New Deal pale in comparison to the "total cost of billion-dollar weather and climate events" the United States will have to pay in the future.
"We can find the money," Fonda said.
Her remarks came the same day the House approved $1.4 trillion to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. The measure, which Trump is expected to sign into law after the Senate passes it, would provide increased funding for the National Science Foundation, NASA and climate research through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.