Energy & Environment

Green groups, Sanders supporters demand DNC end fossil fuel donations

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A group of environmentalists, Bernie Sanders supporters and progressives is urging the Democratic National Committee to reverse its decision to allow donations from the fossil fuel industry.

In a letter Thursday, 20 groups told DNC Chairman Tom Perez that they were “alarmed and dismayed” at the committee’s decision to reverse its prior stance that it would not accept donations from fossil fuel corporate PACs.

Groups who signed the letter include Greenpeace, 350 Action and People for Bernie.

“As you can surely understand, we were alarmed and dismayed to see the DNC reverse course after only two months,” the letter read. “Taking a stand against the campaign contributions of fossil fuel executives, lobbyists, front-groups, and political action committees corrupting our democracy is a basic test of progressive leadership.”

The DNC in early August overwhelming passed a resolution reversing its prior ban on donations from oil, gas and coal industries.

The resolution, sponsored by Perez, allows the committee to accept contributions from “workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.”

Perez cast the measure as a commitment to organized labor. 

Critics called the move a reversal of a prior DNC June decision to reject all fossil fuel donations.

The resolution, introduced by Christine Pelosi, a member of the committee and the daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was suggested as a way to connect with grass-roots voters and emphasize the party’s stance on environmentalism.

“Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels represents an existential threat to civilization, and Democrats committed in our 2016 Platform to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting America’s natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water and land for current and future generations,” read the text of the resolution.

The letter was timed with the DNC summer meeting in Chicago. A number of youth protestors interrupted the meeting Thursday to object to the reversal and warn the party was turning away young voters.

“If Democrats actually want to take back the House this fall, they will do everything they can to get young people excited about the party’s vision,” said Shelby Krohn, 21, in a statement provided by political group Sunrise Movement. “Turning their back on young people who are scared about climate change and opening their coffers to fossil fuel CEOs, lobbyists, and front groups is the wrong direction for the Democratic party.”

Tags Bernie Sanders Climate change Coal DNC donations Fossil fuel Nancy Pelosi oil Tom Perez

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