Environment

Millennials Interrupt Fracking Lobbyist Meeting at Trump Hotel in D.C. (Video)

Young people are rising up to reject corporate influence.

A dozen young people interrupted the opening reception to an oil and gas lobbying event at the International Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement

Washington D.C.— A dozen young people interrupted the opening reception to an oil and gas lobbying event Monday at the International Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. The annual 2018 “Congressional Call-Up” event, which focused on influencing federal officials in Congress and at the Environmental Protection Agency, was held by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a lobby group representing oil and gas companies.

Before the opening reception, over a dozen young people—part of the Sunrise Movement, a millennial-led group looking to make climate change an urgent political priority in the 2018 midterm elections—stood in the reception entrance inside the Trump International Hotel. During the interruption, attendees displayed a banner that read "Oil Lobby Money Buys Climate Wrecking Politics," sang a song to the tune of "God Bless the USA," and spoke about the impacts of climate change and oil drilling on their families. 

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The young activists disrupted the annual 2018 "Congressional Call-Up" event held by gas and oil lobbyists.

Fracking firms, many represented by the IPAA, fought hard in 2017 to ensure the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress moved swiftly to approve pipeline projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline, gut environmental protections, and expand drilling on public lands.

"I live in Pennsylvania where wealthy oil and gas executives have bought out politicians of both parties,” says Stephen O’Hanlon, an organizer with Sunrise Movement in Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvanians like me are paying the price for an industry that refuses to follow the rules or pay their fair share. Despite the Trump administration’s aggressive rollbacks and climate denial, the majority of Americans want government and businesses to address global warming by transitioning away from a fossil fuel economy to clean, renewable energy.”

“Fossil fuel executives and their lobbyists are only able to get away with pay-to-play politics because they corrupt our democracy in the shadows of places like the Trump Hotel,” said Stephanie Tulowetzke, a DC-based organizer with Sunrise Movement. “We’re here today to bring their dangerous, corrupt actions into the light. We won’t stop showing up at events like these until our politicians reject campaign contributions from the very CEOs threatening our lives and the lives of millions in this country.”

The young activists have secured the commitments of several Senate and House members running for re-election to reject campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Sunrise Movement has a four-year plan to make climate action an urgent priority in the U.S. This spring, young activists are challenging politicians running for office to reject campaign contributions from the oil, coal and industry. So far, over 250 candidates have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (MN). Over 50 additional candidates have signed the pledge in the last month alone.

Sunrise is also preparing for a massive youth intervention in the 2018 midterm elections by launching one of the largest youth electoral engagement programs ever called Sunrise Semester. Over 150 young people will volunteer full-time from June until the midterms in five priority states to end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics and elect a new generation of leaders who stand up for the health and well-being of all people.

Watch a video of young activists blockading the entrance to the Big Oil lobby event at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Monday:

Varshini Prakash is from Boston and has organized in the climate movement for more than five years, leading fossil fuel divestment campaigns on the local and national levels. She is currently the Communications Director for Sunrise.