Larry Larry, June 12, 2023

End the Era of Fossil Fuels Action 

On Friday, June 9th 2023, a coalition of climate fighting groups gathered in Chicago to demand that President Biden Declare a Climate Emergency and End the Era of Fossil Fuels! We called on Chase bank to halt their destructive financing of fossil fuels, and Peoples Gas to stop their immoral rate hike on Chicago consumers to pay for their cost overruns!

We rallied at the Kluczynski Federal Plaza, marched to Chase Bank, and the Aon Center with a 4-piece jazz band leading the way during our New Orleans style funeral procession. We proclaimed death to fossil fuels and demanded a rapid transition to a renewable energy economy!

350 Chicago stands in solidarity with the People vs. Fossil Fuels Coalition  and the necessary fights across the country to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure. President Biden continues to approve new fossil fuel leases despite his promises to end such practices on federal land. Meanwhile, grassroots groups around the country are fighting new pipelines, permits, and fossil fuel plants. To stop the worst effects of the climate crisis we have to stop new fossil fuel projects NOW, hasten the transition under the Inflation Reduction Act, and bring justice to the communities most impacted by fossil fuels. People across the country are fighting locally against oil and gas developments: Our fight for climate justice is connected, and President Biden has the responsibility and power to act now. 

Shut Down Line 5

Here In the Great Lakes region, Enbridge’s Line 5 oil and gas pipeline endangers the drinking water of millions and traverses the lands of many Indigenous tribes. Where it crosses the territory of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa in Wisconsin, the pipeline is dangerously close to the Bad River. Due to spring rain and snow melt, the banks of the Bad River have experienced heavy erosion due to flooding. In a location called the Meander, the pipeline is now within 10-12 feet of the river. A rupture in Line 5 could potentially send oil into Lake Superior and destroy the wild rice crop the tribe depends upon for sustenance. Another similar flood would assuredly cause a breach in the pipeline and kill fish, birds, harm agriculture and have vast health effects on the human population downstream. 

Just 2 weeks ago, a Western District Court Judge in Wisconsin, William Conley, stated that it was only a matter of time before the 70-year-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and gas pipeline that runs across the Bad River Band’s territory would be shut down.1,2  

Moreover, the decrepit pipeline crosses through the straits of Mackinac, a conjunction point between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. If the pipeline were to burst there, the drinking water of millions of people would be contaminated and cause environmental devastation across the Great Lakes Basin.

We have to keep the pressure on President Biden and other politicians to shut down the Line 5 Pipeline and stop Enbridge from building a replacement!  To sign a petition and send it to the President, click here at Oil and Water Don’t Mix.

Banking on Climate Chaos

According to a recent report from Oil Change and the Rainforest Action Network, Chase Bank is one of the biggest offenders in the climate crisis by financing fossil fuel projects across the globe. Since 2016, banks have invested 5.5 Trillion in fossil fuels with four banks based in the United States having invested 1.3 billion since 2016.

  • Chase with 434 Billion by themselves
  • Citi over 330 Billion
  • Wells Fargo over 316 Billion
  • Bank of America over 279 Billion

Chase is the worst malefactor and despite their climate pledges, their investments in fossil fuels continues apace. Not only are each of the banks investing in existing projects, they are financing the expansion of fossil fuel projects. Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, CitiBank and Bank of America need to begin divesting from fossil fuels now and start moving those investments into clean energy. Yesterday was the best time for banks to divest from fossil fuels, but the next best time is now! 3 

Peoples Gas Proposed Rate Hike

Meanwhile, Peoples Gas posted record profits for the sixth straight year and is currently pressing regulators for the biggest rate hike in Illinois history. The $400 million increase would raise our gas bills by more than $140 per year.

Already, one in five Peoples Gas customers are in debt to the utility. The rate hike will only exacerbate the Chicago heating-affordability crisis. 

Peoples Gas desires a rate hike to continue dumping billions of dollars into overhauling its fossil fuel infrastructure. The utility has grossly mismanaged the plan while reaping exorbitant profits – and driven our gas bills so high. 

Peoples Gas is also pushing for an excessive profit rate. If regulators grant the unwarranted rate hike, the utility intends to send more of our money from Chicago to their out-of-state corporate parent in Wisconsin.

Rather than wasting money on failing fossil fuel infrastructure and giving Peoples Gas obscene utility profits, it’s time for Chicago to begin the transition to clean, affordable, all-electric homes and break the gas habit. 

That’s why we call on regulators to say NO to the Peoples Gas rate hike. To sign a petition to Spike the Rate Hike, click here at Citizens Utility Board.

During our action, 350 Chicago was joined by members of Extinction Rebellion, Rising Tide Chicago, Third Act, Fridays for Future, The Illinois Green Party, Climate Reality Project, Chicago Climate Youth Coalition, Chicago Area Peace Action, 350 Milwaukee, Nuclear Energy Information Service, WeCan International, Illinois PIRG, Sierra Club and many more. If we missed an organization, we humbly apologize for the omission.   

Thank you Abe Scarr of Illinois PIRG for the content regarding Peoples Gas and the proposed  rate hike.

  1. Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
  2. Wisconsin NPR
  3. Banking on Climate Chaos Report