A Green New Deal for Workers, Not Corporations
Houstonians Demand Lizzie Fletcher to Advocate for a Green New Deal in the interest of Oil and Gas Workers
Houston, TX – On December 12, the Houston Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will join over 24 DSA chapters nationwide to demand that our elected officials join the Fight For Our Lives. Houston DSA and Sunrise Movement Houston members will deliver demands to Democratic US Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) that she endorse the Green New Deal and support a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, safeguarding workers in polluting industries like oil and gas so that no one suffers as we take necessary action to prevent climate devastation.
At 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 12, Houston DSA and Sunrise Movement Houston will lead a walk through downtown, stopping at the offices of some of Fletcher’s oil and gas donors to shed light on her record, demand that she prioritize workers over corporations, and sponsor a Green New Deal. Supporters can sign the letter of notice to Lizzie Fletcher at houstondsa.org/d12.
A Green New Deal imagines a better future for all through public investment. The climate crisis is an opportunity to rebuild our economy in the interest of everyday people, replacing polluting industries with meaningful and fulfilling green union jobs. One key tenet, the idea of a Just Transition, centers workers with income support, job training, and job placement—in addition to repairing harm in frontline communities that bear the brunt of pollution and climate change.
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Houston, as the energy capital of the world, has to face the oil and gas industry’s role in climate change and the industry’s decline worldwide. We need a just transition to renewable energy so workers and Houstonians aren’t left behind. Houston DSA demands:
- Immediate COVID-19 Crisis Relief (including $2,000 per month for all)
- A Green Stimulus (including investments in renewable Public Power)
- A Green Jobs Guarantee
- The passage of The PRO Act into law
- The Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act
Why Lizzie Fletcher? Among Democrats, public opinion for Lizzie Fletcher is positive. However, she consistently votes with Republicans on energy policy, and in the 2020 election cycle she accepted more money from oil and gas companies than any congressional Democrat, with PAC donations in the same league as prominent Republican senators like Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn.
Despite Fletcher’s claims to advocate for oilfield jobs, she accepts donations from oil companies that prioritize shareholder value over workers’ interests even during this pandemic. These companies were unprepared for a global reckoning that has exposed our overreliance on fossil fuels and failed to ensure that valuable industry workers are able to survive.
Plains All American Pipeline, a Fletcher donor, is one example. After causing California’s Refugio Oil Spill in 2015, Plains only paid a fraction of total cost of damages and failed to change practices that damaged communities in the first place. Along with failing to pay and protect workers, Plains used much of its profit this year to buy back $500 million of its own stocks, a practice that effectively gives cash transfers to shareholders at the expense of safety and environmental obligations, remedying harms, and the welfare of workers.
Chevron, another of Fletcher’s major donors, laid off 10 to 15 percent of its workforce worldwide in 2020 while cutting a $13 billion deal for risky oil & gas reserves—betting on a tidy profit for investors years from now, while hundreds of Houstonians lose their jobs next month.
“We are asking Lizzie Fletcher to represent our energy future, not our energy past,” organizer Madeleine Pelzel of Houston DSA said. “This year there have been a record number of hurricanes, megafires on the west coast, and massive layoffs from the pandemic. If Lizzie Fletcher truly cares about the future of Houstonians, she must support the Green New Deal and a just transition for oil & gas workers.”
“Organizers including Democratic Congresswoman and DSA member Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) have already proposed making Detroit “the engine of a Green New Deal,” and Houston needs the same if we are to weather the storms to come.” said Jane Foreman, co-chair of Houston DSA. “In the wake of this pandemic there is so much damage to repair, and it’s past time that Houston has an economy that works for everyone, not just petroleum executives and shareholders. We need our representatives to work for all of us in the fight for our lives, not just their corporate donors.”
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The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has over 300 local groups and over 86,000 members building working class power while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in United States’ communities and politics.
Houston DSA is the Houston local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the country. We fight for more democracy — in our politics, workplaces, and communities. Our members are building and supporting progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in U.S. communities and politics through activism, political education, and community organization.