March 27, 2023
Press contact: Jackie Fielder, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gulf South leaders ask Treasury: “Where’s our bailout?”
Washington, D.C. — This afternoon, Black, Indigenous, and environmental justice leaders from the Gulf South who are fighting in the courts and at FERC against Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and petrochemical projects in their backyards, sent a letter to Secretary Janet Yellen’s office inviting Secretary Yellen to participate in Earth Day events in Lake Charles, Louisiana this year and imploring her to do all she can as head of FSOC to reign in climate related financial risk and fossil fuel financing from Wall Street. The letter is reproduced below:
March 27, 2023
The Honorable Dr. Janet L. Yellen
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Yellen,
We, the undersigned Gulf community leaders and organizations, are writing to ask you to visit us here in the Gulf in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Earth Day (Saturday, April 22nd) and to ask you to use your power as chair of the FSOC and one of President Biden’s key cabinet members, to stem the flow of Wall Street’s fossil fuel financing with the same urgency you gave to Silicon Valley Bank and the tech world on Monday. We may not be as resourced and wealthy as they are, but we are no less in crisis today.
The destruction visited upon our communities since the onset of racialized slavery and settler colonization has evolved to become a more socially acceptable, but no less violent, form of slow exploitation: that of fossil fuel and industrial buildout in our backyards. You and President Biden know the talking points very well at this point about environmental justice and the disproportionate effects of fossil fuel projects on communities of color. Just as you protected Silicon Valley, we need you to protect us from Morgan Stanley, RBC, and Goldman Sachs, the largest financiers of LNG, “a sector that is looking to banks to help push through a slate of enormous infrastructure projects.”
We implore you to take your role as FSOC chair seriously, and to do more than collect insurance data and convene an advisory committee on climate related financial risk. How is it that homeowners here in the hurricane-prone Gulf can’t get insurance, but fossil fuel and petrochemical companies in the very same neighborhoods can? How is it that our local economy has lost billions of dollars due to climate change-induced floods and hurricanes, and FEMA money still fails to trickle to those who have blue tarps as roofs? We’re glad that tech sector workers will get paid and will be spared from the SVB storm, but where is our bailout?
We invite you to personally come visit the Gulf south and see the polluting projects that threaten our beautiful ways of living, our heritage, and the future of our children. We deserve the same amount of protection from the failures of this volatile economic system as the tech world.
Texas Campaign for the Environment
RISE St. James
John Beard, Port Arthur Community Action Network
Juan B Mancias, Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas
Hon. Roishetta Ozane, The Vessel Project
James Hiatt, For a Better Bayou