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Biden's first 100 days gets failing environmental justice score

By staff |
May 16, 2021
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Minneostans demand climate justice.
Minnesotans demand climate justice. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - On May 13, the Climate Justice Committee organized an event which brought together local activist groups in front of the offices of Senator Amy Klobuchar to examine the actions taken on environmental policy by the Biden administration during its first 100 days in office.

Climate Justice Committee (CJC) speaker Tracy Molm explained how when Biden took office in January, the CJC held his campaign accountable for the promise of doing more on climate, demanded a People's Agenda, and a reversal of Trump's many disastrous executive orders on climate change – picking 11 of the worst for Biden to overturn t during his first 100 days in office. Of these 11, Biden has only reversed one: rejoining the Paris Agreement. Other measures which could have been changed with a simple signature on day one, like going back to pre-Trump era emissions standards, were flatly ignored. A big point of disagreement, respecting treaty rights and ending fossil fuel pipelines was minimally addressed with the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, while larger pipeline endeavors such as DAPL and Line 3 continue to trespass and trample on indigenous sovereign land while still severely contaminating our environment.

The grave impact of these dirty pipelines was further emphasized by the testimony of Water Protector Betsy Foy, who told of her experience being arrested twice for her resistance to pipeline construction. Foy spoke of the disturbing legal process arrestees were put through and the inhumane treatment inflicted upon them by the police - one example described officers placing protesters ‘in isolation’ using blindfolds, headphones and sacks over their heads to cut them off of their surroundings.

"Indigenous treaties across what is now known as the United States do not endow rights to Native Americans," reminded Robert Hendrickson, reading a statement from a MN350 Pipeline resistance team member, "They provide rights to non-Indigenous people to live upon these lands. Mni-sota is built-up over the territory of the Anishinaabe and Dakota people, who are the custodians of these lands, past and present."

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, speaking for the MN Anti-War Committee, listed further instances of the Biden administration’s failure to address a people's agenda. She pointed to his silence on Israel's most recent desecration of a Muslim holy site, the horrific and continuous bombing of Gaza, the evictions of Jerusalem residents in Sheikh Jarrah and the systematic violation of Palestinian human and civil rights, the "plan to privatize the occupation of Afghanistan," with performative theatrics of bringing our soldiers home while leaving the bulk of occupation in the form of U.S. Special Forces, mercenaries, intelligence operatives and 18,000 Pentagon contractors "all planning to stay," the continuation of Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, with ICE, last week, detaining about 15,000 immigrants, including more than 1500 parents and children at the family holding facilities; all pointed to the fact that Biden is not substantially changing Trump's policies. "The only change is in the rhetoric," Aby-Keirstead declared.

So for this, the action of the Biden administration Aby-Keirstead graded with Needs Improvement. "And since I am a teacher," Aby-Keirstead concluded, "that's official."

"What we need to force change is a fighting movement," said Tracy Molm. "While politicians are happy to talk about all of us making choices to be more green - reduce waste by recycling, and all - our personal choices are minor compared to the impact of the U.S. military. So we need to be outraged and demand cuts to the U.S. military, demand that the U.S. military account for their role in climate change. To do this we need all of you to join us, like today, out at events. And we need to continue to connect issues like climate change to attacks on our Black and brown siblings and attacks on immigrants. We need to demand justice and a People’s Agenda."