New push to reject fossil fuel industry money in US elections gains endorsement from VA Gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 1, 2017

Contact:

Emily Southard, ClimateTruth.org Action, emily@climatetruth.org, phone 860–912–7773

David Turnbull, Oil Change USA, david@priceofoil.org, 202–316–3499

RL Miller, Climate Hawks Vote, rlm@climatehawksvote.com, 818–518–3470

Will Lawrence, Sunrise, will@sunrisemovement.org, 517–648–4558

Sarah Golden, Cater Communications, sarah@catercommunications.com, 415–548–1427

New push to reject fossil fuel industry money in US elections gains endorsement from VA Gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello

Today, as news builds that President Trump will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, Tom Perriello, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Virginia, became the first gubernatorial candidate to sign a new pledge to reject contributions from the fossil fuel industry during his campaign.

The “No Fossil Fuel Money” pledge is being spearheaded by Oil Change USA, ClimateTruth.org Action, Climate Hawks Vote, Activate Virginia, 350 Mass Action, Sunrise, Food & Water Watch Action Fund, and 350 Action. It requires those who sign to reject campaign contributions from the oil, gas and coal industries, in light of the industry’s ongoing efforts to delay action on climate change and force dangerous pipelines, power plants, and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects into communities.

Those that the sign No Fossil Fuel Money pledge promise “to not take contributions from the oil, gas, and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.”

“By signing this pledge, Tom Perriello is showing that he’s willing to stand up to Dominion Energy, fracked gas pipeline builders, and the rest of the fossil fuel industry in order to truly represent the people of Virginia,” said Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change USA. “It’s the perfect response to Donald Trump’s ill-informed and cowardly withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. We need more leaders like Tom Perriello who can lead a movement for the Separation of Oil and State, and we intend to find them.”

Today’s announcement also launches a new nationwide coalition effort of climate-focused organizations targeting candidates in upcoming elections across the country reject fossil fuel industry money. This year already, over 75 candidates have signed similar pledges in Virginia and California, building on efforts in Massachusetts that led to 74 candidate signers.

“We kicked off the fossil fuel pledge in California with sitting members of Congress Nanette Barragan (CA-44) and Ro Khanna (CA-17) signing the pledge, and viable candidates for red-to-blue seats across California joining,” said RL Miller, founder of Climate Hawks Vote, who led the pledge effort along with California’s Oil Money Out coalition. “We endorsed Perriello for his bold stand in rejecting Dominion money, and are excited to be broadening the effort and working with clean money advocates and climate hawks across the nation.”

The new Fossil Free Pledge effort launched with a new website at NoFossilFuelMoney.org. Organizers behind the pledge plan to target key races around the country in the lead-up to the 2018 mid-term elections, pushing candidates to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. The campaign launches as President Trump is signaling his intentions to gut climate policies and pull the United States out of the Paris international climate agreement.

“Climate leaders don’t take fossil fuel money, it’s as simple as that,” said Emily Southard, Campaigns Director with ClimateTruth.org Action. “Coastal towns and cities are already grappling with the costs of rising seas. We’re in a hole and it’s time for our political leaders to stop digging.”

“With this commitment, Tom Perriello again proves he’s willing to address the fundamental corruption — and its disastrous environmental consequences — that pervades Virginia politics today,” said Josh Stanfield, Executive Director of Activate Virginia.

“With the Trump Administration on the brink of exiting the Paris Climate Agreement, now more than ever, we need elected leaders, and those running for office, to step up state and local climate action, taking concrete action against the fossil fuel industry,” said Jason Kowalski, U.S Policy Director at 350 Action. “Tom Perriello’s pledge to reject contributions from the fossil fuel industry during his campaign is a commitment to keeping politics clean. It is the type of leadership we should be calling for from all candidates running for office to secure our future and the future of our communities.”

“After 40 Massachusetts state legislators of both parties signed a pledge declaring their freedom from dirty energy money, we are excited to see this idea take on national scale. Now more than ever, it’s clear that the dirty energy industry’s stranglehold on our political process must — and will — come to an end,” said Craig Altemose Executive Director of 350 Mass Action.

“The fight for climate stability is very much a fight against the pipeline of fossil fuel money flowing to our state and federal leaders. Until the dirty money spigot is closed for good, our health, our climate and our society will suffer,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch Action Fund. “When candidates like Tom Perriello say ‘no’ to the dirty money, they’re taking a key step towards putting people and the planet first.”

“Fossil fuel executives have been purchasing politicians and diminishing our democracy for too long,” said Varshini Prakash, spokesperson for Sunrise. “Rejecting fossil fuel money is the absolute minimum for any candidate to be considered a climate advocate. Young voters are gearing up to support candidates who take this stand, and end the careers of politicians who refuse.”

More details on the campaign and candidates who have signed the pledge will be added to NoFossilFuelMoney.org as the campaign progresses.

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