On February 2, New Yorkers rallied outside of Senator Chuck Schumer’s eight offices across the state, calling on him to lead the charge against Donald Trump’s anti-environmental agenda. From Long Island to Buffalo, we sent a clear message to the nation's most powerful Democrat: You need to stand strong in resisting Trump's plans.
Hundreds of New Yorkers took to the streets to demand a more forceful opposition to the Trump White House. In just a matter of weeks, Trump began his assault on our environment. He’s filled his cabinet with industry insiders, climate deniers, and fossil fuel fanatics. He greenlighted the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL. And he plans to defund the Environmental Protection Agency and undermine our nation’s basic protections for our water and air.
We know what else is on the horizon. The Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act are on the firing line. Trump wants to open the floodgates to more drilling, more fracking and more pipelines—all of which will leading to climate chaos. His infrastructure agenda would grant corporations control over our drinking water.
Trump is creating government of the corporations, by the banks and for the rich. Our families, communities and environment – and the future of our planet – are at risk.
As the Senate Minority Leader, Schumer is the nation’s most powerful Democrat. His heightened visibility gives him the ability to use the bully pulpit to reach the American public. He has the capacity to motivate his Senate colleagues. And, even in the minority, he and his fellow Democrats have the authority to stall and even block Trump’s legislative agenda and budget proposals.
For members of Congress, the temptation always exists to “work with the White House,” particularly for those who believe in the positive role that government must play. But there cannot be any accommodating of Trump’s dangerous plans. That’s another reason why Food & Water Watch and our allies held these rallies in New York, and delivered thousands of petitions to his Washington, DC office-- to let Schumer know that resisting Trump means more than just a few no votes on cabinet appointments.
We were joined by national organizations, like the Sierra Club, 350.org, Public Citizen and Greenpeace, and statewide allies like NYPIRG and Citizen Action of New York. Grassroots and community-based organizations, including WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Long Island Progressive Coalition, played instrumental roles. Community leaders, such as Syracuse’s Lindsay Speer and Long Island’s Lisa Oldendorp, helped anchor their local actions.
New Yorkers braved the bitter cold to rally in large numbers at each of Schumer’s offices, chanting and holding signs and bringing with them their local concerns. In Peekskill, representatives from Safe Energy Rights Group, Resist Spectra and Protect Orange County highlighted fossil fuel infrastructure, like the Spectra AIM pipeline and the CPV fracked-gas power plant under construction.
In Syracuse, Diane Swords of the Syracuse Peace Council addressed concerns with nuclear power, as did Gary Shaw of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition in Peekskill. Maizy Ludden, co-president of Students for Sustainability and co-coordinator of Take Back the Tap at Syracuse University, called on Schumer to protect her generation’s future by resisting Trump’s assault on the environment. On Long Island, Claudia Borecky and Dave Denenberg of Long Island Clean Air Water Soil cited threats to the region’s water safety.
The pressure paid off. At many rallies, Schumer staff members addressed the crowd, announcing his opposition to additional cabinet nominations. But as our focus shifts to defending the EPA and our basic environmental protections, we must continue to advocate that Schumer lead.
We didn't need to wait long to see that Trump is determined to create chaos, division and disaster. New Yorkers, and millions of other Americans, have stood up to say we simply won't have it. As Senate Minority Leader, Schumer must be a force for resisting this corporate presidency. Our future, and his, depends upon it.