Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down Washington Gas’s Project Pipes Construction Site
*** For Immediate Release: October 26, 2023 ***
Washington, DC – Today, Extinction Rebellion DC (XRDC) shut down a construction site for Project Pipes, Washington Gas’s $4.5 billion fossil fuel pipeline project that will lock DC into decades more of dangerous methane pollution, making it impossible to meet DC’s climate goals – while forcing ratepayers to foot the bill.
This morning, rebels walked onto the construction site, laid down, and locked themselves to each other with lock boxes, stopping work on this deadly fossil fuel project that will pollute the air DC residents breathe with a cocktail of harmful poisons and toxins, contaminating the communities we live in – today and for generations to come.
Meanwhile, other rebels stood by chanting and held banners reading “DC COUNCIL: DON’T GHOST YOUR CLIMATE PROMISES” and “WASHINGTON GAS: ZOMBIE INDUSTRY.” Five rebels were arrested, and in total, about 50 rebels participated.
The methane gas Washington Gas pumps into residents’ homes pollutes the air with a cocktail of toxins that severely damage health, leading to premature death, respiratory illness, and cancers like leukemia. Outside, methane leaks contribute to the formation of smog, which is also a cause of premature death. Methane leaks also put residents in direct danger of fires and explosions – a very real risk in DC where over 70% of leaks are at hazardous levels, so they could explode at any moment.
“Washington Gas will tell you that we are endangering people’s lives by delaying their project. But this greedy corporation is motivated by profit, not the well-being of people. Washington Gas is the one pumping explosive gas into our communities, polluting our homes and endangering our lives,” said Claire (she/her), Press Spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion DC. “As long as Washington Gas forces methane through the city, residents will be in danger, especially low-income communities and communities of color. The DC Council must take a stand to secure a safe, livable future for all. It’s time we end methane and electrify DC.”
Project Pipes started almost a decade ago, yet Washington Gas has failed to significantly reduce the number of gas leaks in their pipes nor the greenhouse gas emissions associated with them. Despite Washington Gas’s clear ineptitude and the extensive risks posed to the community, the DC Council have failed to step in and protect constituents from this deadly project, leaving rebels no choice but to shut down the fossil fuel infrastructure their politicians refuse to.
The science is clear. If we want a livable planet, then we must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, today.
Several organizations have been working to stop this fossil fuel project for years, yet the DC Council and the DC Public Service Commission (DCPSC) have failed to listen to the science. On the cusp of phase three, now is the time for the DC Council to step in and direct the DCPSC to stop Project Pipes before more money goes down the drain.
Note to Editors:
For more information about Washington Gas’ toxic pipeline project and XRDC’s campaign to stop it visit https://www.xrdc.org/gas.
Methane is the gas piped into your home to cook your food and heat your house. DC has some of the oldest underground methane gas pipes in the country, and these pipes are leaking large amounts of methane throughout the city. There are more than 3,000 leaks in the District – and over 70% of the leaks in 2021 were at hazardous levels, posing a severe and immediate threat to the city’s residents.
Methane gas kills. It severely harms the health of DC’s residents, especially the most vulnerable — children, the elderly, and people experiencing homelessness. When you light your stove, it sends nitrogen dioxide into your home. That can cause cardiovascular problems, respiratory disease, and premature death.
A gas stove also releases chemicals that can cause cancer and birth defects.
A lit gas stove also produces a poisonous cocktail of other chemicals and gasses like formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and nitrogen dioxide. Children in homes with gas stoves are 42% more likely to have asthma than children whose families use electric stoves, a similar rate to children living with cigarette smokers. Stoves continue to leak methane into your home even when they’re turned off.
Washington Gas will tell you methane gas is “renewable,” “clean,” “natural,” “responsible,” and “green.” In fact, greenhouse gas emissions from the use of methane gas now exceed coal emissions in the United States — and methane heats the planet up to 80 times faster than carbon dioxide.
Methane concentrations in the atmosphere are so high that they’re now responsible for 30-50% of the global rise in temperatures. Leaking gas pipes, like those in DC, are a major source of US methane emissions. The amount of methane the fossil fuel industry releases is far worse than regulators think. And gas stoves in the United States release the same amount of greenhouse gas as 500,000 cars.
DC has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2045. Washington Gas’ plans make this goal impossible to achieve. The Department of Energy and Environment calls Washington Gas’ business plan “technically deficient with significant errors.”
This is part of Washington Gas’ coordinated, greenwashed PR campaign. They have sponsored Petworth’s street festival, a community food drive for Thanksgiving, and are an official media partner with WUSA9, which provides an easy outlet for their greenwashed PR. All of this is smoke and mirrors so Washington Gas can go through with their deadly Project Pipes.
About Extinction Rebellion
Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate & ecological crisis, including the sixth mass extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by Government. What Emergency? | This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook | FAQs
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