Democracy Initiative Weekly Update 02.15.19

Friday, February 15, 2019
This week, we are sending out a streamlined version of the Weekly Update. We will return to a regular Update next week. The DI Weekly Update includes highlighted issues, actions, and events in the democracy movement this week—please share widely.

Democracy on the move

Federal Court Dismisses $900 Million Pipeline Company Lawsuit Against Greenpeace

The United States District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a landmark dismissal of all claims against all defendants in the USD $900 million case against Greenpeace and others brought by Energy Transfer.

The decision to dismiss this lawsuit, which alleged Greenpeace engaged in racketeering and defamation, sends a strong message to all companies trying to silence civil society with baseless cases. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson wrote in his order dismissing the case that, “Posting articles written by people with similar beliefs does not create a RICO enterprise,” and that, “Donating to people whose cause you support does not create a RICO enterprise.”

Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in response to the decision:

“Justice has been served. This is a huge victory not just for Greenpeace but for anyone and everyone who has ever stood up against powerful corporate interests. Today’s decision to dismiss Energy Transfer’s baseless lawsuit against Greenpeace and others sends a clear message to companies trying to muzzle civil society that corporate overreach will not be tolerated. It is also a check on corporate efforts to silence dissent.


The For the People Act is moving! This week, the House of Representatives held two more hearings on the comprehensive package of democracy reforms. Throughout this process the Democracy Initiative has worked to educate our coalition partners, activists, and movement leaders about how democracy reforms impact the kitchen-table issues we all care about. We believe that the legislation and legislative process is being driven by the political demand and recent success in the States. We also believe that those same grassroots leaders need to be at the forefront of our campaign efforts.  

To that end, a number of our DI partner are working to influence the process, improve the bill, and strengthen our democracy in the states and in Washington DC. This week, a number of our partners are testifying in the House Administration Committee. We wanted to highlight two of them

  • Brandon Jessup, Executive Director of Michigan Forward and DI leader, testified in support of H.R. 1, making the connections between Congressional reform efforts and how democracy has impacted him and his Michigan community.  
  • Click here to read Brandon's full testimony:


Let NY Vote!

For years, grassroots activists from all across New York state have fought for meaningful voting reforms. In January, following the historic 2018 midterm elections, the Let NY Vote! Coalition successfully passed the first major voting reforms in New York in more than 100 years!

Drain the Swamp!

Trump just announced he will nominate David Bernhardt, a former high paid oil lobbyist, to run the Department of the Interior. As Secretary, Bernhardt will be responsible for fossil fuel leasing on our public lands and waters.

If confirmed, Bernhardt could use his position to help his Big Oil friends dismantle basic protections like the Endangered Species Act. Instead of draining the swamp, Trump wants to turn our National Parks and wild places over to the swamp monsters. We need your help to fight back!

  • Tell the Senate to reject David Bernhardt!  With the climate under attack, and wealthy fossil fuel interests continuing to deregulate the industry to escape essential environmental protections, we cannot allow an oil lobbyist to run the Department of the Interior! Distribute this petition to your members and tell the administration that the people will not stand for ecocide!

Speak up for Clean Water!

On Valentines Day, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed rule to slash federal clean water safeguards. Trump’s Dirty Water Rule is a radical reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act that ignores science and broad support from the public. It would eliminate protections for rain-dependent streams, which feed drinking water sources for millions of people. And it would put at risk more than half of our nation’s wetlands, which filter pollution and protect our communities from flooding.

Click here to learn more, and to tell the Trump administration to to defend clean water:

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