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Resolution Against Natural Gas as a Climate Solution, or a “Bridge” Fuel to a Clean Energy Future

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has adopted resolutions and action items on Environmental and Climate Justice in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015; and

WHEREAS, previous NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice resolutions have warned of the increasingly high levels of methane in gas produced through hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") procedures, such that the increasing use of natural gas for electricity generation has serious adverse climate implications and is not a climate solution, as it poses significant damages to the health and well-being of frontline communities; and

WHEREAS, electricity generated by natural gas is rapidly replacing coal-fired power and is yet another form of fossil-fuel-generated electricity posing considerable public health risks and environmental injustices and fueling climate change; and

WHEREAS, the increasing use of natural gas for electricity is resulting in a huge build-out of pipelines and increased "fracking", which has caused frontline communities to experience large increases in air and water pollution, earthquakes, illness and other environmental devastation; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. spent an estimated $37 billion on the production of natural gas for electricity in 2013, and North Carolina and other states have dramatically increased dependence on natural gas for electricity, which is shutting out clean energy and energy efficiency; and

WHEREAS, when burned to create electricity, natural gas emits 60% of the carbon dioxide that coal emits, nonetheless, natural gas has been seen by some as a "bridge fuel" to clean energy; and

WHEREAS, the concept of natural gas as a bridge fuel was based solely on carbon dioxide emissions, while ignoring emissions of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas with an impact on global warming 86-100 times worse than carbon dioxide; and

WHEREAS, in 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that current emissions of methane equal the current emissions of carbon dioxide as a driver of global warming; and

WHEREAS, electric utilities' increasing reliance on natural gas for electricity puts consumers at risk for price spikes and fuel supply shortages, and crowds out clean, locally-produced energy, just as the cost of solar and wind is decreasing rapidly; and

WHEREAS, it is those who are least able to afford the costs of new plant construction and escalating fuel costs who will bear the burden for the increased use of fracking gas; and

WHEREAS, communities benefit from clean, local, distributed energy as it provides good jobs, helps to reduce toxic air and water pollution, and is a safe, renewable, natural resource; and

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recognizes that burning natural gas (including "fracked" gas) for electricity (1) is not a climate solution, (2) puts customers at risk for price spikes and fuel supply shortages, as well as crowds out clean, locally-produced energy, and (3) puts frontline communities at risk for health and environmental damages from the production, distribution and burning gas and emitting methane for electricity; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP implores the fossil fuel industry and environmental protection agencies to halt the burning natural gas-emitting methane, which is simply another form of fossil fuel based electricity which poses a detriment to our long term health, and generates even more greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP recognizes that fracking gas hurts frontline communities by polluting the air and water and degrading the local environment and hurting public health and local economies and calls upon regulatory agencies to curtail the use of this fossil fuel based energy method; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP appeals to regulatory oversight authorities to protect the vulnerable families who are least able to afford the cost of overbuilding new plants and escalating fuel costs; and

BET IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP will continue to promote policies and urge federal, state and local government establishments to support locally-owned and locally- produced clean, non-fossil-fuel energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and energy-reducing programs such as energy efficiency and demand response; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that only clean natural gas be used; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will encourage and advocate for the establishment of programs that provide clean energy and energy efficiency jobs, as well as opportunities for African-American business development and ownership in clean energy industry sectors.