U.S. News

Young climate protesters call on McConnell to support Green New Deal

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 25, 2019 at 5:20 PM
A group of young environmental activists demonstrated outside of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell's office on Monday, calling on him to support the Green New Deal. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Feb. 25 (UPI) -- More than 100 young people demonstrated outside Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell's office Monday, calling on him and other senators to support the Green New Deal.

The demonstration was organized by the Sunrise Movement, a national youth environmental activist group, in order to present McConnell with a petition with 100,000 signatures urging him to co-sponsor the resolution for an environmental and energy reform plan.

"We're asking him to #LookUsInTheEyes when he tells us that the $1.9 MILLION he's taken from oil and gas CEOs is more important than our futures," the group wrote on its Facebook page alongside a livestream of the demonstration.

During the 2-hour stream a group of young people, including several from McConnell's home state of Kentucky, described their concerns about the environment and why the senator should support the New Green Deal proposed by Democrats.

"We're here to show Mitch McConnell that his own constituents support the Green New Deal," said 17-year-old Kentuckian Destine Rigsby after she detailed previous efforts to meet with McConnell.

The protesters held speeches outside McConnell's office and at one point began singing "which side are you on," at which point Capitol Police issued warnings and arrested 42 people for unlawfully demonstrating, and crowding and obstructing the building, spokeswoman Eva Malecki told CNN.

McConnell didn't meet with the protesters, but his staff offered to check his availability.

"As with all Kentuckians visiting D.C., we welcomed them to the office today. It's worth noting that two weeks before, Senator McConnell had already announced that he will be bringing the Green New Deal up for a vote in the U.S. Senate," McConnell spokeswoman Stephanie Penn told The Hill.

Earlier this month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., introduced the resolution offering a broad plan to fight climate change and involve marginalized communities disproportionately affected by climate change in solutions, with room for more specific policies to make the United States carbon neutral in 10 years.

The Green New Deal seeks to offset pollution caused by the use of coal or oil by increasing forests and also calls for an upgrade to infrastructure, building resiliency to climate change-related natural disasters and working with farmers to reduce emissions.

It has been co-sponsored by dozens of lawmakers, including 11 of the 47 Democrats in the Senate.

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