Climate activists press Raimondo to refuse contributions from fossil fuel interests

Members of the group “Sunrise” stage a protest at the State House in Providence December 6, 2019, calling on Gov. Gina Raimondo to reject contributions from “fossil fuel interests”. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Several hundred climate activists under the “Sunrise” banner rallied Friday at the State House, calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to refuse to accept contributions from fossil fuel interests.

A group of about 20 activists knocked on Raimondo’s second-floor office, where there was no answer. They formed a vanguard for several hundred others who rallied on the Smith Street steps, waving signs, chanting and listening to speakers condemn Raimondo’s refusal to decline contributions from executives of fossil fuel companies, or to sign on to the Green New Deal, the legislation proposed before Congress that would address climate change and economic inequality.

“Right now, she really is controlled by fossil fuel money and she’s taken over half a million dollars from big fossil fuel billionaires and executives, and they pretty much control all her decisions, and her decisions are influenced by it,” said Anjali Subramanian, who led the rally and identified herself as a high school student from Providence.

Raimondo anticipated the protesters’ arguments when she appeared earlier in the day on WPRO.

“While I admire them for their activism and their initiative, you know, it’s easy for them to wave a piece of paper and say “sign this”. I actually have to govern,” Raimondo told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti.

“The people of Rhode Island have to have heated homes this winter. People have to get to work. If you put a serious proposal before me that is practical, that we can sign, that fights climate change, I will sign it,” the Governor said.

Emma Boutin, a Brown University senior who led a smaller group of activists to knock on Raimondo’s door, expressed frustration and not finding an answer.

“It is so incredibly frustrating that we can’t even get into her office right now to speak with her about this, when it’s our futures on the line.” she said.

The group vowed to stay inside the State House until they received a response from Raimondo.


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