Fossil Fuel Industry Funds Racist Policing, Pollutes Black Communities

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Racial Policing\Fossil Fuel Industry]
Eyes on the Ties: "Oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels are all big backers of police foundations, which privately raise money to buy weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for police departments."
Photo: Creative Commons\Derek Seidman

As movements for racial and environmental justice escalate across the US, these struggles – which, as groups like the National Black Environmental Justice Network point out, must be seen as one – have a common foe: the fossil fuel industry.

The same companies that drive environmental racism in Black and Brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution also fund police power in cities that stretch from Houston and Detroit to New Orleans and Salt Lake City.

Oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels are all big backers of police foundations, which privately raise money to buy weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for police departments, bypassing already outsized public police budgets.

These corporate actors – from Chevron and Shell to Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase – can be found serving as directors and funders of police foundations nationwide. Furthermore, these companies sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police and remind the public that police power is backed up by corporate power.

Fossil fuel companies, utilities, and the banks that fund them are prominent political players in any local or regional power structure. These companies, which rely on extraction and exploitation to secure their profits, have an incentive to form tight bonds with police forces, which function to uphold and protect their interests in the face of community opposition.

In many states, these companies go so far as to back laws to criminalize protests of dirty energy projects such as pipelines, openly weaponizing the police and criminal justice system to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry and the banks that fund them.

This symbiotic relationship between the fossil fuel industry and police often means that the companies that are polluting Black and Brown communities – like Marathon Petroleum in Detroit, Valero in Corpus Christi, or Shell in Louisiana – are the same ones that are aligned with and propping up police forces in these same cities.

This is why divesting from fossil fuels and fighting to end environmental racism goes hand in hand with defunding the police in the fight for racial justice and reinvestment in Black and Brown communities.

Read the rest of this Eyes on the Ties story here: https://news.littlesis.org/2020/07/27/fossil-fuel-industry-pollutes-blac...

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