Media Advisory, March 10, 2021

Contact:

Gaby Sarri-Tobar, Center for Biological Diversity, (202) 594-7271, gsarritobar@biologicaldiversity.org
Andrea Crooms, (202) 468-9084, andreacrooms@gmail.com, wepowerdc@gmail.com

Environmental Justice Activists to Rally in D.C. for Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs

WASHINGTON— One year after COVID-19 was declared a national emergency, the national #NoShutOffs coalition and the D.C.-based We Power DC will mobilize Saturday outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to call on President Joe Biden and HHS Acting Secretary Nathan Cochran to issue a nationwide utility-shutoff moratorium. The socially distanced action will also urge local officials to extend the soon-expiring D.C. moratorium on Pepco disconnections.

What: Rally to urge federal and D.C. officials to halt utility shutoffs

When: Saturday, March 13, 11 a.m. to noon

Where: 330 C St. SW Washington, D.C., at the intersection of 4th St SW, outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Who: Individuals representing the #NoShutOffs Coalition and We Power DC

Why: The federal COVID-19 national health emergency was declared one year ago. Yet no federal relief has been granted to stem the public health crisis of power, water and broadband shutoffs, leading to millions of households having experienced, or being at risk of, utility shutoffs due to mass unemployment. Utility shutoffs pose a national threat to public health.

A recent study by Duke University estimated a nationwide utility moratorium could have avoided 8.7% of COVID-19 cases and 14.8% of deaths.

Only nine states and D.C. have moratoria in place. With D.C.’s moratoria set to expire soon and no national protections against shutoffs in place, advocates are urging President Biden to use his executive power to issue a nationwide utility-shutoff moratorium and bring utility debt relief to families.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

We Power DC is a coalition of community members and organizations working to create a clean, equitable, and democratically-controlled energy system for every DC resident.