Greenpeace USA Activists Who Protested Houston’s Fossil Fuel Industry Will Be Cleared Of All Criminal Charges

by Rocio Estrada

May 3, 2022

This was a peaceful action. The most dangerous thing about that shipping channel wasn’t the activists — it was and continues to be fossil fuel executives' reckless plans to push us further towards climate chaos.

© Greenpeace

May 2, 2022 – Houston, Texas. Greenpeace USA is pleased to announce that after over two years in the court system, the Greenpeace activists signed an agreement that will allow them to be cleared of all federal charges. A similar agreement was reached on state charges last November.  

The activists entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement which provides that the Attorney General’s office will dismiss all of these cases after a brief waiting period, as long as certain costs incurred by law enforcement were paid. In order to have these cases dismissed, the activists signed off on the Agreements which contained language drafted by the prosecution as part of a negotiation to expedite the dismissal of charges in lieu of a trial. 

On September 12, 2019, 22 Greenpeace activists protested the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare in the country for 18 hours. The goal is and always has been to draw attention to the continued harm the fossil fuel industry is imposing on our people and planet, especially to residents of places like Houston who live close to harmful fossil fuel facilities. On average, 700,000 barrels of oil pass through the Houston Ship Channel every single day. Cancer-causing toxic air and water pollution harm local communities every day, while the continuation and expansion of fossil fuel business harm us all as we barrel towards a point of no return in the climate crisis.

The shores of the 52-mile Houston Ship Channel are home to the second-largest petrochemical complex in the world. Refineries operated by ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and more sit dangerously close to homes and schools. Every day, these facilities threaten the health of the majority Black, Brown, and low-income communities that surround them. 

The protestors originally faced a felony charge under Texas’ anti-protest law, an unconstitutional law pushed forward by secretive lobbying groups like ALEC and oil companies like Koch Industries and Marathon Petroleum. In March 2020, a Texas grand jury declined to issue felony indictments. 

Greenpeace USA Activist Rico Sisney, who participated in the protest said:

“In Houston and around the world, Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. For too long, fossil fuel companies have poisoned communities to line the pockets of a handful of billionaires. They’ve gotten away with it in the same way that corporations and politicians get away with dehumanizing migrants, disabled, low-income, and other marginalized people all too often. Working together, we can ensure that the clean energy revolution will leave no one behind.” 

Greenpeace USA Deputy General Counsel, Deepa Padmanabha said: 

“We are in a climate emergency, created by the fossil fuel industry. We have little more than a decade to take ambitious action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – that means starting the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy now. We can either take the bold actions necessary to stave off the climate crisis today or suffer the radical consequences of climate-fueled disasters — more floods, more megastorms, and more fires — for years to come. This was a peaceful action. The most dangerous thing about that shipping channel wasn’t the activists — it was and continues to be fossil fuel executives’ reckless plans to push us further towards climate chaos.”



Contact: Rocio Estrada Snowdy, Greenpeace USA, Sr. Communications Specialist [email protected] (301) 592-7700

Rocio Estrada

By Rocio Estrada

Rocio Estrada is a bilingual Senior Communications Specialist for Greenpeace and works to support the organization's Executive team.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.