UPDATE: Greenpeace Activists Taken into Custody After 12-Hour Houston Bridge Protest

September 12, 2019

© Greenpeace

Greenpeace Activists Taken into Custody After 12-Hour Houston Bridge Protest

Baytown, Texas, September 12, 2019 — Today, 22 Greenpeace USA climbers formed a blockade from the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown, Texas, shutting down the largest fossil fuel thoroughfare in the United States ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in nearby Houston. They began at 6:30AM central time, and now, roughly an hour before the Democratic debate, 15 of them have been taken into police custody. Greenpeace does not yet know if there are charges or what they might be. Arrests are ongoing.

Live updates:



Photo and video of the protest: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ886WM5

Jonathan Butler, one of the activists taken into custody, said:

“For all the reasons I could list for why I participated in this action, all the things that keep me up at night, the main reason is my family. My nieces and nephew. I think about the future I am working towards, and the future I want for them. Climate change is here and now but it’s only going to get worse: more floods, more mega storms, and more fires. I want them to live in a world where they have access to clean water, clean air, and healthy food. I wanted to do all that I can and put my body on the line because their lives are important to me.

“We have to do the work necessary for a better life, for a better planet. That’s why I am here, and that’s what I’m working for. If we are all going to survive climate crisis, we the people must take back power from Trump and the fossil fuel industry — this is the time our movement demands a reckoning.”

Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard said:

“These brave activists took action today because we’re in a climate emergency created by fossil fuel CEOs and made worse by Trump. Now it’s up to the rest of us — and especially the Democratic candidates here in Houston tonight — to follow their lead and demand a world free of fossil fuels.

“Here’s what can happen when we follow these activist’s lead and finally choose renewable energy over fossil fuels: We can create millions of high-paying, union jobs. We can keep our air and water clean and safe. And we can safeguard our climate against catastrophe. We can’t afford to screw this up, and we won’t let oil executives do that for us.”

The climate crisis has emerged as a top issue in the 2020 election. A majority of registered voters now say climate change is an “emergency” and 67 percent believe that the United States under the Trump administration is not doing enough to address the problem [1]. In recent weeks, multiple Democratic candidates have released plans to phase out fossil fuels, hold industry executives accountable for their role in the climate crisis, and create jobs and opportunity in the renewable energy economy [2].

The action also sets the stage for next week’s youth climate strike. On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in New York City, millions of people across the US and the world will participate in youth-led strikes to demand transformative action to address the climate crisis. Youth leaders are calling on elected officials to say yes to a Green New Deal and no to fossil fuel expansion.



[1] https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=3639

[2] https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/climate2020/

Photo and video: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ886WM5


For interviews with the activists:

Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected] (in Baytown)

For additional updates and visuals requests:

Travis Nichols, Media Director, Greenpeace USA: +1 (206) 802-8498, [email protected]


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