NEW YORK, NY – On April 26, 2023 six climate activists were arrested for blocking the entrance at the headquarters of global investment company KKR & Co. Inc., also known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. at a protest that shut down the building’s front entrance.
Protesters were demanding that the private equity giant stop funding fossil fuel projects that drive the climate crisis and poison the air and water of frontline communities.
Protesters from Reclaim our Tomorrow, New York Communities for Change and Rise and Resist joined Gulf Coast residents at the frontlines of fossil fuel buildout to condemn the climate destruction that KKR finances through its projects.
“All people, regardless of where they live, should be able to breathe clean fresh air and feel safe at their homes,” said Roishetta Ozane, a mother of six and resident of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. “We want the world to know that KKR is involved in projects that harm our communities and make us sick. We have suffered for decades because of these polluting projects in our backyards.”
In the last two years alone, KKR has invested $14.5 billion in several oil and gas projects including fracked gas, offshore drilling, methane gas terminals and coal plants. KKR owns two-thirds of the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline, a project that crosses through unceded sovereign territory in British Columbia and is fiercely opposed by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en.
KKR will take up to 49 percent ownership of Port Arthur LNG, a project recently approved for construction in Port Arthur, Texas, a city of predominantly Black and Latino residents who have endured polluting plants for decades.
“Our Port Arthur community is majority Black and Latino and we are being seen as a dumping ground for controversial projects like KKR’s methane gas project,” said John Beard, president and executive director of the Port Arthur Community Action Network. “Polluting projects continually imposed on Black, Indigenous and people of color are racist and are fundamentally linked to discrimination. KKR and Citi like to talk a good game about diversity and helping vulnerable communities, but their actions speak louder than words.”
A court last year agreed that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) should set lower limits on emission at Sempra’s proposed Port Arthur methane gas facility. But the commission declined to set lower limits stating it would be too costly for Sempra.
In addition, protesters also condemned worker exploitation and labor rights violations at KKR-owned companies.
“In Wharton, New Jersey, workers at KKR-owned Refresco have been negotiating a first contract for nearly a year, after overcoming the company’s union busting tactics,” said Azani Creeks, campaign and research coordinator at Private Equity Stakeholder Project. “Workers organized to join the UE due to low wages, poor healthcare benefits, constant scheduling changes and 12-hour shifts, and dangerous working conditions leading to high injury rates. Despite all this, KKR refuses to meet with workers. If KKR truly cares about workers at its companies, it will ensure that Refresco workers get a fair first contract and that workers’ rights are protected across its portfolio.”
© Erik McGregor – email@example.com – 917-225-8963