Other Group

United for Action

Website:

unitedforaction.org

Type:

Volunteer Organization

Formation:

2010 in New York, New York

Founders:

David Braun and Ling Tsou

President:

David Braun

United for Action is a volunteer group of liberal activists that organize protesters against domestic energy production and in support of an extremist environmentalist agenda. [1]

The group is most widely known for orchestrating a litany of mass-protests and creating a coalition that pushed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to prohibit certain forms of natural gas production in New York. United for Action co-founder David Braun labeled gas drilling a form of terrorism,[2] and the group led the call for a complete ban on hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”),[3] a position too extreme for major environmentalist groups including the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council that instead sought regulation of the fracking industry.[4] Subsequently, United For Action has protested a number of other government bodies in seeking to eliminate gas drilling across the northeast[5] and the nation,[6] and has called for legislation to levy a $25,000 fine against anyone reusing byproducts from drilling for useful purposes such as de-icing roads. [7]

United For Action has also opposed international trade agreements that it feels could lead to the export of domestically produced energy, opposed an environmentalist policy compromise that includes New York state’s continued support for nuclear energy, and has sought to have New York City impose a 5-cent fee on paper and plastic carryout bags.[8]

Organizational History

New York-based environmentalist activists David Braun and Ling Tsou created United for Action in 2010. [9] The UnitedForAction.org website was registered to David Braun on July 21, 2010 in an apartment located along Central Park in New York City.[10]

United for Action bills itself as a totally volunteer organization that organizes and mobilizes left-wing activists in support of environmentalist policy prerogatives. The group opposes the use of domestic coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy[11] and instead advocates for a 100% “renewable” energy mandate.[12]

Political Activism

New York Fracking Ban Campaign

Also see New Yorkers Against Fracking Coalition (Other Group)

In 2010, United for Action turned out large numbers of left-wing activists at protests in New York and Albany advocating for a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state of New York. United For Action argued that the state needed to ban “fracking,” stop further expansion of natural gas and liquefied natural gas infrastructure, and instead should invest in renewable energy.[13]

At the time New York’s major environmentalist groups were seeking fracking regulations and thought United for Change was “crazy” for seeking a complete fracking ban. But United For Action’s members took the extreme left-wing position that a complete ban on fracking was the “only reasonable option.”[14] United for Action’s Ling Tsou noted that United For Action’s members were disillusioned by the fact that the recently passed Obamacare legislation did not include a single-payer mandate and were unwilling to accept similar compromises when it came to fracking legislation.[15]

United For Action co-founder David Braun labeled fracking a form of terrorism[16] and was sharply critical of mainstream environmental groups for seeking to regulate the natural gas industry rather than ban it outright.[17]

The group protested Cuomo relentlessly, rallying outside fundraisers, press conferences, state fairs, and dozens of other public events. [18]

The group’s leaders also helped to create the New Yorkers Against Fracking Coalition, alongside other environmental activists and the leaders of dozens of other environmental groups, including Actor Mark Ruffalo, Sandra Steingraber of Water Defense, Eric Weltman of Food and Water Watch, and Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeepers. [19] The New Yorkers Against Fracking Coalition coordinated the efforts of each group in the campaign against fracking in New York State.[20]

In December 2014 after years of relentless protesting by United For Action[21] Governor Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing in New York.[22] According to a state report, the ban could cost New York State 25,000 jobs.[23]

National Campaigns

Also see Americans Against Fracking Coalition (Other Group)

United for Action has opposed fracking outside of New York and relatedly has sought to stop numerous policies related to the production and distribution of natural gas.

The group has called for a national fracking ban[24] and is a member of the Americans Against Fracking Coalition,[25] co-founded by United For Action’s David Braun.[26]

United For Action also led mass-activism calling upon the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the four-state region it oversees[27] and also called upon then-President Barack Obama to ban fracking on all public lands.[28]

United For Action has also sought to implement certain environmentalist policies associated with fracking. The group has opposed the Keystone XL Pipeline[29] and joined with Occupy Wall Street to protest against another pipeline.[30] The group pushed to ban the use of fracking byproducts in road de-icing including a $25,000 non-compliance fine.[31]

United For Action opposed the creation of a deep-water port for liquefied natural gas known as the “Liberty Port Ambrose” project,[32] and joined the No LNG Coalition, along-side dozens of regional and national environmentalist organizations, many of which they had partnered with on previous anti-fracking efforts. The No LNG coalition included groups such as the Catskill Mountainkeepers, Environmental Action, Surfrider, Clean Ocean Action, South Shore Audubon Society, NYPIRG, and others.[33] While the project was to be an import only port, United For Action argued that it would eventually be used for exporting liquefied natural gas, which was created through fracking.[34] On November 12, 2015, Governor Cuomo vetoed the proposed Port Ambrose gas port off New York’s coast.[35] United For Action hosted a party to celebrate Cuomo’s decision.[36]

Environmentalist Positions

United For Action’s activism agenda expanded to address climate change in general. Ling Tsou labeled Climate change “an existential threat to humans and all life forms”[37] and United For Action activist Edie Kantrowitz demanded a complete departure from fossil fuel-driven energy production.”[38] In 2016, United for Action joined with 350 left-of-center environmental, social, and health organizations in petitioning President Obama to declare climate change a national emergency and to continue a ban on the export of domestically produced crude oil. [39] Similarly, the group sought to stop President Obama from enacting both the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement because it could lead to the export of domestically produced energy.[40]

United For Action has recently championed a New York City Council proposal to impose an immediate 5-cent fee on paper and plastic carryout bags in order to reduce fossil fuel emissions.[41] The group also sought to ban the use of Styrofoam containers in New York.[42]

The group also opposed nuclear energy plant subsidies, called for nuclear decommissioning, and instead sought to have New York’s nuclear funds re-directed to experimental environmentalist-supported energy sources.[43] In 2015, Governor Cuomo mandated that 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York State by 2030 result from these experimental energy sources. At the same time, Cuomo also called for a process to continue supporting nuclear energy. United For Action labeled this compromise deal “unacceptable” due to its continued support for nuclear energy.[44]

Political Support

United for Action has not officially supported political candidates for office. However, the group’s co-founder David Braun said that he worked to help President Obama’s candidacy running busses full of activists to battleground states, and convincing voters to vote for Obama in both 2008 and 2012.[45]

In 2017, United For Action and the Sierra Club organized a rally against President Donald Trump that the N.Y. Daily News described as a “a call to arms against the Trump administration.”[46]

People

The Board of United for Action includes co-founder Ling Tsou and New York activists Edie Kantrowitz, Sharon Goldstein, Linda Croson, and Beth Kelley.[47]

Additionally David Braun also co-founded the group and has been instrumental in its operations. Braun also co-founded a number of environmentalist organizations including the Sane Energy Project (managed by the Trust for Conservation Innovation), the Americans Against Fracking Coalition and New Yorkers Against Fracking Coalition. Braun previously served as an organizer with the liberal activist organization MoveOn.org.[48]

References

  1. “iEat Green – An Interview with Edie Kantrowitz from United for Action.” January 29, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://ieatgreen.podbean.com/e/ieat-green-an-interview-with-edie-kantrowitz-from-united-for-action-012915/ ^
  2. Braun, David. “Video: Hydrofracking: A Form of Terrorism.” United for Action Youtube Video. November 3, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8r8Y6lpq94 ^
  3. Beans, Laura. “New Yorkers Rally for Statewide Fracking Ban at Gov. Cuomo Fundraiser.” ECO Watch. July 1, 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.ecowatch.com/new-yorkers-rally-for-statewide-fracking-ban-at-gov-cuomo-fundraiser-1881929215.html ^
  4. Esch, Mary. “Coalition formed to stop fracking.” Oneida Dispatch. March 26, 2012. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.oneidadispatch.com/general-news/20120326/coalition-formed-to-stop-fracking ^
  5. Fried, Kate. “Press Release: US Grassroots Effort to Ban Fracking Ramps Up, as Groups Solicit the UN to Recognize Fracking as a Human Rights Issue.” Common Dreams. September 14, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/09/14/us-grassroots-effort-ban-fracking-ramps-groups-solicit-un-recognize-fracking ^
  6. Americans Against Fracking: Coalition Members. 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.americansagainstfracking.org/about-the-coalition/members/ ^
  7. Katz, Miranda. “NYC Considers Ban On All Fracking Byproducts.” Gothamist. February 22, 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://gothamist.com/2016/02/22/fracking_waste_ban.php ^
  8. Levers, Anna. “United For Action: Letter In Opposition To A. 4883 and S. 4158.” Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/338818153/United-for-Action-Opposition-Memo ^
  9. Hauter, Wenonah. “Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment.” The New Press. New York. 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=n4i0CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA230&lpg=PA230&dq=%22ling+tsou%22+and+%22united+for+action%22&source=bl&ots=AGJ_WoNFDx&sig=2N5pmcwDsPN_5KLCYi3xrCWKQ7U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1pLWqr4_ZAhWFnFkKHd27BUkQ6AEIYDAO#v=snippet&q=%22united%20for%20action%22&f=false ^
  10. ICANN WHOIS Website Info. Updated. Unitedforaction.Org. Updated July 21, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=unitedforaction.org ^
  11. Levers, Anna. “United For Action: Letter In Opposition To A. 4883 and S. 4158.” Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/338818153/United-for-Action-Opposition-Memo ^
  12. “iEat Green – An Interview with Edie Kantrowitz from United for Action.” January 29, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://ieatgreen.podbean.com/e/ieat-green-an-interview-with-edie-kantrowitz-from-united-for-action-012915/ ^
  13. Beans, Laura. “New Yorkers Rally for Statewide Fracking Ban at Gov. Cuomo Fundraiser.” ECO Watch. July 1, 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.ecowatch.com/new-yorkers-rally-for-statewide-fracking-ban-at-gov-cuomo-fundraiser-1881929215.html ^
  14. Hauter, Wenonah. “Frackopoly: The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment.” The New Press. New York. 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=n4i0CwAAQBAJ&pg=PA230&lpg=PA230&dq=%22ling+tsou%22+and+%22united+for+action%22&source=bl&ots=AGJ_WoNFDx&sig=2N5pmcwDsPN_5KLCYi3xrCWKQ7U&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1pLWqr4_ZAhWFnFkKHd27BUkQ6AEIYDAO#v=snippet&q=%22united%20for%20action%22&f=false ^
  15. Weltman, Eric. “How New York Activists Banned Fracking.” February 27, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20150301203446/http://inthesetimes.com/article/17697/new_york_fracking_ban1 ^
  16. Braun, David. “Video: Hydrofracking: A Form of Terrorism.” United for Action Youtube Video. November 3, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8r8Y6lpq94 ^
  17. “Fracking pitting greens vs. greens?” July 19, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.politico.com/story/2011/07/fracking-pitting-greens-vs-greens-059384 ^
  18. Weltman, Eric. “How New York Activists Banned Fracking.” February 27, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20150301203446/http://inthesetimes.com/article/17697/new_york_fracking_ban1 ^
  19. Esch, Mary. “Coalition formed to stop fracking.” Oneida Dispatch. March 26, 2012. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.oneidadispatch.com/general-news/20120326/coalition-formed-to-stop-fracking ^
  20. Weltman, Eric. “How New York Activists Banned Fracking.” February 27, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20150301203446/http://inthesetimes.com/article/17697/new_york_fracking_ban1 ^
  21. Weltman, Eric. “How New York Activists Banned Fracking.” February 27, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20150301203446/http://inthesetimes.com/article/17697/new_york_fracking_ban1 ^
  22. St. Fleu, Nicholas. “The Alarming Research Behind New York’s Fracking Ban.” The Atlantic. December 19, 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/12/the-alarming-research-behind-new-yorks-fracking-ban/383868/ ^
  23. Waldman, Scott. “The impact of Cuomo’s fracking ban.” Politico. January 5, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2015/01/the-impact-of-cuomos-fracking-ban-018675 ^
  24. David Braun Email. Undated. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://madmimi.com/mimio/0a108 ^
  25. Americans Against Fracking: Coalition Members. 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.americansagainstfracking.org/about-the-coalition/members/ ^
  26. Fractracker Alliance: Board of Directors. Undated. Fractracker Alliance Website. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.fractracker.org/about-us/board/ ^
  27. Fried, Kate. “Press Release: US Grassroots Effort to Ban Fracking Ramps Up, as Groups Solicit the UN to Recognize Fracking as a Human Rights Issue.” Common Dreams. September 14, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/09/14/us-grassroots-effort-ban-fracking-ramps-groups-solicit-un-recognize-fracking ^
  28. Fried, Kate. “Nearly 650,000 Comments Call on Obama Administration to Ban Fracking on Public Lands.” Food and Water Watch. August 22, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/nearly-650000-comments-call-obama-administration-ban-fracking-public-lands ^
  29. “United For Action: Events: Monday March 10, 2014 – Keystone XL Civil Disobedience Action in Philadelphia, PA.” United For Action Website. March 6, 2014. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://unitedforaction.org/2014/03/06/monday-march-10-2014-keystone-xl-civil-disobedience-action-in-philadelphia-pa/ ^
  30. “Occupy Wall Street And Mark Ruffalo Join March To Oct. 20th Spectra Hearing–West Village Unanimous: No To Pipeline.” Sane Energy Project. October 22, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.saneenergy.org/oursanevoice/2011/10/22/occupy-wall-street-joins-protest-against-spectra-pipeline ^
  31. Katz, Miranda. “NYC Considers Ban On All Fracking Byproducts.” Gothamist. February 22, 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://gothamist.com/2016/02/22/fracking_waste_ban.php ^
  32. “United For Action: Events: Stop the LNG Liberty Port Ambrose Project. ” United For Action Website. July 6, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://unitedforaction.org/2013/07/06/stop-the-lng-liberty-port-ambrose-project/ ^
  33. “How We Defeated the Gas Industry Again with Port Ambrose.” Food And Water Watch. November 17, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/impact/how-we-defeated-gas-industry-again-port-ambrose ^
  34. Graham, Karen. “LNG terminal off coast of N.J. and N.Y. may have unwanted effect.” Digital Journal. November 7, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://www.digitaljournal.com/business/business/proposed-lng-terminal-off-n-j-and-n-y-facing-stiff-opposition/article/448690 ^
  35. “How We Defeated the Gas Industry Again with Port Ambrose.” Food And Water Watch. November 17, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/impact/how-we-defeated-gas-industry-again-port-ambrose ^
  36. “PARTY to CELEBRATE veto of Port Ambrose.” Food and Water Watch Facebook Event. November 12, 2015. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.facebook.com/events/1480489332254996/ ^
  37. Tsou, Ling. “I’m Marching for the Future of my Grandchildren.” March for A Clean Energy Revolution. 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://www.cleanenergymarch.org/im-marching-future-grandchildren/ ^
  38. “Manhattan Rally Tells Cuomo: Get Off Fossil Fuels.” Food and Water Watch. October 19, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/manhattan-rally-tells-cuomo-get-fossil-fuels ^
  39. “Petition for the Declaration of a National Emergency Addressing Climate Change and The Consequent Prohibition of United States Crude Oil.” April 20, 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/energy_and_global_warming/pdfs/National_Climate_Emergency_Petition_4-20-16.pdf ^
  40. “United For Action: Events: Help Stop the TPP Fast-Track Train.” United For Action Website. November 17, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://unitedforaction.org/2013/11/17/take-action-help-stop-the-tpp-fast-track-train/ ^
  41. Levers, Anna. “United For Action: Letter In Opposition To A. 4883 and S. 4158.” Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/338818153/United-for-Action-Opposition-Memo ^
  42. Letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Politico Documents. May 30, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.politico.com/states/f/?id=0000015c-5b0f-d835-a17e-fbcf14300000 ^
  43. “Letter To Governor Cuomo From 112 Groups Opposing Nuclear Subsidies In NY.” Alliance For A Green Economy. June 30, 2016. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org/content/letter-cuomo-112-groups-opposing-nuclear-subsidies-ny ^
  44. United For Action Website. Undated. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://unitedforaction.org/ ^
  45. “David Braun’s appeal to President Obama.” The Environment TCV. August 12, 2013. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj_iN8-pDxE ^
  46. Ray, Esha and Slattery, Denis. “Hundreds protest Trump administration in NYC Earth Day rally.” N.Y. Daily News. April 22, 2017. Accessed February 5, 2018. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/hundreds-protest-trump-administration-nyc-earth-day-rally-article-1.3089524 ^
  47. Levers, Anna. “United For Action: Letter In Opposition To A. 4883 and S. 4158.” Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.scribd.com/document/338818153/United-for-Action-Opposition-Memo ^
  48. Fractracker Alliance: Board of Directors. Undated. Fractracker Alliance Website. Accessed February 5, 2018. https://www.fractracker.org/about-us/board/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. David Braun
    President & Founder

Supported Movements

  1. Green New Deal (GND)
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