Outside the office building, we paused to hand out signs. A bright orange-and-yellow sun with the phrase “Defend Environmental Justice” written on it, “People Over Fossil Fuels” written on used cardboard, and the shortest on—”Stop LNG” written in Sharpie. Together, they expressed the reasons we were taking action: the buildout of liquified natural gas, or LNG, currently spreading across the Gulf South and throughout the country. 

LNG is one of the most pressing risks to our climate and communities in the US, but because of the fossil fuel industry’s false advertising, most people have never heard of it. Chances are you’ve seen it, though. If you live in the Seattle area, you may have spotted a slogan on the side of energy trucks that reads, “Going Green with LNG!” However, while the industry promotes LNG as a clean energy source, it is actually a nonrenewable fossil fuel posing serious risks to the safety of our communities.

The infrastructure it takes to process LNG pollutes nearby land and water, leading to higher rates of cancer and other illnesses. Because of its high methane content, LNG also fuels the existing climate crisis. Now, when every degree the planet warms multiplies the destruction and suffering that climate disasters are already causing, expanding this dangerous fuel is not a choice we can afford to make.

As Seattle feels these impacts in the form of floods, deadly heat waves, and suffocating blankets of wildfire smoke, it is past time to hold the fossil fuel industry and corporations accountable for the climate deception and destruction they’ve caused. So, we’re pushing back. We refuse to be scammed and exploited, and our movement is already making an impact at all levels of government. Under pressure from a coalition of organizers across the country, led by young people and frontline communities, President Biden recently announced a national pause on LNG exports. But Washington state has a dirty little secret: Puget Sound Energy—a privately owned corporation and Washington’s primary energy provider—continues to expand Washington’s reliance on LNG.

Despite PSE’s claims, LNG is not safe or reliable. In addition to its other risks, the failure of gas infrastructure during the cold snap that hit the Seattle area this January showed that we can’t depend on gas to meet the needs of our communities—especially during extreme weather. Using gas for heating and cooking can be dangerous as well. Besides the risks of leaks and explosions, the emissions from stoves are linked to asthma and other health conditions, especially for children. 

We are not stopping with the national pause, though: as young people, we are fighting for an end to LNG here and now. House Bill 1589, which bans new gas connections from Puget Sound Energy, recently passed the State Legislature. The dangerous Tacoma LNG expansion project was abandoned after community residents and the Puyallup tribe challenged it in court. In February, we met after school at Puget Sound Energy’s headquarters in Bellevue to deliver a petition calling on PSE to stop supporting the expansion of LNG infrastructure, end misleading advertising of LNG, and accelerate a just transition off all fossil fuels. 

This momentum won’t sustain itself. We need you to take action. Encourage your elected officials to oppose LNG expansion, and if you can, take steps to transition off “natural” gas. Together, we can protect our climate, health, communities, and future.

Emma Coopersmith is a dedicated climate justice advocate, peer educator, and Swiftie.  She organizes with the Sunrise Movement and Zero Hour. She’s a high school senior in Seattle. 

Hannah Lindell-Smith is a community and political organizer, movement artist, and student at Summit Atlas High School. She’s currently the Coalitions Lead at Zero Hour.