San Diego protesters call out Sempra for environmental degradation
Protesters blocked the front doors of Sempra, a fortune 500 energy company headquartered in downtown San Diego.
“This building is the home of the fossil-fuel giant Sempra, a company with big plans to sell gigatons of fracked methane all around the world in the midst of a climate emergency,” said Scott Kelly, a San Diego State University professor.
About a dozen activists put up huge signs and sat down in front of the building’s Eighth Avenue entrances, keeping anyone from going in or out of the building.
Masada Disenhouse, of the climate advocacy group San Diego 350, used a bullhorn to tell those gathered that she can no longer turn her back on the climate emergency.
“Because Sempra’s business plan is to increase its profits by destroying our future and our health and I will not take it anymore (cheers),” Disenhouse said.
Sempra is the parent company for San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas. Those two Sempra-owned utilities provide electricity and natural gas to most of the region.
The company has repeatedly come under fire recently because the firm promotes the use of fossil fuels and is making record profits.
Protesters insist Sempra needs to do a better job of caring for the planet, pointing out that fracking for natural gas does not do that.
“Methane is not renewable,” said Danielle Wilkerson, a member of San Diego 350. “It is not a clean energy resource. And we need to stop lying to the public and saying that it is. We need to make a rapid and just transition to renewable energy sources.”
Sempra’s Chief Sustainability Officer Lisa Alexander argued, in an emailed statement, that the company is committed to decarbonizing energy networks and advancing resiliency and affordability
“Our company is consistently recognized nationally and globally as a leader in sustainable business practices, including clean energy, innovation and new technologies,” she said. “For the fourth consecutive year, our strong record of environmental achievement has earned Sempra membership in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index — the only U.S. utility company to be so recognized."
She added that the company is focused on limiting the impacts of inflation.
“Our average customer bills at our California utilities also rank among the lowest in the state and below the national average per the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” Alexander said.
The company did not comment on the protest.