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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Tells Indigenous Activists Protesting Fracking He’ll Put Them “In the Ground”

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Democracy Now! broadcasts live from the U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany, where representatives from nearly 200 nations have gathered for negotiations aimed at bolstering the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. This year’s climate change conference comes after President Trump has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord, but there are still a number of U.S. delegations in Bonn. One is a coalition of U.S. lawmakers, universities, companies and faith groups that is staging an anti-Trump revolt by rejecting Trump’s action and declaring, “We are still in.” On Saturday, a group of protesters, many of whom were Native American, disrupted California Governor Jerry Brown’s speech at Bonn, calling on California to ban fracking, yelling, “Keep it in the ground!”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, we are broadcasting live from the U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany, where representatives from nearly 200 nations have gathered for negotiations aimed at bolstering the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. This year, Fiji has made history by becoming the first small island nation to preside over the U.N. climate summit. The event itself is being held in Bonn because of the logistical challenges of hosting 25,000 people in Fiji at the start of the South Pacific cyclone season. But it’s still being called the “Island COP.”

Climate change poses a particularly devastating threat to low-lying island nations like Fiji. A new report says Fiji would have to spend four-and-a-half billion dollars over the next decade to adapt to climate change—a sum equivalent to its entire annual gross domestic product. Meanwhile, a new report released today shows climate change threatens one in four natural World Heritage sites, from the Florida Everglades to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

This year’s climate change conference comes after President Trump has vowed to pull the United States out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. Last week in Bonn, Syria signed on to the Paris deal, meaning that if President Trump fulfills his vow to pull the U.S. out of the deal, the United States would become the only nation on Earth that is not a party to the agreement.

There are, in fact, a number of U.S. delegations here in Bonn, though. One is a coalition of U.S. lawmakers, universities, companies and faith groups that are staging an anti-Trump revolt by rejecting Trump’s action and declaring “We are Still In.”

Well, on Saturday, a group of protesters, many of whom were Native American, disrupted California Governor Jerry Brown’s speech here in Bonn, calling on California to ban fracking. The protesters yelled “Keep it in the ground!”

PROTESTERS: California’s fracking spreads pollution!

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah, I wish—I wish we could have no pollution, but we have to have our automobiles.

PROTESTERS: In the ground!

GOV. JERRY BROWN: In the ground.

PROTESTERS: In the ground!

GOV. JERRY BROWN: I agree with you. In the ground. Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here. Anyway—

AMY GOODMAN: That’s California Governor Jerry Brown Saturday saying, “Let’s put you in the ground.” Well, I questioned Governor Brown about his comments, just before we went to broadcast today.

AMY GOODMAN: On Saturday, a group of protesters, mainly Native American—

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —disrupted your event and called for a ban on fracking.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: No, they called for a ban on all oil production.

AMY GOODMAN: So they said, “Keep”—

GOV. JERRY BROWN: All oil production.

AMY GOODMAN: So they said, “Keep it in the ground.”

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: And you responded by saying, “Let’s put you in the ground.”

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what you meant?

GOV. JERRY BROWN: That was a joke. Now, Amy, don’t use your media outlet for this kind of silliness. That was an ironic remark in the face of a noisy demonstration when it’s very hard to even hear, much less keep your thought there. And—

AMY GOODMAN: But it was Native Americans, and they took it very seriously. Do you—

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Look, no one has been more—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you apologize for that comment?

GOV. JERRY BROWN: No. Come on, you know that, in California, we have the strongest Native American policy of any state in the country. And we have the most environmental, and we have toughest rules on oil. I don’t think we should shut down oil in California and then take it from Venezuela or take it from places where the rules are even worse. We have to stop the cars. We have to get electric. We have to get public transportation. We need better land use. We’ve got to solve the problem. And I understand, because we deal with protest all the time. But California, we are cutting our oil consumption. We’re cutting our greenhouse gases. That’s what we have to do, not just a slogan or a march around or talk talk. I’m talking about reality. And California has the strongest oil reduction rules in America. We’re the ones—we’re the leader. If someone wants to say, “Oh, get rid of oil,” you mean get rid of our cars. If you got rid of cars, you would have a revolution, and there would be shooting in the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: They were—

GOV. JERRY BROWN: No one is serious about it.

AMY GOODMAN: They were calling on a ban on fracking, like New York and Maryland.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: No, they were calling on a banning of all oil production.

AMY GOODMAN: But also fracking. What is your approach to that?

GOV. JERRY BROWN: My answer is: I don’t think it makes sense to import oil by train. It’s very dangerous. And people who say, “Hey, don’t take oil out of your ground. Bring it by train or by boat,” that’s far more dangerous. The answer is stop using oil in cars, in trucks. You need a renewable vehicle grid. That’s the answer. And I think to say anything else is not intellectually honest and is not helpful.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you considering a ban on fracking?

HANDLER: OK, we’re actually moving. Thank you. Let’s go.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: We’re considering a ban on oil over the next 25 years. We’re reducing it. That’s pure rhetoric. Pure rhetoric. What are you going to do if you’re—

AMY GOODMAN: New York and Maryland did it.

HANDLER: You know, we’ve got to go. We’ve got to get going.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Yeah, because they don’t have the same situation. Pennsylvania didn’t do it. It’s—this is just kind of a little left-wing routine here.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I don’t—I don’t think fracking is.

HANDLER: Let’s go.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: No.

AMY GOODMAN: Fracking is a very serious issue, as you know.

GOV. JERRY BROWN: Fracking is very serious. And horizontal fracking is very dangerous and uses 10 times the water. And in California, it’s a very small part. What I’m talking about, we’d like to get rid of all oil drilling. But we have to do it in a systematic way, reducing the demand and not just the supply, because if we don’t reduce the demand, we’ll get the supply by boat and by train, and that is really dangerous to human beings. People die from the training of—bringing in of oil. So that’s the honest truth. I don’t know whether that is something you’re going to want to deal with, but I’m telling you the way it is.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was California Governor Jerry Brown.

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