Activists called for an end to fossil fuels in the Gulf and demanded a clean, respect for Indigenous rights, and an equitable energy transition outside of the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston on Wednesday. The protest, organized by the Permian Gulf Coast Coalition, came as Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm gave a conciliatory keynote address inside. The activists from Texas and Louisiana highlighted the harmful effects of the industry on their communities, particularly the Freeport LNG terminal, which is resuming operations after a massive explosion last June,

“I was standing in my yard when this happened and there was no kind of warning systems…I live in a community where there’s 15 petrochemical plants. There’s no accountability, so we’ve been living like this for quite a long time.”

Across the street, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm once again struck a conciliatory tone in her keynote address at the oil industry conference. Granholm praised the packed room of fossil fuel executives for boosting oil and gas output and lauding the industry as “creative visionaries,” highlighted clean energy’s progress over the past year, and assured the crowd the U.S. would keep using fossil fuels into the middle of the century. Granholm’s praise for the industry diverges from President Biden’s recent criticism of its “war profiteering,” in which he threatened to hit the industry with higher taxes and restrictions, and his more ambiguous take on a clean energy transition timeline during the State of the Union. (Protests: Houston Public Media, Houston Chronicle; Granholm: Bloomberg $)