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Environmental justice activists rally in Washington for moratorium on utility shutdowns

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WASHINGTON – A year after COVID-19 was declared a national emergency, the DC-based national coalition #NoShutOffs and We Power DC will rally outside the US Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday to call on President Joe Biden and HHS Acting Secretary Nathan Cochran to issue a national moratorium on shutting down public services. The socially distanced action will also prompt local authorities to extend DC’s soon-to-expire moratorium on Pepco disconnects.

What: Rally to urge federal and DC officials to stop utility cuts

When: Saturday March 13 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Or: 330 C St. SW Washington, DC, at the intersection of 4th St SW, outside the US Department of Health and Human Services

Which: Individuals representing the #NoShutOffs Coalition and We Power DC

Why: The COVID-19 federal national health emergency was declared a year ago. Yet no federal relief has been given to stem the public health crisis of power, water and broadband outages, leading millions of households to suffer or at risk of utility outages due to mass unemployment. Public service cuts pose a national threat to public health.

A recent study from Duke University estimated that a national moratorium on public services could have prevented 8.7% of COVID-19 cases and 14.8% of deaths.

Only nine states and DC have moratoria in place. With DC moratoria set to expire soon and no national shutdown protection in place, advocates urge President Biden to use his executive branch to issue a nationwide moratorium on shutting down public services and alleviating utility debt to public services. families.