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TENNESSEE — Today, hours after faith leaders delivered an open letter and over 3,000 petitions from the public to Tennessee-based FDR Safety calling on the corporation to stop its involvement in the development of a new nitrogen hypoxia execution protocol for Alabama, FDR Safety has announced that it is withdrawing from its contract with the state. Signatories of the open letter include pastors from churches in Franklin, Nashville, and Memphis and other cities throughout the Tennessee. Working with Worth Rises, Pastor Kevin Riggs led the delivery, which comes on the heels of his op-ed in the Tennessean last week. This action was part of a campaign launched by Worth Rises in July 2021, when more than 70 organizations, investors, and business associations sent a joint letter to FDR Safety demanding their withdrawal from the Alabama contract.

“No one should be commended for deciding not to participate in murder, especially for profit, but still we're very glad to see FDR Safety stepping away from the Alabama's development of a nitrogen hypoxia execution protocol. We’re proud to stand with Pastor Kevin Riggs, the broader Tennessean faith community, the thousands of petitioners who called on FDR Safety to withdraw, and most importantly, the dozens of people on death row in Alabama fighting for their lives,” said Bianca Tylek, Executive Director of Worth Rises. “Whether it’s building private prisons amid a pandemic or creating new ways to kill people on death row, Alabama seems determined to be on the wrong side of history. But we'll be there to stop them every time, like we did again today. Let this be a warning to anyone who dares to step in – we'll be on your doorstep next.”

Over the past decade, the growing inaccessibility of lethal injection drugs and public outrage over brutally botched executions have moved some states to suspend or even end the death penalty, but a few states have begun exploring new execution protocols. In March of 2018, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill authorizing executions by nitrogen gas, though the protocol had not yet been developed. The following year, Clinical Pharmacology Services and FDR Safety were contracted by Alabama to help in the development of the protocol. As workplace safety professionals, FDR Safety was specifically tasked with ensuring the workplace safety of corrections officers administering the nitrogen hypoxia and the media and family in attendance at executions. It is unclear who will make such assurances for the state now.

“As a pastor in Franklin for more than 32 years, I can say with authority that what FDR Safety contracted with the Alabama DOC to do simply does not reflect the values of our community. We weren’t going to stand by idly while this corporation helps Alabama create a new killing method,” said Kevin Riggs, Pastor at Franklin Community Church. “FDR Safety's withdrawal from its contract with Alabama demonstrates what can happen when the community comes together and uses our collective voice to speak out and resist evil.”

Carol Rogan, Co-founder of Patriots Against Gas Executions, said, “FDR Safety made the right choice. Creating or approving the tools, in this case, gas chambers, to execute our residents is unethical. The concept is ghoulish, particularly when Alabama outlawed euthanizing animals in gas chambers. We appreciate FDR Safety for joining us on the side of justice and encourage any other firms approached by Alabama to carry out unjust acts to do the same.”

“We have seen the literal rise of fascism in this country over the past several years, and now in the South, states like Alabama are building gas chambers to kill people. Corporations like FDR Safety are not just complicit in this – they are active participants in the gassing and killing of humans, which is why I'm relieved they have pulled out from the contract,” said Rev. Jeannie Alexander, Executive Director of the No Exceptions Prison Collective. “The world now knows that Alabama thinks that it is find to employ the tactics of Nazis to kill people, but at least our neighbors in Tennessee will not be a part of their killing machine. FDR Safety did the right thing by pulling out of this contract.”

"We of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty are thrilled by this wonderful news and, as our name suggests, hope that the death penalty will be abolished in Alabama! We are so grateful to all who made this happen!" said Esther Brown, Executive Director of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty.

“FDR Safety was working with the state of Alabama to help execute incarcerated people who have been sentenced to death by gas. Can you imagine? But as a result of our actions and those our partners, they’ve ended the contract,” said Rev. Luis Sura, President of Better Options TN. “Never underestimate the power of communities to rise up and win. FDR Safety isn't the first corporation to try to make money off of incarcerated folks, and it won't be the last – but we made an example of FDR Safety for whoever wants to take over this contract with Alabama next.”