FERC doesn’t work. but they’re back at work in a big way – clearing the more than $13 billion in back-logged projects sitting on their desk by rubber stamping every pipeline, compressor station, export terminal and bad fossil-fueled idea they can lay their hands on.
To those who showed up — online or in person — on September 20th for the rally, action, and lobbying at FERC and Congress, thank you so much for giving your precious time and energy to this important effort!
We started the day early – 6:30am early for those of us who stayed at a local church the night before to plan, make signs, and put together the petition signatures for delivery. A short walk later, we met up with dozens more friends, nearly a hundred activists and one VERY LARGE puppet of the FERC commissioners dancing to the tune of big Fracked Gas money.
A rally and speakers took turns from 8:30-9:30, including powerful testimony from numerous frontline communities and also Rev. Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus. The Rev. as usual, brought the fire to our proceedings declaiming that it was “so disappointing we have to be here… [FERC] shouldn’t have to be told [about the climate impacts of fracked gas]. They just need to check the weather!”
At the end of his comments, the Rev. led us all in a verse or two of We Shall Overcome. And then it was, in the words of one activist “Into the lion’s den” as dozens of activists filed patiently through security lines for the chance to enter FERC, where decisions about our home and planet are made every day.
As we’ve reported before, the great irony of FERC’s ‘public meetings’ is that there is no space for the public to actually comment. Decisions are made for us, about us, OVER us and without any opportunity for any man, woman, child or advocate to stand up and simply say “stop, you’re killing us.” Instead, as has been the case at every FERC commissioners meeting for more than 18 months, we were compelled to take matters into our own hands and chose (in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who Rev. Yearwood sited out front) the “positive peace which is the presence of justice,” as opposed to “a negative peace which is the absence of tension.”
Choosing that tense, positive peace, activists stood in unison inside the meeting and sang “We Shall Overcome” while others shouted, were hauled away and served with arrest warrants. Hundreds of you supported from home by calling FERC – jamming the phone lines for over an hour and blowing up the twitter feed with your #FERCabuses messages. None of our in-person protestors will be allowed back into FERC meetings again, but it was a small price to pay to show the newly restored quorum that our communities will NOT be overcome — we will continue to resist, by speaking out, fighting in the courts, and generally fighting all of FERC’s rubber stamping ways!
After the intervention and protest at FERC, we headed up to Capitol Hill a few blocks away, where (after a short training and orientation) folks headed into the Senate buildings to deliver letters and comments from more than 30,000 citizens opposing FERC, Fracking, and the remaining two nominees.
The day was a great success and carried forward the unceasing resolve of so many not only to stop FERC from destroying communities and the climate, but also to replace it with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels.
But our campaign isn’t over: Trump’s final two nominations to FERC still need to be confirmed by the full Senate. If you’re looking for further actions to take consider one of the following:
- Donate to support the ongoing campaign with Beyond Extreme Energy. BXE paid for most of the logistics for this action – from food and housing for activists, to transportation for the giant puppet and much more. 198 supporters have already donated more than $500 to support the work (go team!). If you haven’t had a chance to donate yet, or want to make sure BXE is funded to keep going back to the monthly FERC commissioners meetings to do more, it’s not to late to chip in here.
- Call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to “vote no on those two FERC Nominees — Democrat Richard Glick and Republican Kevin McIntyre.” Unlike the previous two, Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert F. Powelson, not one single Senator voted against these two nominations in committee — probably because one is a Democrat and no Republican has yet voted against Trump’s FERC nominees.
- In addition to calling your senators to tell them to vote no on these appointments, if you’re interested in coming to DC to attend the Senate vote, which hasn’t been scheduled yet, Beyond Extreme Energy has 20 available tickets. We’re looking for people who want to either fill the room or participate in a sing-in. If you’re interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know.
- Last – spread the news: Share this post and share all the news items below on your social networks – it really makes a difference for a lot of different people to share news and updates becaue even if we don’t make the top-trending list on twitter, we DO generate a lot more attention and discussion about these issues.
Gas pipeline protesters turn up heat on FERC: Activists disrupted the federal agency’s first open meeting since January, saying regulators disregard environmental risks and facilitate land grabs by pipeline companies