Burning the ‘bridge fuel’ myth in Raleigh

On Tuesday, October 15th, the fossil gas myth busting roadshow is coming to Raleigh and you’re invited!

Join friends from Friends of the Earth U.S., NC Warn, Oil Change International, and 350 Triangle; as well as community leaders, local organizations, and students to discuss why the expansion of gas infrastructure is an environmental justice and climate disaster.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper claims to be a climate leader, but has been in the pocket of Duke, Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for years. We’ve been calling him out, and now it’s time to tell everyone why gas is not safe or clean, and why there’s nothing natural about fracking and fracked gas.

Join us Tuesday, October 15 in Raleigh, NC. for a panel event on why gas is not a ‘bridge fuel’.

This panel will discuss the impact of gas projects on communities in North Carolina, and how local organizations are planning to stop gas in its tracks. The data is clear: Emissions from burning gas alone are enough to overshoot the Paris climate goals and we can’t afford more gas infrastructure.

Gov. Cooper’s fossil-gas agenda has been devastating, harming the health and environmental quality of communities in North Carolina and accelerating the false narrative that gas has a role in the transition to renewable energy. Fracked gas and new pipelines are indefensible. Cooper has no grounds for promoting its use in North Carolina – because we need to move away from ALL fossil fuels immediately, including gas.

Join us and an inspiring panel of speakers who will address several ways the development of gas can’t be justified in these times, specifically in North Carolina. Here’s a quick rundown of who will be speaking (check out the facebook invite for more details):

  • William J. Barber III is the strategic partnerships associate at The Climate Reality Project and currently serves as the co-chair for the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign Ecological Devastation committee.
  • Sherri White-Williamson currently serves as a board member of the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) in Duplin County, North Carolina.
  • Jorden Revels is the Student Government Vice President at the University of North Carolina at Pemboke and holds a position as the Associate Minority Serving Institution Representative for the UNC’s Association of Student Government.
  • Donna Chavis currently serves as Senior Fossil Fuels Campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S. and has over 40 years of service in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors on the local, state, and national level.
  • Lorne Stockman is a Senior Research Analyst at Oil Change International, where he researches and analyzes developments in the North American oil industry.

The event is free and will take place at the Community United Church of Christ in Raleigh at 7PM on October 15th. RSVP today!

Activists Call on Retiring FERC Commissioner to Heed her Better Angels

Live outside FERC

Posted by Beyond Extreme Energy #BXE on Thursday, July 18, 2019

Washington, DC – For the past 30 years FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has voted in favor of 398 out of 400 applications for mostly fracked gas interstate pipelines and related projects. Fracked gas is at least 95% methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 100 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a 10-year period. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have 11 years left to avoid unstoppable climate catastrophe.

These facts are top of mind as FERC commissioners hold their next regular monthly meeting on July 18 – the last meeting for Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who is stepping down after eight years. Over her tenure she has moved toward considering the climate impacts of these fracked gas projects and has occasionally voted against them. But as recently as April, she voted to approve not one, not two, but three huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, which would super-charge fracking around the country as well as global methane emissions.

Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) and their allies held a press event outside the building at 9:30 AM to call on LaFleur to use her final meeting to stand on the right side of history, to throw aside her convoluted rationales that allow her to both call for consideration of climate impacts and to still approve these projects that will be spewing climate-and community-wrecking emissions for the next 40 years – well past the time the U.S. and the world need to transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy.

BXE will also announced the next steps in our campaign to transform FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission, as part of future Green New Deal legislation. In support of our call for LaFleur to vote to block new fossil fuel projects and FERC to transform into an agency dedicated to a just transition away from all fossil fuels Statements were read from a variety of impacted communities:

“Twice FERC had all the information necessary to make the correct decision to deny the Jordan Cove Energy Project.” said Deb McGee 350Eugene Volunteer/Director. “The only thing that has changed is that Green House Gasses in our atmosphere have risen to 415ppm, causing more extreme weather, more fires, and making every reason to deny the permit even clearer and more profound. If we are to survive we must build no new fossil fuel infrastructure! Keep it in the Ground!”

“After years of extreme storms, polluted water supplies and devastating fires, FERC has fueled climate change and poisoned our planet,” said Donna Chavis, senior fossil fuel campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “If we want to stop climate change, FERC should commit to a policy of no more fossil fuel infrastructure and put an end to projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.”

“Three and one half years ago we learned that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cut our property in half with over 3,000 feet of 42 inch pipeline, coming within 600 feet of our home,” said Bill Limpert, who lives with his wife in a retirement home and property in Bath County, Virginia. “We have since learned that the 3M Scotchkote Fusion Bonded Epoxy 6233 coating used on the pipes for the ACP contains carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic properties. Manufacturer 3M states that this product degrades and chalks. FERC has said they are investigating this but that is not enough; they should issue a stop work order immediately for the ACP.”

“FERC continues to pillage our community in New York City and global climate health by approving more fracked gas infrastructure by facilitating rather than regulating,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project. “We are now facing yet another fracked gas pipeline, the Williams NESE pipeline, approved by FERC against the will of the community, and against our state law, and twice denied by our Department of Environmental Conservation, and without consensus of FERC commissioners, considering Commissioner Richard Glick’s dissent surrounding this pipeline’s approval. We understand that FERC won’t get paid unless they approve pipelines, and today, we are here to insist on a complete revision of an agency that is in charge of interstate energy infrastructure since the DNA of FERC is a captive agency controlled by the very industry its assigned to regulate. There is a national consensus from communities that we can never expect to see justice from FERC in its current form.”

“The State of Oregon and communities impacted by the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline are sending a strong message to FERC that they must consider the full climate impacts of a project before approval,” said Allie Rosenbluth, Campaigns Director at Southern Oregon-based community group Rogue Climate. “By standing up against new fracked gas projects and ensuring FERC considers climate before permitting new projects, Commissioner LaFleur has an opportunity to leave a climate legacy at the agency.”

“Not only is the Jordan cove project a thirty five year commitment to fossil fuels hobbling the change to clean energy but after 14 years the project still is terrorizing landowners like us.” said Larry and Sylvia Mangan, North Bend Oregon, landowners along one of the routes of the pacific gas connector. “A Canadian corporation should not be allowed to use eminent domain against US citizens for private gain.”

Last Chance for FERC’s Cheryl LaFleur

We’ve told you a lot about FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And there’s a good reason: for the past 22 years the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has voted in favor of 522 applications for fracked gas pipelines and infrastructure. It has rejected only two.

Fracked gas is at least 90% methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 100 times worse for the climate than carbon dioxide over a ten-year period. Meanwhile, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have 11 years left to avoid catastrophic climate impacts. 

These facts are very relevant as FERC commissioners hold their regular monthly meeting on July 18. This will be the last meeting for Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur who is stepping down after eight years of approving nearly every application.

That’s why I’m headed to Cheryl’s last chance meeting. Can you back us up?

LaFleur is not your typical commissioner. Over her tenure she has repeatedly argued in favor of considering climate impacts and has occasionally voted against projects. While we were disappointed when, as recently as May, she voted to approve not one, not two, but three liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals that would super-charge fracking and global methane emissions. And she did it while I was sitting on her roof asking her not to, that’s just plain rude.

In the meantime, those affected negatively by FERC’s decisions are speaking out – and you’ve been a. big part of that – speaking out against the Jordan Cove Export terminal in Oregon, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and related infrastructure in the southeast and the Williams Pipeline in New York.

That’s whey I wanted you to know that I’ll be at Cheryl LaFleur’s last FERC meeting in DC tomorrow, and will be delivering your comments and concerns alongside allies from Beyond Extreme Energy and other friends. We are calling on all FERC commissioners, but especially Cheryl LaFleur to vote NO on all dockets and to set a record of opposing fossil fuel projects because of their climate impacts that future commissioners can use.

Tomorrow we’ll post the press release, a video from outside the hearing, and other info you can use to keep fighting. Stay tuned!

Stop the Rate Hike, Stop Fracked Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy – is requesting a rate hike from the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The rate hike will increase prices and fund the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we need a Green New Deal and a rapid transition to 100% clean energy.

To name just a few of the problems:

  1. The urgency of the climate crisis is ignored. Natural gas is not a “bridge fuel”, it’s a “climate killer”.
  2. This is the wrong time to be investing in any fossil fuel infrastructure. That goes triple for PNG’s Liquefied Natural Gas facility in Maxton (Robeson County, NC).
  3. The Duke-PNG energy monopoly prioritizes the wrong approach – expanding natural gas instead of renewables; Duke’s money has corrupted the State’s decision-makers;

Join us in Charlotte at 5pm on Wednesday July 10 for a rally and protest, followed by a formal hearing on the rate hike. But together we can counter Duke-PNG’s vision of a gas-fueled future.

The rally and protest starts at 5pm, the rate hike hearing starts at 7pm.

RSVP on Facebook: http://bit.ly/NoPNGRateHike_RSVP
Volunteer to help with planning, logistics and testimony: http://bit.ly/NoPNGRateHike_vol

Two more helpful items – our press advisory and a flier helping to explain the rate hike and who’s affected

We stopped the Williams Pipeline! (for now)

If you’re one of the thousands of New Yorkers who signed the petition to stop the Williams Pipeline, THANK YOU! We wanted to let you know that on May 15 Cuomo’s Department of Environmnetal Quality officially stopped the pipeline, for now.

This isn’t the end for the Williams Pipeline — The company has already re-applied for the DEQ permit, and they can also sue the Cuomo administration (as they have in the past) or avail themselves of Trump’s recent executive order, which is specifically designed to allow federally approved pipelines (like this one – which received FERC approval just a few weeks before) to override state permits.

But no matter what happens next, this is a moment to celebrate. So we wanted to pass on this note from our dear friends at the Sane Energy Project to all of you who signed the petition. Take a moment, savor the victory over fossil fuels, and consider chipping in to support these amazing organizers if you can.

You’re a part of history!

Last week, Sane Energy Project announced a MAJOR win. Along with our allies and thousands of people like YOU, we beat the odds and stopped the Williams NESE fracked gas pipeline. Your support made it possible for us to organize thousands of people to sign petitions, attend rallies, info sessions, meetings, and phone Governor Cuomo to make it clear that we wanted no part of this toxic pipeline. Like our victory in stopping the Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Port, this win proves that persistent, passionate grassroots organizing can carry the day.

Before the dust settles on this victory, we were already jumping into a statewide tour called Sit, Stand, Sing: The Many Roles of Non-Violent Direct Action. For the next month, we’ll be working with activists in five communities in New York State to fortify efforts to stop fracked gas infrastructure projects across the state.


We need your help now to continue fighting to stop every one of these dangerous projects and to continue pushing for a just and rapid transition to renewables. We can’t do this work without you. Please make a gift now.


P.S. Williams has already re-applied to build their pipeline in New York State just two days after we denied them permission. With your support, we vow to continue our strong and organized presence to make sure renewable energy is our future. Please donate today!

Watch this gorgeous photo montage below of our sunset march to Stop The Williams Pipeline! We could never have done this without each other, and we see YOU in this video!

Sane Energy Project
Video of Stop Williams NESE Pipeline March

Dirty, Dishonest, Dominion Energy #DIVEST!

We had a busy 2 days of action targeting dirty, dishonest, Dominion Energy at their shareholder meeting in Columbia SC this week.

Check out the reportback video on all our actions, or scroll down to read an account of the more than 5 hours of meetings, speeches and actions. Once you see all the stuff we did, I hope you’ll be inspired to chip in $1.98 or more to support us. We’re still about $500 short of our goal for covering costs of all these events.

Here’s a quick budget for your information :

ItemCost
Food for Community supper$100
Bus Transit for Justice First$1000
Flyers, signs and materials$250
previously raised-$143
Donations from other partner groups-$500
TOTAL left to raise:$707

Monday Night – Community forum and supper

Monday night about 50 of us gathered at the historic Zion baptist Church in Columbia (where Dr King once spoke) for a community supper and teach in. We had reports and stories from all over Virginia, South Carolin, North Carolina and beyond about Dominion’s dirty, dishonest past, as well as a briefing on our plans for the shareholder meeting.

Here’s some video clips of the speakers from that night

Mary Cerulli from Mothers Out Front talked about our global power as a movement working with more than $2 trillion in assets to #Divest from fossil fuels and pipelines.

Greg Yost from NC APPPL talked about the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and how the Carolinas (North and South) are connecting to stop this fracked gas pipeline.

Freeda Cathcart, Indivisible VA talked about the importance of coalitions and working together to make change:

And Finally, Rev Leo Woodberry, from the Justice First tour and New Alpha community development corporation brought it all together in a keynote address that had everyone on their feet marching in one big wave of solidarity by the end.

At the end of Rev Woodberry’s keynote, we had a community supper downstairs, where we heard some more about Justice First’s recent trip to Africa helping communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone set up solar power, and from Chief Pete of the Pee Dee Tribe who talked about struggles with environmental justice during and after the flooding from Hurricane Florence, as well as their concerns about the Atlantic Coast pipeline and harvesting of souther forests for biofuel.

Tuesday – the main event!

On Tuesday we gathered outside the Shareholder meeting and 8 shareholders were admitted in with proxies to address the meeting. The rest of us handed out about fliers And held banners outside so everyone knew our demands. At the end of the Shareholder meeting we held a press conference touching on Dominion activity inside and outside the shareholder meeting.

Up in the air to stop the pipelines

This morning, I got up early, climbed a ladder 35 feet up, and perched on top of the front door of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with a banner that reads “FERC NO, Federal Renewable Energy Commission YES!”

It’s not a 100% safe, or legal way to make a point. But I thought it was important enough, and that this is a critical moment in which to make this point. 

Let me explain:

The Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FERC) is the agency in DC responsible for regulation of our interconnected electricity grids, as well as review, permitting and (almost always) approval of natural gas infrastructure in the United States. It’s already a powerful agency that oversees billions of dollars in infrastructure and is empowered to act on matters that can affect your monthly utility bill, and even seize your house or land and evict you through a process called eminent domain. Allies of the fossil fuel industry in DC have fought for years to expand those powers – so that FERC would oversee oil pipelines too, and would have stronger and more expedited powers to force through fossil fuel infrastructure.

For years we’ve battled against FERC and those who want to expand its powersWe’ve fought FERC orders to expedite fracking and new pipelines and LNG terminals. And we’ve been arrested and protested at multiple Senate hearings on FERC and opposed legislation to expand its powers.

But all along we’ve maintained it doesn’t have to be this way. FERC has a clear set of responsibilities that could be really helpful in fighting climate change – they could direct utilities to price renewable electricity more favorably than fossil fuels. They could also stop approving every new fossil fuel project that is proposed to them – especially big new fracked gas pipelines and export terminals, which will lock us into dangerous methane – a climate pollutant 86x more powerful than CO2 – for 30 years or more. 

Hence – FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Our vision is that as part of a Green New Deal, Congress would re-make FERC into an agency that prioritizes the climate crisis and acts to implement the renewable energy future we wall want.

It was even starting to work – In the last 12-24 months we’ve seen cracks between the FERC commissioners, with the two Democrats dissenting on many votes and deadlocking – effectively blocking – approval of new pipelines and gas export terminals. When asked why they are saying no, Democrats at FERC say they hear from the courts, the public, and from scientists that they need to do a better job measuring and addressing the impacts these projects have on climate change.

And then, last week, Donald Trump poured gasoline and methane all over that raging fire of a debate:

In a series of Executive Orders, Trump made plain he intends to use the Department of Energy (which oversees FERC), EPA and other federal agencies as a cudgel to ram through new oil and gas pipelines. Taken together with a series of state-level laws that ban protest at pipeline construction sites, Trump’s fossil-nationalism says this: 

  1. Fossil fuel companies should be paid more than any other energy sector. If ratepayers disagree, or the market simply moves in a different direction since the fuel for renewable energy is free, the Government will subsidize fossil fuel companies and force you to pay more money for dirtier energy.
  2. If fossil fuel companies want to build a pipeline through your town, put a compressor station on your front yard, or an export terminal where you fish, they can do so. Their wish is your command and they can take your land, your tribe’s land, or your town/state’s land to do it. If you think that’s unfair, you don’t want a pipeline in your front yard or sacred places, even if you take the time to convince your city council, tribal council, governor, mayor or other elected officials to join you in opposing the project, they will all be overruled. What’s yours, what’s sacred, what belongs to all of us in common – none of it matters. The fossil fuel industry gets what it wants, and you -as a ratepayer and a taxpayer – will pay them for it whether you like it or not.
  3. If you’re a shareholder, an investor, or a capitalist of any kind that believe climate change is a real, urgent threat – companies are ordered by the FEC to ignore you, and your right to talk about climate chaos, fossil fuels and investment strategy that does not burn the planet down is blocked. If you try and speak out anyway, your status as a licensed investor can be challenged and you can be removed from public exchanges. Fossil fuels are the only way to make money, and any dissent will be punished.
  4. Oh and if you resist, if you lay down in front of the machinery of destruction and put your body on the line to stop this madness – you will be arrested, probably by heavily armed federal agents, and put in jail. In an increasing number of states, simply praying for peace in the path of a pipeline could get you locked up for a decade or longer.

Which is why I’m up here. We have a clear plan for how FERC can stop being part of the problem, and transform into FREC – a part of the solution. Trump and Co. are clearly not going to help implement that vision, but Congress might – and you can help! Here’s how:

  1. Check out the livestream and photos from our partners in action at BXE above
  2. If you’re interested in supporting our work, click here to chip in – we have more actions planned this spring at Shareholder meetings and corporate gatherings!
  3. Call Chuck Schumer at 202-224-6542 and Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965 to urge them to support legislation to replace FERC with FREC.

Flooding can’t stop us, meet me in Ponca city

If you haven’t seen the photos of flooding in the midwest, you should. It’s one of the latest examples of how climate chaos is impacting people across America and around the world. This photo is from Nasa and shows the massive flooding in and around Omaha, NE (near where the Keystone pipeline is scheduled to be built).

But tons of communities across the midwest have been hit by this year’s floods – Including in Ponca, where we were planning a conference in May. The city and the Ponca people are ok, and the conference is still on. But it underscores that we need to do more than just look at the images of floods and fires that are the effects of climate chaos. We need to confront the causes of the crisis as well – and develop wholistic solutions that keep fossil fuels in the ground and build our power as people and as co-habitants in a global ecosystem.

That’s why I wanted to invite you to meet me in Ponca City, Oklahoma, May 16-18 for the Frontline Oil and Gas conference.

The conference will bring together hundreds of activists and impacted community members leading the fight against destructive oil and gas operations. There are also scholarships available to help activists get there and participate – but the first deadline to apply is coming up on April first. So make sure to visit the website and RSVP soon!

If you’re to learn about what other communities are doing to fight fossil fuels, meet inspiring community leaders, and learn innovative strategies that protect our land, air, water, and climate by recognizing the fundamental rights of nature — this is the place for you.

Not just another conference, this event is about building for frontline power.

As Ponca elder and conference founder Casey Camp Horinek says, “As a member of the Ponca Nation we are proud to host this event and tell our story, and give a platform for others to share, teach, and learn what we all can do to help each other change this cycle of illness and death due to fossil fuel industry not just in Oklahoma but around the world. Physically, mentally, spiritually we must create change for a better world for people and our planet, and for future generations. It is time to shed full light on the genocidal impacts of the fossil fuel industry on the people and all living things.”

Learn more about Mekasi Horinek and her work at the website of our partner, Movement Rights
Casey Camp Horinek at the Red Line action on the streets of Paris, during the UN Climate COP

The conference has an emphasis on innovative strategies led by indigenous communities, people of color and grassroots activists. There will be four learning tracks: indigenous, Rights of Nature, skills, and technical trainings. If you know anyone else who might be interested in participating please join me in spreading the word!

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Governor Wolf and all state legislators must uphold the constitution and protect the environment

We’re joining a coalition of activist organizations to urge Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf to uphold a unique clause in their state constitution. Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution declares that the people have “a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” Despite this clear constitutional directive, Pennsylvania continues to endure heavy losses as a result of climate change, while elected officials like Gov. Wolf ignore their responsibility to protect our communities and climate.

Sign here to demand Governor Wolf and all state legislators must uphold the constitution and protect the environment.

Governor Wolf, like most Democratic Governors, has issued multiple statements indicating that he intends to protect the environment and tackle climate change. In his recent inaugural address he stressed the importance of having a “business community [that] recognizes the value of an energy policy that protects our environment and creates good jobs.” But Wolf’s actions have been far short of what’s required to meet those goals.

He claims he wants 10% of Pennsylvania’s power to come from solar energy by 2030, but his administration expands the fracking industry across the state. Throughout 2018, Pennsylvania faced extensive flooding from heavy rainfall, but Wolf refuses to keep fossil fuels in the ground to address the climate crisis. A brand new pipeline blew up, destroying a home, multiple vehicles, and other property. It is time for real action, not only to protect the state from the results of climate change, but also to begin implementing solutions into the state legislature.

That’s why we’re teaming up with The Better Path Coalition to urge Governor Wolf and other state legislators to uphold the Pennsylvania constitution and protect the environment around them. It is time to put an end to the nonstop environmental destruction and to take aggressive action against climate change. If you believe that Pennsylvania deserves breathable air, drinkable water, and representation that ensures a clean and sustainable environment, sign here to insist that Governor Wolf uphold the constitution of the state he represents!