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 Jordan Cove

Our next big fight with Trump and his fossil fuel cronies is coming to a head this week in Oregon.

Jordan Cove is a proposed gas terminal in Oregon that would be responsible for more than 36 million tons of global warming pollution. It would be fed by the Pacific Connector pipeline, which will require a 95-foot-wide clear-cut through southwest Oregon’s forests and farms.

In May the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) pipeline denied the Clean Water Act permit for this dirty and dangerous project. But that’s exactly the kind of state permit that Trump hopes to overrule with his pro-pipeline executive orders. Trump’s executive order is only triggered if a federal agency says yes after a state agency has said no, and that brings us back to, you guessed it, FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

FERC is reviewing Jordan Cove now, and their comment period closes this week. We’ve got a plan to deliver all the signatures on this petition at their next meeting in DC. Can you sign on now to say you oppose Jordan Cove and all fracked gas infrastructure?

It’s a showdown in the Pacific Northwest between our movement to stop fossil fuels and climate change, and the Trump team and their dirty power grab. But this isn’t event the first time – Jordan cove has been proposed two other times, in 2005 and 2013, and we’ve defeated it before. That’s how we know we can win.

And we have to win: Jordan Cove and the connected Pacific Connector Pipeline would cut through private and public lands — including traditional hunting and fishing areas important to local tribes. All to deliver fracked gas, a global warming pollutant up to 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, for export.

But even elected officials like Governor Brown, Congressman Defazio and Senator Ron Wyden, who claim to believe in climate science and support a Green New Deal, have been slow to come out against Jordan Cove. These are the things that give us trust issues and led us to run whole campaigns critiquing the Green New Deal RESOLUTION for not saying the words “fossil fuels”, “Pipelines” or “exports”.

The IPCC and the Trump Administration’s own National Climate Assessment give us less than 12 years to make massive changes in our economy and energy sector before we face devastating and irreversible climate chaos.
Politicians at FERC and in Congress need to act now on a Green New Deal that invests in renewable energy and puts communities on the front lines of environmental destruction at the center of the solutions. There isn’t a moment to waste on Jordan Cove and other gas export terminals and pipelines, as we’ve been telling them for months.

Now, it’s time for our leaders to choose. Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector would be a climate disaster. Sign now to tell FERC to #StopJordanCove and all LNG exports.

Trump appointees at FERC are reviewing Jordan Cove’s application now. They’ve already held public hearings across Oregon, which mostly tried to ignore the overwhelming public opposition. That same blind ignorance has led them to approve several new gas export facilities in the last few weeks and is why acting FERC chair Neal Chatterjee expressed enthusiastic support when the Trump Administration’s touted gas exports as #freedomgas.

And if FERC rules against Oregon’s communities, tribes and climate they can use eminent domain enforced by armed federal marshals to seize Oregon Tribes’ and landowners’ property.

This is a dangerous moment – and our elected officials, including our senators and members of Congress, need to stand up to Trump and his fossil fuel agenda. Sign now to make sure they get the message and say NO to Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline NOW.