Stop this Damn plan to put a Dam next to the Grand Canyon

The Navajo Nation, the Hopi and other Native peoples in the Southwest are fighting plans to build three dams next to the Grand Canyon. These dams would drastically impact water flow and ecology in this jewel of the American park system. And to even consider building the dams would require unwelcome desecration of an area which has deep spiritual and cultural importance to indigenous people.

Naturally, it’s our old friends at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that are in charge of the permitting process. And that’s why it’s critical that you speak out NOW, before FERC’s next filing deadline at 5pm Eastern on August 3.

Sign here to tell FERC to reject a preliminary permit to dam Big Canyon, a tributary canyon to the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park.

This “Big Canyon Pumped Storage Project” would pump billions of gallons of ancient groundwater to feed a massive hydroelectric power plant. The dam plan would affect water supply in a part of the country already in serious drought conditions. And it would destroy the natural beauty and ecological integrity of a remote and pristine canyon.

There’s a role for clean, safe, and reliable hydropower in our vision for a clean energy future. But it doesn’t involve storming onto indigenous people’s lands without permission, taking unique and rare river systems, and damming them to make (in essence) a big energy storage system for corporate profiteers. This is extractive, disaster capitalism at its worst, not a serious proposal for clean power generation.

The confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers holds deep meaning for Native peoples of the Grand Canyon region. The Hopi people believe they emerged from this place. For the Navajo people, the Little Colorado River drainage is their current home, and the confluence is a sacred place to share their prayers. At least 10 tribes have ancestral and current connections to the Little Colorado River.

FERC is allowing initial comments and new filers to join the case until August 3, 2020. After that, the FERC will have to asses whether there’s enough interest in the project to move forward, or stop the dam plan before surveying, geological assessment and other invasive exploration can begin.

Sign here to tell FERC to reject this permit now, before corporations and profiteers can invade the sacred sites of indigenous people and plan to steal water, nature and history from us all! 

Please take a minute to add a personal message to your comment on why this issue is important to you. And, if you like, you can follow the link on the page after you sign the petition to share with friends and send a copy of your comment or any supporting materials to FERC. We’ll deliver all the signatures we receive before the Aug 3 deadline. Sign now to make sure your comment is included in our delivery.

Tell FERC to make the Atlantic Coast Pipeline History!

On June 15 The Supreme Court ruled that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can cross under the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest. Doing so removed a major obstacle to the project, but did not provide a clear path to how or when the project can be completed. A thicket of lawsuits persists and dozens of state and local permits remain in question.

Billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and with no end in sight, the ACP’s corporate owners — Duke and Dominion — are asking for an extension. On June 19 they filed a petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend their certificate of public good and necessity by two years.

Sign here to tell FERC to reject the extension, and make the ACP History!

Then, RSVP to join BXE and friends on Wednesday July 1 to deliver all the comments in a fun, interactive, arts-based webinarRSVP here to join us live at 11am ET on July 1, or click here to RSVP for the Facebook invite – we’ll share a recording of the webinar, and more details on how to comment and be involved.

The existing FERC permit, which has been the source of several lawsuits and legal challenges, expires October 13, 2020. If FERC denies the request to extend the permit by 2 years, the ACP is history. But FERC is not known for listening to public comment, or evaluating fracked gas pipelines on the objective merits of whether they will hurt people, communities and the climate. Which is probably why they gave us a measly 14 days, immediately before 4th of July weekend, to offer comments.

Lawyers, environmental groups, and experts are filing formal comments to oppose the extension of the ACP’s permit. But we need more than a good argument – we need public outrage and attention to stop the ACP.

Sign here to tell FERC that they must reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s application for a permit extension. If you sign before July 2 we’ll include your comment in the docket as evidence of the public’s opposition and deliver them as part of a creative, artistic, impossible-to-ignore demonstration before FERC’s next commissioners’ meeting on July 17.

Bad news about FERC & Jordan Cove

As we feared, and warned only yesterday, in the midst of the global pandemic the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved the Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline today.

The approval is conditioned on Pembina, the Canadian fossil fuel corporation behind the project, qualifying for critical permits from the state of Oregon, three of which have already been denied or withdrawn. But it’s still an incredibly disappointing decision from a rogue, rubber stamp agency.

It was only last Thursday that Senate Republicans rammed through a vote on James Danly to be a new commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Danly is the first totally partisan nominee – traditionally one Democrat and one Republican are nominated together. While a handful of Senators commented on the unusual decision to stack a supposedly bi-partisan commission with three Republicans and one Democrat.

And more than 14,000 of us wrote demanding changes at FERC, and we delivered all your signatures to each Senator before the vote. But Danly is a fossil fuel industry darling, and Senators Murkowski, Manchin, and McConnell were eager for him to secure their majority on FERC, which oversees all inter-state pipelines and fossil fuel export facilities. Hours after Danly was confirmed FERC fast-tracked the application to build the Jordan Cove gas export terminal proposed in Oregon, which was denied a permit by one vote in February.

I’m not sure which is more frustrating: The fact that Senate Republicans stacked the commission so they could ram through a fossil fuel project, or that the Republican FERC majority took the time to meet during a pandemic to approve a project that the Oregon communities, their elected officials, and local environmental agencies already oppose.

For now, the good news is that Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline can’t be built unless and until local permits are issued — and three of them have been rejected in the last few months. As for what’s next, I’ll re-iterate our request to keep your eyes on the frontlines. You can do that by staying in touch with our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy about next steps on FERC, and you can sign on petition in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.

You can also call on the Senate not to repeat their mistake this week by telling them to focus Corona virus response on people and communities, and not corporations and polluters. The Senate is starting debate tonight on a potential trillion dollar relief package for the corona virus. Initial bad ideas included direct bailouts of the fracking and fossil fuel industries. The more recent bad ideas have included a big bailout of the airline industry (who needs help to support workers, but doesn’t deserve a bailout without strings and scrutiny). Click here to tell your Senators to make sure any economic recovery bill helps workers and communities – not corporations and polluters.

Investigate Rick Perry

You remember Rick Perry as Trump’s former Secretary of Energy – the man appointed to lead an agency he famously said he would eliminate, but could not recall the name of during a 2016 Republican Presidential Debate. You might also remember that as one of the “three amigos” Perry was a minor player in Trump’s impeachment drama, which might be what convinced him to resign abruptly at the end of last year.

But did you know that Perry, less than a few weeks out from the revolving door at the Department of Energy is rejoining the board at Energy Transfer LP? Energy Transfer is the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and dozens of other environmental calamities. And Perry’s quick return to the paid employ of these climate profiteers is not just unseemly, it might be illegal.

Will you help us shine a light on the revolving door between climate criminals and Trump’s cabinet by demanding Congress investigate Rick Perry?

Perry’s term as Energy Secretary was not exactly time spent away from the fossil fuel industry. He met with major coal leaders and proposed to bail out the entire coal industry. He pressured the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to support fossil fuels over renewables. And he was a huge supporter of the US exporting more fracked gas, famously praising it as “molecules of freedom”

But it was his help negotiating gas deals with high-ranking Ukraine officials in the middle of Trump’s campaign to get them to dig up ‘dirt’ on Joe Biden that got Congress’ attention. Perry quickly resigned, rather than face questions. But it turns out Congress can still hold him accountable – if they have the political will to act.

In the age of climate crisis we now live in, the Department of Energy has a tremendous opportunity, and obligation, to take action. We’ve already suggested how FERC, which is technically an independent division of the DOE, could be transformed into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission as part of a Green New Deal. And that’s only one part of the transformation the Energy Department could lead – investing in renewables, innovation, job training, battery storage, infrastructure to make our communities resilient to climate impacts – candidates and climate leaders have been laying out plans for more than a year.

As Energy Secretary, Rick Perry had a duty to act on those plans and proposals in ways that would save lives and fight the climate crisis. Instead, he cashed in a favor to go back to the board room of one of the biggest companies in the world profiting off climate chaos. At Energy Transfer, again, he’ll make big bucks ramping up fossil fuel infrastructure that locks us into decades of further dependence on the fuels that threaten our climate and common home. This cannot go unchallenged.

Sign the petition to demand Congress investigate Rick Perry who never stopped getting paid to work for climate criminals.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline stops (here)

On Feb 24, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case to determine if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) can cross the Appalachian trail. This is the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about a pipeline in years. And the first chance in years to put a meaningful check on the power of pipelines and the fossil fuel industry.

Nor is this likely to be the last case the court hears on pipeline siting – other rulings striking down an ACP Compressor station and several other cases are moving through the courts challenge pipeline companies’ right to claim a ‘public necessity’ to take private land through eminent domain and degrade public benefits like health and climate.

We invite all pipeline fighters, mountain defenders, Water protectors and climate resisters should join us in DC on the morning of February 24, 2020. Together we will demonstrate the resolve and power of impacted communities and allies to stop the ACP and all pipelines, no matter what.

While the legal teams for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Sierra Club make their case to the Justices inside the courtroom, we will demonstrate that a majority of the public outside the court wants a check on the power of fossil fuel and pipeline companies.

It is the responsibility of the Court to hold the interest of citizens in balance with the Executive and Legislative Branches of government.  With the undue influence that fossil fuel and pipeline companies have currently, it is critical that we unify our movement through escalated action against all pipelines and to let our position be known.  

Click here to RSVP and join us on the morning of February 24 at the Supreme Court.

A lot of details are To Be Determined, but this we know:

  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is an environmental and human rights disaster. 
    • If built, the ACP would generate more than 67 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year — the equivalent of 20 coal plants. 
    • It would require 38 miles of mountaintop removal and damage thousands of acres of farm and forest land.
    • What’s more, the ACP would disproportionately harm poor, African-American and Indigenous communities all along the route. The plan includes building an enormous fracked gas compressor stations in Union Hill — an African-American community of great historical and cultural significance in Virginia — and thirty thousand Native peoples live in the project area across North Carolina.
  • To demonstrate the seriousness of this issue, and our resolve to stop the ACP and all climate-wrecking pipelines, many of us are prepared to risk arrest at this event. 
  • We will do nothing that is violent and nothing to disrupt the oral arguments, which we want to proceed and hope to win along with allies in Virginia and West Virginia who brought the case.

There will be roles and responsibilities for all who want them, just like there always are in our movement. To make it possible for as many people to participate as possible, we’ll host a communal breakfast, prayer vigil, and briefing on Monday February 24 for those who are able to join. 

We also welcome your participation with shared travel, housing and other arrangements. Let us know on the form if you need assistance or are interested in helping.

Sign now to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been binging on fossil fuel approvals again. In the last few months they’ve voted on party line to make ratepayers pay more money to subsidize fossil fuels, tried to influence the outcome of court decision in favor of fossil fuels before the trial, and called the fight to stop tolling orders a “losing the PR battle badly”.

At the same time, a growing number of elected officials and candidates are seriously considering our proposal to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC) as part of a Green New Deal. Leading presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have signed on, and Congress held a hearing last week on potential reforms to the Natural Gas Act.

FERC’s next meeting is February 20th, and our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy and many other groups will be making our presence felt. Sign on to this statement to support them, and consider their invitation to join us in DC as well!

What’s FERC been up to that’s so bad?

That is why 198 methods, BXE and 220 other organizations are campaigning for FERC to be replaced by FREC, a new Federal Renewable Energy Commission. As part of a Green New Deal, FREC would be charged with ending all fossil fuel use and regulating utility markets as they transition to 100% clean and renewable power over the next few years.

We urge you to consider taking part with us in our nonviolent action on February 20th. Click here to learn more and sign up to join us in DC.

As a first step, please sign our petition to turn FERC Into FREC. We’ll deliver all the signatures to leaders in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Stop Dirty Duke Energy’s Rate Hike!

Duke Energy is seeking approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for a $290.8 million rate hike. If approved, the electric bill of a typical residential customer will rise by nearly $100 a year — all to pay for more dirty power, fracked gas, and pollution.

A series of hearings are planned for the next few weeks, and we’re asking you to show up and speak out in opposition to this plan. Click here to RSVP for the Charlotte Rate Hike hearing Thursday, January 30. If you can’t make it (or even if you can) click here to send an email to the NCUC and tell them No Rate Hikes for Dirty Energy!

Duke Energy Wants to Raise your bills!

More Background: 

This is our chance to speak directly to NC Utilities Commissioners, the ones who oversee and regulate Duke Energy. They need to know how raising rates affects our climate and communities, especially people on fixed incomes and struggling families trying to make ends meet! 

The best way to show them is to show up! Join us at the Mecklenburg county courthouse to learn more and speak out against Duke Energy’s Dirty Energy Rate Hike. 

If you want to speak out, but aren’t sure what to say, check out our letter writing page, which is chock-full of talking points, facts, and links to other documents. You are also invited  attending should come to our PREP MEETING on Monday, January 27th @6:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte (234 N. Sharon Amity Rd.) in the Conference Room. At the Prep Meeting you can get more talking points, what to expect at the hearing, how to give good testimony and how to write Letters-To-The-Editor and Letters-To-The-Commissioners.

Thanks!

Trump’s newest FERC nominee is just as corrupt as you think.

We’ve written before about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rubber stamps new pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure, locking us into decades fo climate chaos. And in particular how Trump’s FERC has acted again and again to prioritize fossil fuel profits over the health, safety and civil rights of American citizens.

So, in context, Trump’s latest FERC nominee James Danly doesn’t look all that surprising. But in this case, dangerous things come in bland packages:

Danly, who currently serves as the general counsel to FERC claims to be a “humble regulator.” But what he actually means:

Danly’s credo draws on core tenets of the Federalist Society, an influential group of conservatives and libertarians … said several attorneys who practice before FERC

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060534923

That’s right, Danly wants to take control of America’s energy infrastructure the same way Brett Kavanaugh and Trump’s other wildly unqualified, super-conservative, almost-always-white-male judges are taking over the judiciary. And, not surprisingly, he wants to get there in a similar way to how Kavanaugh got on the court.

Our best chance to stop Trump’s latest ultra-conservative nominee is to bottle up his nomination in a committee hearing. Can you sign here to tell the Senate Energy Committee to vote no on James Danly, Tump’s latest climate-denying FERC nominee?

Here’s the short version of how we got here: FERC has seen record turnover since Trump was elected. With the departure of Democratic Commissioner Cherly LaFleur earlier this summer, there are only three commissioners left, two Republicans and one Democrat). That’s barely enough for a quorum, and gives the last remaining Democrat, Richard Glick extra leverage to block votes or halt projects by refusing to participate.

At the same time, there’s been an explosion in protests and opposition to pipelines. Inspired by campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, activists have been rising up to resist fossil fuel infrastructure from coast to coast. We’ve been part of a number of those campaigns and I know you have been too. At the same time, our allies have been suing every pipeline they can to slow them down and stop the approval process. And in a few very important instances, the combination of those tactics – the lawyers suing and the people protesting – have combined to stop big projects like Keystone and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

So the fossil fuel companies are getting nervous. They’ve been enthusiastically backing Trump’s attempt to pack the court, and are betting billions of dollars that the Supreme Court will back them where lower courts have consistently sided with landowners, the environment, and climate action.

And that’s where Danly comes in: Fossil fuel profiteers and their cronies in the Trump Administration can only win in court if they have regulators who ignore the lower courts. They’ve succeeded in firing or driving out thousands of civil servants at the EPA and Interior Department, and replaced them with lifelong fossil fuel cronies like Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt. Those guys were put in charge because they were corrupt, but not cartoonish, as their predecessors Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke had been.

Just like Wheeler is a less-ridiculous but equally-evil alternative to Pruitt, Danly is a less flamboyant version of Bernard McNamee – the Republican FERC nominee who drew unanimous opposition from Senate Democrats just about 1 year ago. Danly claims to be more moderate, but he’s the legal mind behind FERC’s refusal to even consider the climate impacts of pipelines and projects it reviews.

And, just like Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Danly’s nomination follows a Republican campaign to stack FERC with their preferred commissioners. FERC commissioners are usually nominated in pairs – one Democrat and One Republican – to maintain the legally required balance on the commission. But Danly marks the third Republican nomination in a row, and comes even as a Democratic Nominee to replace LaFleur is waiting for consideration. It’s part of a continuing trend to pack the FERC with Trump-style fossil fuel allies.

Danly’s first hearing is tomorrow, but he wont get a vote in the full Senate for a few weeks. So sign now and we’ll deliver your name to the Senate ASAP!

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.

24 hours to Grill FERC commissioners

URGENT! The Energy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Commitee has scheduled a hearing on June 12 to compel all four commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to testify. While neither the public nor industry officials are invited to testify, this is a great chance to Crack FERC open by asking the Commissioners about “freedom Gas,” their disagreements over whether and how to evaluate the climate impacts of projects, and the massive buildout of new fracked gas pipelines, compressor stations, export terminals and more.

Can you help by Sending a comment to the Subcommittee? We’ll deliver all your comments and signatures to the Commitee before Wednesday’s hearing, and if you want – we can text or email you when the hearing starts so you can tune in live.

Here’s some background for those of you haven’t been fighting FERC for years:

FERC is a rubber stamp agency that has rejected only two applications out of more than 400 proposed natural gas pipelines/infrastructure projects in the last 30 years. We’ve been protesting FERC and their commissioners for years – and even climbed two stories up a ladder to drop a banner from FERC’s awning this spring to demand Congress change FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission, as part of a Green New Deal.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, to start with, Fracking contaminates water, poisons the air and land, leads to earthquakes and leaks methane, which is up to 80 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide.

Now is the moment for Congress to act: According to new research, more than 700 new natural gas power plants, petrochemical plants & LNG export terminals have been proposed, planned or built to capitalize on skyrocketing fracked gas production. With just 12 years left to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a just transition as fast as we can. But if the frackers get their way, it’s game over for a stable climate. It’s them or us.

Another recent report provides five clear reasons gas is not a bridge fuel to a safe climate:

  1. Gas breaks the carbon budget;
  2. Coal-to-gas switching doesn’t cut it;
  3. Low-cost renewables can displace coal & gas;
  4. Gas isn’t essential for grid reliability;
  5. New gas infrastructure locks in emissions.

But despite the mounting evidence that Gas is a climate disaster, the Trump Administration’s has been issuing Executive Orders and EPA guidance that make it clear they intend to override state objections to new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Some FERC commissioners, especially Richard Glick, have been raising objections. And more than a year ago we pointed out that there were “cracks” developing between commissioners – namely that the Democrats wanted to do more to consider climate impacts and address them, and Republicans refused.

But in the last few weeks things got … weird. After FERC approved another gas export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico (the specific thing we were begging them NOT to do from their awning), Rick Perry and the Department of Energy put out a statement praising fracked gas as “molecules of Freedom.”

While that was so stupid it’s hilarious, it wasn’t satire. This is the actual policy of the United States Department of Energy. And the very next day Acting FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee tweeted his support and made a whole statement to the press about how he has always supported gas exports at any cost.

You could chalk it all up to another corrupt Trump nominee saying stupid and ridiculous things, but with FERC overseeing dozens of applications for new gas pipelines and export terminals, Chatterjee is singularly placed to implement Trump’s fossil fuel vision. And we should be really clear what that means: increasing gas exports means increased fracking and pipelines, which means more cancer, more earthquakes, more explosions, more eminent domain seizures enforced by armed federal officers. It means people die, and get hurt, and treaties get violated, and women disappear or are murdered. That’s what it means, that’s the consequence of this.

So yes “freedom gas” is a hilariously dumb idea, and yes it’s real. But mostly it is the policy of U.S. Department of Energy to hurt you, steal from you and/or kill you and call it freedom. And the chairman of FERC is now signed on to enact that policy.

Sign here to make sure Congress asks FERC about these new reports, their record of approving climate-wrecking gas projects, and holds them accountable.