As FERC has moved to push back renewables in favor of fossil fuel expansion, there has been more scrutiny over their blatant corruption. Twenty six house members, eleven attorney generals, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform have all come after FERC for continuing despite COVID, disadvantaging landowners, and having a fake appeals process. Even FERC commissioner Richard Glick has stepped up his internal dissent, calling the FERC process ‘garbage’.
FERC is supposed to respond to landowner appeals in 30 days. But reports show that in the last 12 years FERC has gotten around this by issuing ‘tolling orders.’ Average response to landowner appeals is 212 days (7 months). While landowners wait, pre-construction moves forward unabated. Some appeals languish for over a year. Worse still, in the last 12 years all appeals have been denied. The FERC appeals process is deeply broken, undemocratic, and fast tracks the industry it is meant to regulate.
Join us in fighting back! On May 21 during FERC’s next monthly public meeting as we flood the offices of the four FERC commissioners with calls, tweets, and online action protesting their destructive decisions.
12 BXE Activists Disrupt FERC Commissioner Meeting
BREAKING – Beyond Extreme Energy and local friends just held a sit in and spoke out inside the Commissioners meeting of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Seven of us disrupted the meeting, delivering the demand co-signed by more 220 organizations and more than than 13,000 of you calling for FERC to be replaced with the Federal Renewable Energy Commission’ (FREC). An additional five BXE members sat down blocking a staircase in the lobby just outside.
We sang and unfurled banners reading “FERC Permits Climate Crimes” and “FREC sustains communities and the earth.” We sat peacefully (but noisily) in the lobby until we were forcibly removed by building security. Nobody was arrested, this time, for speaking out but as you can see in the video, we were pretty well man-handled by armed security. You can read the press release here; Or see more photos and videos of the event here.
Pulling off an action like this sends a powerful message to FERC, and all our elected officials. But it takes time, planning, and resources to gather support from those 220 organizations and 13,000 petition signers. We want to take our campaign to Congress next – so that they will consider reforms to the Natural Gas Act and other laws that will ban fracking, stop fossil fuel infrastructure, and change FERC into FREC.
Can you chip in to fund this fight and keep BXE activists safe, out of jail, and on the streets demanding change?
BXE member Jerome Wagner said the action was necessary because, “Under the Trump administration, FERC has become even more rogue, brazenly prioritizing fossil fuels over renewables and continuing to serve as a rubber stamp for natural gas infrastructure expansion.”
At today’s meeting, FERC is scheduled to vote on the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and fracked gas pipeline proposed in Oregon. In 2016, FERC took a near unprecedented step and denied this project because the pipeline company didn’t have enough customers. The project has faced widespread opposition from impacted tribal members, landowners, commercial fishermen, youth climate activists, and more across rural Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. More than 40,000 comments were sent to FERC in opposition to the project this summer.
“Oregon agencies have already denied critical permits for Jordan Cove LNG, making it clear that this project does not meet state standards that protect our water, climate, and communities,” said Allie Rosenbluth of Oregon-based community organization Rogue Climate. “FERC should deny Jordan Cove LNG again, so that our communities can focus on creating jobs in renewable energy, instead of fighting dirty fracked gas.”
This work is only possible because of your support. Your signatures and presence at FERC meetings, congressional hearings, and more has made the campaign possible. And thanks to our collective efforts, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission has been endorsed by presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (D), Elizabeth Warren (D), and Howie Hawkins (G) as well as 220 local, state, regional and national organizations. Lately even FERC insiders have been discussing the possibility of FREC.
We don’t want to stop now. But we need your support to keep fighting. FERC can throw us out of their commissioners meeting, they can bar us from the building. But they cannot silence our voices or ban the idea of a Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Our time is now, we are powerful and we are winning. New allies join us every day. But we can’t keep fighting without support from grassroots supporters like you. Will you chip in here to fund our work and keep the dream of changing FERC into FREC alive?
Shane, Ted, Drew and the BXE team
1 – https://www.analysisgroup.com/uploadedfiles/content/insights/publishing/ag_ferc_natural_gas_pipeline_certification.pdf
2 – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1852PGciXtNzEH4TK73SKE2bQhS7QrjzUdTHHXz5DVg4/edit?usp=sharing
3 – https://docs.google.com/document/d/194FV0wew0iIXMBokqRTcDZRRldRQTSf5-Rf8HpuRG30/edit?usp=sharing
4 – https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/28/energy-agency-democrats-climate-plans-089892
PS – learn more about today’s action, and stay up to date on new developments in the campaign at our Website: https://beyondextremeenergy.org/
FERC Permits Climate Crimes
FREC Sustains Communities and the Earth
It’s Time to Take Action at FERC!
Join BXE February 19-20 in Washington, DC
The climate crisis is deepening, frontline communities continue to be victimized by the fossil fuel industry, and Trump’s FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is going from bad to worse. It’s time to take action at the FERC headquarters in Washington, DC to call for its replacement by FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission!
The call for FERC Into FREC is supported by 220 local, state, regional and national organizations and presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and Ira Schlakman.
February 20th is the next monthly meeting of the FERC commissioners. In December, by a 2-1 vote, they decided that new, non-fossil fuel sources of energy that receive state subsidies, like the sun and wind, would be penalized and forced to pay more to access the PJM electrical grid that serves 13 states and DC. They continue their decades-long policy of rubber-stamping approvals for every gas industry expansion permit. The odds are high that they will support Trump’s just-announced proposal to weaken currently required environmental and climate reviews via the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
For more than five years Beyond Extreme Energy and other groups have been taking action at FERC, shining a spotlight on its corrupt ties to the fossil fuel industry. It’s time for nonviolent escalation! On February 20th, let’s attend their public meeting and make clear that it’s time for big changes at FERC—it’s time for a Federal Renewable Energy Commission, FREC, to replace it!
For more information, to endorse and to sign up go to https://tinyurl.com/taxrpjw. If you are with an endorsing organization and want to take part in the planning for the Feb. 20th action, be sure to let us know.
Note: There is an important Supreme Court hearing on February 24th in DC on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. IMPORTANT TO ALL PIPELINES Groups fighting the ACP are mobilizing for a rally outside the Supreme Court that morning. We strongly support this action and urge people to participate.
Roadshowing to Replace Rubber-stamping FERC
Future Hope column, November 25, 2019
Roadshowing to Replace Rubber-stamping FERC
By Ted Glick
Between mid-October and mid-November I took part with five other members of Beyond Extreme Energy—Jimmy Betts, Kendall Hale, Andy Hinz, Steve Norris and Maple Osterbrink–on two week-long road trips, each about a thousand miles of driving, from the Pennsylvania Appalachians to the Carolina lowlands and coastlands. Over the course of these trips we met with what turned out to be hundreds of local people, most of them working or taking action against FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, fracking, and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.
The first trip began in western Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh area, and the southernmost stop on the second trip was in Savannah, Ga., the location of the Elba Island Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal. In between we went to Doddridge County and Buckhannon, WV; Harrisonburg, Staunton and Nelson County, Va; Charlotte, Tillery, Rocky Mount, Fayetteville and Robeson County, NC; and Columbia, SC.
This was not a tour of blue state, coastal strongholds of progressive activism. Yet everywhere we went we found local fractivists and climate organizers who were hanging in there and continuing to organize and fight despite the depradations of despicable FERC and its gas industry collaborators in human rights and environmental crimes. We were inspired by the work and commitment of so many people, the organized folks who are refusing to give up and are winning some victories.
BXE called these organized trips “FERC Into FREC Roadshows.” Throughout the trips we showed a powerful 15 minute video produced last year, “FERC Doesn’t Work.” It was well-received, as was the idea of replacing FERC with FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission.
We actively solicited ideas from people we met with about how a new FREC should be structured so that it is the kind of energy and electricity federal agency needed. We received over 80 specific ideas over the course of the trips!
BXE launched FERC Into FREC in mid-April at the FERC headquarters in Washington, DC. Two of us, Drew Hudson and myself, successfully climbed a ladder onto an overhang 25 feet above the FERC entrance where we unfurled a large banner which said, “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NO!; Federal Renewable Energy Commission YES!” It hung there for six hours, through one of FERC’s monthly, third-Thursday meetings, after which we negotiated with the police to come down with the banner in exchange for an agreement that we wouldn’t be arrested, which they honored.
We followed up on this action with the circulation of a sign-on statement, “The Green New Deal Must Include a Federal Renewable Energy Commission to Replace FERC.” It concluded with these words: “We urge elected officials, media outlets, community and religious leaders and all people of good will to join us in our public call for FERC to be replaced by FREC. As we continue to resist FERC, fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure, we must build a movement toward this essential, critically-needed objective.”
By the end of August 220 organizations, from large national environmental to local grassroots groups, had signed onto this statement. We then sent it to all of the Presidential candidates at that time of the Democratic, Republican (except Trump), Green and Libertarian parties. Five of them responded positively and endorsed this idea: two Greens, Howie Hawkins and Ian Schlakman, and three Democrats, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
It is realistically possible that the next President elected in 2020 could be a supporter of transforming FERC into FREC.
On a phone call prior to the first roadshow, a key local organizer in Pittsburgh spoke about why he had responded positively to the roadshow idea: it could provide local people with hope that things could actually change, he said. This wasn’t just a good idea; it was an idea backed by, so far, 220 organizations and some Green New Deal-supporting Presidential candidates.
Here’s what he wrote afterwards: “Thank you for coming to western Pennsylvania. I know that your visit has already changed some of the conversation. One example: I could see a dramatic change in mood in the man I had spent several hours with just a few days before. But I also had a productive conversation with several young people who are anxious to do more.”
The local organizer in Doddridge County, WV wrote this: “Please relay to your fellow travelers that meeting all of you yesterday was a positive, comfortable experience for me. Others here also enjoyed time spent with you. I thank you for all of your time spent to protect the world that we live in and for coming to see our bit of the globe.”
And the Friends of Nelson leader in Va. communicated afterwards: “I am so appreciative of the work you all are doing, and feel fortunate that FoN was able to participate in The Roadshow. The people present that evening were the ones most likely to have thoughtful comments about how FREC should do things differently.”
As I’ve thought about these two weeks of traveling, listening and talking, making connections, strengthening the movement, the word that has come to mind the most is the word, “deepening.” For me and I think others, this trip deepened my commitment to and belief in the possibility of the kind of fundamental, transformational change embodied in the ideas of a Green New Deal and FERC Into FREC.
Here are some of the two trips’ highlights:
-Seeing and hearing about the ubiquitous and destructive impact of a decade or more of fracking in the Pittsburgh region: a children’s cancer cluster being discovered in Washington County likely linked to fracking; the huge gas refineries and “cracker” plants (which use gas to create huge amounts of plastic, just what we need); the 50 low-income families still receiving drinking water from a local service organization because of the poisoning of their water wells nine years ago; and the gas pipeline which exploded seven days after being put into operation last year because of heavy rains and the way it was installed. At the community meeting in the evening, people had a lot of ideas for how a new FREC should function based upon all the bad experiences they have been having for so long with FERC and other government agencies.
-The strong applause at the memorial service/celebration in Buckhannon, WV for deceased clean water fractivist April Pearson-Keating when I just spoke the words, “turning FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission.”
-A local NPR reporter’s interest in our participatory, collective discussion in Staunton, Va. following the showing of the video, and the story which was aired afterwards.
-The many ideas about FREC from Friends of Nelson and Friends of Buckingham members following the video, and following electricity coming on less than half an hour before the meeting was scheduled to start after being out for hours in the immediate area.
-Our small but loud demonstration with two big banners on a very cold and windy day in Charlotte, NC outside the headquarters of Duke Energy, with lots of security watching us.
-A wonderful discussion in Tillery, NC with member of the Concerned Citizens of Tillery, an African American group initially formed in the 30’s as former sharecroppers were able to benefit from a New Deal program which provided them land to farm. CCT has been a state and national leader for decades on a variety of issues, from justice for Black farmers, to health care, to environmental justice. Most recently they have been actively opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which would come through their county.
-Learning from a landowner in Nash County who has successfully prevented the ACP from going on his land for a year and a half that the town of Rocky Mount is charging consumers a 1% tax to cover the costs of methane leakage from their municipal gas distribution system.
-Visiting an area near Fayetteville where the ACP has wreaked a huge amount of devastation on either side of a stream that they will put the pipeline under if built.
-Learning about the Lumbee Tribe in Robeson County, the largest Indigenous group east of the Mississippi, which has been dealing with racism, poverty and environmental injustice for a long time. We were inspired by the powerful and unified rally at a local public school of local people and supporters around the state, followed by a spirited march to the site of a planned, massive, LNG storage terminal near the town of Maxton.
-And in my first-ever visit to beautiful Savannah, Ga., meeting with key local organizers and being taken on a tour to see the very big Elba Island LNG export terminal, just about ready to start exporting gas.
BXE is not done with the organizing of FERC Into FREC events and the building of a movement for an end to FERC. We are currently figuring out the next steps, which without question will include finding ways to involve people from the localities we’ve visited.
Just like the Green New Deal, FERC Into FREC is an idea whose time has clearly come, and we will do everything we can to make it so, as soon as possible.
Ted Glick has been an organizer with BXE since its founding in 2014 and an organizer, activist and writer since 1968. Past writings and other information can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twiter.com/jtglick
Three members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) disrupted the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing for James Danly, who was nominated by President Trump to be the third Republican commissioner at FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Two BXE members unfurled a banner reading “Reject Danly” and yelled “FERC: No more fossil lovers! Wind and solar now!” before being removed from the room and arrested. Later BXE member Melinda Tuhus stood up and yelled “It’s a climate emergency we need to turn FERC into FREC! The Federal Renewable Energy Commission!” while being hauled out of the room. All three activists have been released from jail!
For more photos and video of the action check out this link!
The Danly nomination has been controversial with Energy and Natural Resource Committee Democrats because the Republican Danly was not paired with a Democrat nominee, as has been the norm at FERC for years. This move will tip the balance at FERC in favor of Republican partisanship. Danly is not qualified to be a FERC commissioner. Let us count the ways:
He just graduated from law school in 2014. He had no regulatory experience when he was appointed by Pres. Trump in 2017 to be general counsel at FERC.
He does his work as a triumvirate, having brought two colleagues from his former job to the agency, who accompany him everywhere. This does not bespeak competence.
His philosophy of “the humble regulator” harkens back to the desire of conservatives to shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub. He is a strict constructionist whom one advisor to regulators says, according to an article in E&E, “To suggest that FERC may do nothing not explicitly stated is to misunderstand Congress’ intent. Congress chose not to describe every specific tool the Commission may use, because no Congress would have the expertise or foresight to know what those tools are.” This brand of ‘malicious compliance’ will only worsen FERC’s reputation as a weak regulator. FERC has only rejected 2 out of 400 projects in the last 30 years.
The article continued, “Evidence of Danly’s belief in the ‘humble regulator’ theory might be found in his leading the commission last year to abandon the approach it had employed toward evaluating the effects of downstream greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas projects, using authority found in the National Environmental Policy Act.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit criticized FERC for its “decidedly less-than-dogged efforts to obtain the information it says it would need to determine that downstream greenhouse-gas emissions qualify as a reasonably foreseeable indirect effect of a project.”
Finally and most importantly, climate scientists say we have until 2030 to cut global greenhouse gases in half if we hope to avoid irreversible climate catastrophe. Building out fracked gas projects such as those that FERC rubber stamps will not cut it. We need to transform FERC into FREC — the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Danly’s contributions would only send us backwards.
BXE’s petition against Danly currently has 2,385 signees and climbing. Further actions against Danly will be forthcoming!
If you like our work and want to support grassroots direct action against the fossil fuel industry and FERC… you can donate to us here!
Keep on fighting y’all!
Join activists from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) on their FERC Into FREC roadshow! BXE is traveling from the shalefields of Pennsylvania down through the path of the MVP and ACP pipelines in West Virginia and Virginia. BXE members will screen our short film “FERC Doesn’t Work” and hold a community discussion on the fight to turn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC). FERC is the federal agency responsible for the regulation of all fossil fuel infrastructure and pipelines that cross state lines. As such FERC is a lynchpin in the nationwide movement against fossil fuels and for climate justice!
FREC would oversee the creation of clean energy projects democratically controlled by impacted communities. Recently BXE has seen Presidential Candidates Howie Hawkins, Bernie Sanders, Ian Schlakman, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren publicly endorse the idea of replacing FERC with FREC. BXE is looking to root the FERC Into FREC campaign in the needs of frontline struggles. The Green New Deal has arisen as a means to push the government towards action, but has remained vague and limited in its commitment to frontline communities most impacted by climate chaos and dirty energy projects. We must come together to ensure that marginalized, frontline, grassroots voices are heard in the crafting of any nationwide climate policy.
Following the film there will be participatory discussion of local struggles, ways of bringing frontlines demands to the Green New Deal, and visions for a rising movement to replace FERC!
Pennsylvania- Oct 17th, 6 PM, Carnegie Library Braddock 419 Library Street, Braddock 1510
Virginia- Oct 19th, 3:30PM, 214 W Beverly St, Staunton, VA 24401
Virginia- October 20th, 6 PM, Nelson Center 8445 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston, VA
Bios for Roadshow Presenters:
Jimmy Betts has worked with the Beyond Extreme Energy collective since its founding in 2014 after walking on a pilgrimage across the continent for climate action. These travels have continued through supporting ongoing direct action campaigns against interconnected systems and agents of oppression and destruction. Jimmy attempts to live and work within the confluences of restoration, reparation, adaptation, and front-line community support through a biodiversity of solidarity strategies. Jimmy’s interests include traditional medicine’s practical application, place-based and ancestral Earth skills, walking, reading hardcopy books, and fiddle music.
Ted Glick has been a progressive activist, organizer and writer since 1968. He has prioritized the climate crisis issue since 2004 and was one of the founders of Beyond Extreme Energy in 2014. Following retirement after nine years as the National Campaign Coordinator for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, he has worked since as a volunteer with BXE and several local and state organizations in New Jersey fighting climate disruption and the expansion of new fossil fuel infrastructure. Since 2000 he has written a nationally-distributed Future Hope column of political, social and cultural commentary.
Andy Hinz retired from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 2016. Before directing cybersecurity and IT planning for CFTC for eight years, he was an IT technician and then manager for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for 25 years. Though a public transit commuter, energy conserver, and native plant gardener, he did not grasp the late hour for action to mitigate the climate crisis until he joined the effort to ban fracking in Maryland after reading Frackopoly. He has participated with BXE on several actions at the U.S. Senate and at FERC, being arrested twice, and is active in Baltimore on climate and other issues. Andy lost his oldest child, Reese, to an overdose of fentanyl in 2017 and supports an end the racist war on drugs as well as the war on our atmosphere.
Maple Osterbrink has volunteered for peace, justice and earth conservation since the 1960’s. She “took the earth-conservation pledge as a young girl scout and has held to it.” She retired from several “almost-careers” to North Carolina and is helping out many organizations including BXE, APPPL, Workers’ Assembly and the Raging Grannies. She worked to preserve wetlands in New Hampshire in the mid-90’s as a town conservation commissioner. She is “sick of the corruption, theft and poisoning of democracy, peace, water, food and sustainability.” As an artist she will have mini-projects to do with children, or adults, during the roadshow events.
Howie Hawkins, Bernie Sanders, Ian Schlakman, Joe Sestak and Elizabeth Warren Support Replacing FERC with a Federal Renewable Energy Commission
Thus far Presidential candidates, Howie Hawkins (Green), Bernie Sanders (Democrat), Ian Schlakman (Green), Joe Sestak (Democrat) and Elizabeth Warren (Democrat), have come out in favor of replacing FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, with FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. All of the Democratic, Green, and Libertarian Presidential contenders, as well as Republican Presidential contenders William Wild and Joe Walsh, were contacted with this request.
Prior to this outreach, over 215 local, state, regional and national organizations endorsed a statement initiated by BXE that urged “elected officials, media outlets, community and religious leaders and all people of good will to join us in our public call for FERC to be replaced by FREC.”
Howie Hawkins wrote that he would “reorganize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), now captured by the fossil fuel industry, into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC) with the new mission of enabling a rapid shift to clean renewable energy.”
Bernie Sanders’ campaign sent this statement of support: “Senator Sanders is on board. As part of his Green New Deal he will focus the federal government’s resources on transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy economy. This will require reorganizing the Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Energy Information Administration, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Federal Emergency Management Agency to prepare for the clean energy economy and climate impacts and to eliminate or transition resources and offices historically used to facilitate fossil fuel extraction, transportation, refining, and use.”
Joe Sestak’s campaign wrote to us: “Admiral Sestak is happy to say ‘yes’ to your request to support a Federal Renewable Energy Commission to replace the current FERC.”
Elizabeth Warren said this in her 100% Clean Energy for America document released in early September: “Create a Federal Renewable Energy Commission. I’ll work with Congress to overhaul the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is tasked with regulating the U.S. electrical grid, replacing it instead with a Federal Renewable Energy Commission. The revised commission’s mission will be to reduce greenhouse gas pollution — and we’ll slam shut the revolving door with industry to ensure it is responsive not to fossil fuel interests but to our communities.”
“Transforming FERC into FREC is one way that presidential candidates can concretize their climate platforms,” said BXE leader Ted Glick. “We hope other candidates will also support our campaign, which will be setting out on a road show in October to bring the issue to communities on the front lines of fighting fracked gas infrastructure.”
The Green New Deal Must Include a Federal Renewable Energy Commission to Replace FERC
Our country and world desperately need the enactment of a Green New Deal. The science is clear: by 2030 we must be decisively onto the path of energy efficiency, conservation and wind, solar and other genuinely clean and safe renewable energy sources. Fossil fuels must be in a sharp and permanent decline as the power source for electricity, as well as for transportation and heating/cooling of buildings.
This Green New Deal (GND) shift will lead to the creation of millions of new jobs, including for those historically discriminated against and for those currently working in the fossil fuel industry. It will strengthen the labor and other movements and increase the number of good-paying, union jobs in our economy. It can be a major driver of the kind of positive, justice-based social and economic transformation so clearly needed in the United States.
This shift is already happening, but not rapidly enough. Just as FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s created the legislation and policies that began to raise the U.S. out of the Great Depression, the Green New Deal can bring together the people of this country and concentrate our collective efforts on the historic, must-succeed task of transforming our energy system and economy and doing so within the third decade of this century, by 2030.
In order for GND legislation to accomplish this task it must include a transformation of the federal agency tasked with regulating and overseeing the U.S. electrical grid-FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC was created in 1977 when Congress passed the Department of Energy Reorganization Act. Over 40 years later, it’s time for a FERC overhaul. FERC must be replaced by FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission.
A transformed FERC would not be a revolving door for its leaders and employees with the fossil fuel industry, as it is currently. An investigative article in April, 2015 in https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060016380.
Greenwire summarized it this way: “Employees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have deep ties to the industry they regulate, according to agency documents detailing their job negotiations and stock holdings. Ethics records throughout 2014 show agency staff seeking employment with grid operators, law firms and utilities that the agency has jurisdiction over and often meets with as it sets new orders and rules. In addition, FERC employees have held stock in or remain part of pension plans from companies that can be affected by the agency’s work.”
Leaders and employees of a new Federal Renewable Energy Commission must be personally and professionally committed to the historic task of shifting rapidly from fossil fuels to renewables. Leaders must be chosen based not upon their ties to the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries but on their experience with and commitment to renewables.
FREC’s new purpose must be made explicit in a mission statement which commits it to lead the urgent work of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and shifting to a renewable, jobs-creating, justice-based and energy efficient power grid and economy.
As distinct from the way FERC operates, potentially affected and proximate communities must be notified from the very beginning of planning processes for proposed new and/or expanded energy infrastructure. They must be given sufficient support, including funding, to enable them to fully participate in decision-making processes.
FREC’s funding stream must not be dependent on fossil fuel industry “fee-for-service.” Right now ALL of FERC’s budget comes from fees on industries that have business before FERC. It is in the financial interest of FERC to have as much business with them as possible. Given the power of the fossil fuel industry, this encourages corruption and pro-industry bias.
Many of us signing this statement have been resisting FERC’s pro-fossil fuels policies going back many years, particularly as hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling-fracking-has disrupted lives and communities and led to an explosion of new fracked gas pipelines and other infrastructure. FERC has proven itself to be a rubber-stamp agency for the pipeline and gas industry, granting permits for all but two of over 400 proposals for new interstate gas development. It is long past time for FERC’s abuses to end!
We urge elected officials, media outlets, community and religious leaders and all people of good will to join us in our public call for FERC to be replaced by FREC. As we continue to resist FERC, fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure, we must build a movement toward this essential, critically-needed objective.
- Beyond Extreme Energy
- 350 columbia
- 350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley
- 350 Montgomery County
- 350 Triangle
- 350 Westlake
- 350.org- National
- Abalone Alliance Safe Energy Clearinghouse
- Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability
- Agricultural Missions, Inc
- Animals Are Sentient Beings, Inc.
- Appalachian Gas Working Group, WV Rivers
- Aquashicola/ Pohopoco Watershed Conservancy
- Backbone Campaign
- Baltimore People’s Climate Movement
- Berks Gas Truth
- Berkshire Environmental Action Team
- Beyond Nuclear
- Bistel Co.
- Boston Clean Energy Coalition
- Breathe Easy Susquehanna County
- Brian Boortz Public Relations
- Bronx River Bicycle Works
- Buckingham: We the People
- Bucks Environmental Action
- Bucks Environmental Action, Pa.
- Cancel Compressor Coalition, Va.
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
- Chatham Research Group
- Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Chesapeake physicians for Social Responsibility
- Christians For The Mountains
- Church Women United in New York State
- Citizen Power, Inc.
- Citizens Allied for Integrity and Accountability (CAIA)
- Citizens Awareness Network
- Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community
- Citizens United for Renewable Energy (CURE)
- Citizens’ Resistance at Fermi Two (CRAFT)
- Clean Water for NC
- Climate Action Alliance of the Valle
- Climate First!
- Climate Hawks Vote
- Climate Jobs PDX
- Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline – New Jersey
- Coalition for a Nuclear Free Great Lakes
- Coalition to Protect New York
- Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
- Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
- Conscious Talk Radio
- Ct Shoreline Indivisible (CTSI)
- DC Statehood Green Party
- Dogwood Alliance
- Don’t Gas the Pinelands
- Don’t Waste Michigan
- Don’t Frack Calvert
- Earth Action Inc., NY
- Earth Evolution
- Earthkeeper Health Resources
- Eat for the Earth
- ECHO Action NH: #FossilFree603
- Energia Mia
- Environmental Justice Task Force of the WNY Peace Center
- Erie County Green Party
- Extinction Rebellion New Paltz
- Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition
- Fiends of Bruce
- Food & Water Watch (National)
- Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station
- Franciscan Response to Fossil Fuels
- FreshWater Accountability Project
- Friends of Buckingham
- Friends of Horseshoe Bend Park
- Friends of Nelson
- Friends of the Earth
- Genesis Farm
- Green America
- Green Country Sierra Club
- Green Earth Goods
- Green Education and Legal Fund
- Green Party of Butler and Venango Counties (PA)
- Green State Solutions
- Guilford Peace Alliance
- Haw River Assembly
- Heal(thy) Community Coalition
- Hip Hop Caucus
- Howard County Climate Action (MD)
- Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
- Hudson Valley Green Party
- Idle No More Michigan
- Indivisible We Rise West Central PA
- Interfaith Moral Action on Climate
- Lancaster Against Pipelines
- LEAF of Hudson Valley
- Lebanon Pipeline Awareness
- LEPOCO Peace Center (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern)
- Longmeadow Pipeline Awareness Group
- Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, NJ
- Maine Solar Energy Association
- Marcellus Outreach Butler
- Marshalls Automotive
- Metro N.Y. Catholic Climate Movement
- Milford Doers/Residents of Crumhorn Mtn
- Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, WV
- Movement for a People’s Party
- Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
- Naropa University
- NC WARN
- NCAPPPL–NC Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Love
- Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force
- New River Conservancy
- New River Valley Chapter of the Sierra Club
- New York Progressive Action Network – Enviro Committee
- NH Energy Impacts on Health Study Groupup
- NJ Skylands Sunrise Hub
- NJ State Industrial Union Council
- No Fracked Gas in Mass
- North American Climate, Conservation and Environment(NACCE)
- North American Water Office
- North County Climate Change Alliance
- Northeast Organic Farming Association-Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)
- Northern New Jersey NOW
- Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
- Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)
- Nuclear Free campaign of the Sierra Club
- Nuclear Information and Resource Service
- Nuclear Watch South
- NYC Grassroots Alliance
- NYC H2O
- Occupy Bergen County
- Oil Change U.S.
- On Behalf of Planet Earth
- OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition
- Parallax Perspectives
- Patriots From The Oil & Gas Shales
- PAUSE – People of Albany United for Safe Energy
- Peacemakers of Schoharie County
- Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air
- People for a Healthy Environment
- Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City
- Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Philadelphia
- Physicians for Social Responsibility- Philadelphia
- Plymouth Friends of Clean Water
- Plymouth Friends of Clean Water, NY
- Popular Resistance
- Power Shift Network
- Preserve Franklin County Virginia
- Preserve Giles County
- Preserve Monroe
- Preserve Montgomery County VA
- Preserve Salem
- Proposition One Campaign for a Nuclear-Free Future
- Protect Our Water Heritage Rights (POWHR)
- Radiation Truth
- Reach Out America
- Reclaim Augusta
- Redwood Alliance
- Residents Allied for the Future of Tioga (RAFT)
- Residents Organized For a Safe Environment (ROSE)
- Resist the Pipeline
- Rockland Citizens Action Network
- Roseland Against Compressor Station (RACS)
- Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG)
- San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
- Sane Energy Project
- Santa Cruz Climate Action Network
- Sisters of Charity Federation
- SocioEnergetics Foundation
- South Jersey NOW-Alice Paul chapter
- Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline
- Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)
- Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice
- Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development
- Summers County Residents Against the Pipeline
- Sunrise Movement Baltimore
- Sustainable Arizona
- Sustainable Medina County
- Terra Advocati
- The Banner
- The History Business
- The Peace Farm
- The Shalom Center
- Three Mile Island Alert
- Triangle Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
- Tricounty NY Transition
- Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network
- United for Action, NY
- Upper Green Side
- Valley Watch, Inc.
- Vermont Citizens Action Network
- Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance
- Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE)
- Veterans PC Canada
- Voters of Watchunghills
- we are cove point
- Whidbey Environmental Action Network
- Wilco Justice Alliance (Williamson County, TX)
- WildEarth Guardians
- Women’s Energy Matters
- Wyoming County Greens
- Yoga For Peace,Justice, Harmony With The Planet!For up to date listings of signees check out the living version of the FERC Into FREC Sign-On Statement here!
In July BXE held a press conference outside of FERC’s monthly meeting. You can check out the footage here! Additionally three people (one from XR DC) attended and disrupted the FERC meeting by saying that FERC Commissioners should be ashamed and their actions are a threat to people all over the world.
On Saturday July 13th Beyond Extreme Energy paid a surprise visit to FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur’s house in Massachusetts. Activists dropped a banner reading “ You Can’t Be Neutral On a Burning Planet” and another reading “Vote for the Future You Want for Your Grandchildren.” We demanded that LaFleur vote NO on all new fossil fuel infrastructure at the FERC meeting July 18th in DC. No one emerged from the house but BXE made sure our banners and signs were spread throughout her yard as a warm welcome! Fliers were left throughout the neighborhood explaining the action and the role their neighbor Cheryl LaFleur plays in the expansion of extreme energy!
Commissioner LaFleur is currently the swing vote on approving all new natural gas projects in the country. Currently FERC only has four of its five commissioners, meaning that tie votes result in new projects being canceled or put on hold. FERC commissioner Richard Glick nearly always votes against new fossil fuel infrastructure. Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee always vote to approve it. This makes Cheryl LaFleur the critical swing vote, a position she has lamented in recent articles. July and August are LaFleur’s last two months at FERC before her term ends. If she can be pressured to reject all new fossil fuel infrastructure expansion on the FERC docket it will stall projects at least until two new FERC commissioners have been nominated and confirmed.
You can help this week by calling into LaFleur’s office, tweeting at her, and sending emails demanding she take a stand against climate chaos and fossil fuel expansion! We have put together a resource bundle of images, material, and scripts to help you spread the word and put the pressure on LaFleur. A five minute call or quick facebook post goes a long way if we all join together! Be sure to email us and tell us how your calls went!
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Although LaFleur has made statements on the importance of evaluating each new project by their greenhouse gas emissions, she has only been sporadic in backing these sentiments up with actions. In April she said “Despite my considerable and even growing concerns about the commission’s current approach to analyzing climate impacts in these cases, I’m trying to supplement that analysis myself and decide case-by-case so I don’t become paralyzed into dissenting in every case because I don’t like the way the commission is doing it.”
Yet FERC Commissioner Richard Glick has been much stronger in taking a stand against the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure that will lock the U.S. grid into decades of reliance on dirty fuel sources at the root of climate change. “I’m just in a different place. I think Rich [Glick] has drawn the conclusion because they are not doing that, I must dissent,” she said. “I’ve found a way thus far to concur, although I agonize in every case to concur.” This agony has not stopped LaFleur from recently approving three new liquified natural gas terminals. LaFleur seems to prefer the less “polarized” FERC, when all projects were rapidly approved and she did not have to worry about holding the fate of life on earth in her hands. LaFleur’s term at FERC is ending in August and she seems to be setting herself up as friendly to fossil fuels in order to get a future job in the energy industry, an industry she came out of when taking her position at FERC.
In Solidarity, Beyond Extreme Energy
Want to support BXE in taking direct action against FERC and climate chaos? Donate here!
For Mother’s Day weekend the team over here at Beyond Extreme Energy made some digital Mother’s Day cards for FERC commissioner Cheryl LaFleur! LaFleur has often stated that she takes climate change seriously because she is a mother and a grandmother. Maybe we can help remind her that her ineffectual efforts on climate change will have have dire consequences for all future generations!
Make sure to send these Mother’s Day cards to LaFleur via twitter and email this weekend.
FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur is currently the swing vote on approving all new natural gas projects in the country. Although LaFleur has made statements on the importance of evaluating each new projects by their greenhouse gas emissions, she has only been sporadic in backing these sentiments up with actions. Instead of practicing what she preaches, LaFleur has recently approved three new liquefied natural gas terminals (Port Arthur, Calcasieu Pass, and Driftwood). LaFleur’s half hearted efforts to get climate issues addressed in the FERC process have the consequence of locking the US into natural gas infrastructure for decades to come.
Currently FERC only has four of it’s five commissioners, meaning that tie votes result in new projects being canceled or put on hold. FERC commissioner Richard Glick nearly always votes against new fossil fuel infrastructure. Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee always vote to approve it. This makes Cheryl LaFleur the critical swing vote, a position she has lamented in recent articles. LaFleur seems to prefer the less “polarized” FERC, when all projects were rapidly approved and she did not have to worry about holding the fate of life on earth in her hands.
LaFleur’s term at FERC is ending June 30th, and she seems to be setting herself up as friendly to fossil fuels in order to get a future job in the energy industry. Over the course of the next two months it is critical that we put pressure on Cheryl LaFleur to vote against all new fossil fuel infrastructure! In the following weeks we will be keeping the pressure on LaFluer with phone zaps, social media blitz, and actions! Stay tuned for more information!
More materials can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y5y6fcmk
This morning two activists from Beyond Extreme Energy scaled the entryway of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission office in Washington D.C. The pair now sit atop FERC’s awning over 25 ft above the ground, holding a banner that reads ‘Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NO! Federal Renewable Energy Commission Yes!’ Meanwhile, somewhere in the FERC office commissioners are preparing to meet on the approval of fossil fuel projects that will negatively impact our world for generations to come. You can check out photos and live streams of the action on our Facebook and FRECnotFERC.com.
The action was taken by Beyond Extreme Energy on behalf of millions of affected citizens who are frustrated by years of FERC’s approvals of pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, and alarmed by Donald Trump’s recent Executive Orders to further expedite pipeline approval. This action launches our new BXE campaign aimed at turning the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC). FERC is beyond reform and must be replaced with a government agency capable of meeting the challenge of climate change head on.
“The Federal Energy Regulation Commission, FERC, has for years been overseeing a major expansion of the destructive fracked gas industry,” said BXE climber Ted Glick. “FERC is a rubber-stamp agency. It has rejected only two out of over 400 gas industry proposed pipelines and other gas infrastructure over the last 30 years. And at today’s meeting commissioners could approve two new liquefied natural gas export terminals in the criminal enterprise to hook the world on U.S. fracked gas for decades.”
Fracking contaminates water, poisons the air and land, leads to earthquakes and to methane leaks that accelerate dangerous global heating. With scientists warning that we have less than 12 years to radically re-make our economy to avoid the worst impacts of climate chaos, activists are demanding that Congress replace FERC with FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission.
Congress has the power to remake FERC into FREC as part of a Green New Deal. The FREC agency would be an important part of plans to regulate our nation’s electrical grid, prioritize the growth of renewable energy, and reject all gas industry expansion and other fossil fuel projects.
“Congress has a choice to make: they can pay lip service to climate action while Donald Trump orders pipeline after pipeline built — locking in another 50 years of increasing emissions, gas exports and climate chaos,” said Drew Hudson, the other BXE climber. “Or Congress can choose to put renewable energy first and enact a Green New Deal that remakes FERC and other agencies. It’s past time to move urgently to get off fossil fuels!”
BXE is a grassroots direct action group focused on FERC issues and frontlines logistical support. We are made up of activists each fighting frontline battles in our own local communities, but we come together to take on FERC because of its central role in the fight against fossil fuel expansion. We rely on y’alls support to carry on this fight. Please donate and get involved if you want to see more actions from BXE! We’ll see y’all in the streets, in the forests, and on the awnings.
FERC confirmations no longer ho-hum affairs
A recent Huffington Post article mentioned the Democrats’ lackluster response to goings-on at several federal agencies, but didn’t mention FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Those of us fighting FERC like to say it’s the most dangerous federal agency most people have never heard of, and this Huff Post article didn’t mention it. But FERC is becoming better known, and one of the reasons is that Dems have stepped up to fight for their nominees, and especially to fight against Republican candidates deemed unqualified, thanks in large part to grassroots pushback.
FERC approves virtually all fracked-gas interstate pipelines and related infrastructure project applications that come before it, including compressor stations and LNG export terminals, so it has huge influence over our economy — and our carbon footprint. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that we have just a dozen years to stop emitting global warming gases if we hope to stop climate catastrophe — and methane (fracked gas) is a global warming gas that is 100 times worse for the climate than CO2 in the near term.
No more than three of the five commissioners can be from any one party, and due to a confluence of events five months after Trump took office, only one person – a Democrat – was a functioning FERC commissioner at the time, so Trump was able to nominate four new commissioners in 2017. Another Democrat and three Republicans were confirmed by the Senate – all by voice vote. The attitude seemed to be, ho-hum, nothing to get excited about here.
Then in 2018, one of those Republicans left after just a year in office, and another – the FERC chairman – died in office. So Trump got to nominate two more Republicans. So far he’s nominated just one, Bernard McNamee, and instead of approving him by voice vote, Senators battled over the nomination. Dems insisted he was unqualified because when he was at the Department of Energy in 2017 he had tried, on behalf of Trump, to convince the FERC commissioners to bail out nuclear and coal plants that are having a hard time surviving on an even playing field with other sources of energy, which is supposed to be a fundamental tenet of the agency.
Members of Beyond Extreme Energy and a number of other groups waged a campaign in the fall of 2018 against McNamee. In the end, he was approved along party lines by one vote, 50-49, and Democratic senators and members of watchdog groups are insisting that he must recuse himself from any issues that relate to the original position he pushed.
Now, the long-serving Democrat, Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, is stepping down this summer at the end of her second term, so Trump will get to nominate her replacement along with the third Republican. It will be interesting to see whom he picks, and how much support or opposition the two nominees will generate.
BXE shows up to Make McNamee’s First Day the Worst Day.
December 20, 2018 | Washington DC — This morning, members of Beyond Extreme Energy and friends were at FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to “welcome” new commissioner Bernard McNamee to his first meeting. After a campaign against his Senate confirmation because of his close ties to – and adulation of – the fossil fuel industry, and his denigration of both clean energy and those advocating for it, he squeaked by in a 50-49 Senate vote along party lines – by far the most controversial nominee ever seated.
“Recuse yourself” is the call from legal experts, many members of Congress, climate activists and members of frontline communities fighting the projects FERC routinely approves.
D.C. resident Carole Lewis Anderson said she went to her first FERC meeting because, “I’ve been persuaded that FERC is one agency that does not seem to make the goals and desires of the people part of its agenda. They just don’t care and have a way of dealing with input that’s discouraging. Also, most of its work has to do with supporting the fossil fuel industries and I am adamantly opposed to further extraction of any fossil fuels anywhere on earth. I didn’t want to be disruptive, so I told them before the meeting officially started that they need to allow the public’s views to be heard, how wrong it is to have McNamee on the commission, and that he must recuse himself.”
Michael Bagdes-Canning interrupted the meeting to say, “I am from the shalefields of western Pennsylvania, and every time they act they destroy communities like mine. They need to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
John Quarterman is the Sewannee Riverkeeper, fighting to protect a river that runs through Alabama, Georgia and Florida, which is also home to the fracked gas pipeline, the Sabal Trail, approved by FERC. He told the commissioners, “The Sabal Trail already leaked and they didn’t even detect it, much less stop it, for a day. FERC abdicated responsibility.”
The Electricity Law Institute at Harvard Law School has filed a legal challenge urging frequent recusals because of McNamee’s conflicts of interest. And last week 17 Democratic Senators sent him a letter saying, “We are concerned about positions you have taken, both while serving as the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Deputy General Counsel for Energy Policy and in the private sector. These positions and statements suggest a lack of independence and an inappropriate predisposition on a number of topics likely to be involved in proceedings that will come before you in your new role as a FERC Commissioner. We urge you to recuse yourself from any future FERC proceedings where your impartiality could be questioned. . .”
Maybe he’s listening. BXE veteran Ellen Barfield noted, “McNamee said at least for today and a little while in the future he’s going to just listen and vote present.” Activists are also urging anyone who doesn’t think such an extreme partisan in favor of expanded burning of planet- and community-destroying fossil fuels should be sitting as a FERC commissioner to call his office to express their opinion.
You can help! Call McNamee’s office at 202-502-8510 and tell him to recuse himself or resign. And click here to chip in to support BXE’s efforts to bring accountability to FERC in 2019!
Beyond Extreme Energy Disrupts McNamee Hearing!
Early this morning we disrupted the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing for FERC nominee Bernard McNamee. McNamee is a long time energy industry insider and climate denier. He has worked as a lawyer for energy companies, the energy spokesperson for the conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation (funded by Exxon-Mobil and Chevron), and the energy advisor for Ted Cruz. Last summer he was instrumental in drafting policy with Rick Perry to subsidize the ailing nuclear and coal industries, a move that even FERC unanimously rejected 5-0. By putting McNamee directly in FERC- Trump seeks to politicize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission instead of maintaining its place as an independent government agency.
A BXE activist stood up during the hearing, interrupting McNamee as he gave his personal introduction to say ““Members of the committee, I have to object to this nominee. I ask you to think about conflict of interest and what a terrible example this nominee is with all his connections to fossil fuel industries.” As he was removed from the hearing room he continued: “Think about all the victims of eminent domain, and the refugees and those killed by the fires and hurricanes. Vote NO ON MCNAMEE.”
Two additional BXE members stood and held a banner reading “Vote No On McNamee!” All three were taken out of the hearing and arrested. As of this time, all members are out of jail but the fight against McNamee is not over! The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be meeting to vote soon after Thanksgiving. Senator Murkowski (AK) has stated that the decision will go before the full Senate in December. We must stop McNamee from joining FERC!
Right now FERC has four commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans. In the past that didn’t make any difference; all commissioners voted to rubber-stamp proposed new gas pipelines and infrastructure. But for the last year things have changed. The two Democrats, Richard Glick in particular, have often voted against these proposals. We’d like to keep things as they are until Congress investigates FERC’s abuses of people’s rights, the environment and the law and takes action to change that reality.
You can join the campaign against McNamee by calling your Senators and telling them to “Vote No On McNamee!. We’re already gearing up for our next action in DC- if you are interested in taking part please fill out this form and we’ll keep you in the loop!
Want to take action?
Call the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee!
Donate to Support BXE!
STOP MCNAMEE ACTION!
November 15th, Washington DC
On November 15 in the US Senate, coal-loving, climate denier Bernard McNamee will appear for a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. If Donald Trump gets his way, this will be the first step on a path to his soon becoming a commissioner at FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Beyond Extreme Energy and allies will also be at the hearing, and we urge you to consider joining us. Lets cause a ruckus and STOP McNamee! The Senators and the press who will be there need to see that there are a lot of us who want McNamee to be voted down!
McNamee has been a longtime promoter of fossil fuels. In an op-ed for The Hill newspaper, he wrote that fossil fuels had “dramatically improved the human condition” – on Earth Day 2018 no less! And as the head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, he worked on and then defended in a Senate hearing Rick Perry’s proposal for FERC to bail out the coal and nuclear industries at the expense of renewables. This plan was so obviously biased that even FERC voted 5-0 to deny it.
At three Senate hearings last year on FERC nominations, BXE members took action. Some led to people being arrested, and others did not. That is the general plan for this action. The key thing is that we have a good turnout!
Right now FERC has four commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans. In the past that didn’t make any difference; all commissioners voted to rubber-stamp proposed new gas pipelines and infrastructure. But for the last year things have changed. The two Democrats, Richard Glick in particular, have often voted against these proposals. We’d like to keep things as they are until Congress investigates FERC’s abuses of people’s rights, the environment and the law and takes action to change that reality.
Please sign up here https://bit.ly/2OfUHtf if you want to come or are seriously considering coming on November 15. We’re lining up food and housing for the evening before at a church close to Capitol Hill. And we can help if there’s a need for gas or bus money to get there.
We hope to hear from many of you soon!
P.S. If you haven’t seen the video of our effective “Super Villains for McNamee” action in the Senate on October 16th, go to https://beyondextremeenergy.org. It was a creative, effective action.
Register here: https://bit.ly/2OfUHtf
MUST SEE: Super Villains Unite at FERC
What a week, what an action!
Donald Trump has nominated the coal-loving, climate-denying Bernard McNamee to be a Commissioner at FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And the Senate is moving at “warp speed” to confirm him!
If they do, McNamee will help Trump build a fossil fuel empire that will last a generation by approving dozens of new pipelines and gas export facilities, and rigging electricity markets so we all have to pay more money for dirtier power. It’s a plan so dastardly and dangerous, only a super villain could have come up with it!
So BXE dressed up as “super villains United” to tell the senate that putting McNamee on FERC is an evil plan. Check out the video, and then chip in to support our ongoing work to stop this dastardly nomination:
This action was only the start of our campaign to stop McNamee and shut down Trump’s FERC. On Monday, just before our villainous lobby day, we launched a new petition with partners at Climate Hawks Vote and other groups to oppose McNamee. If you can’t donate (or if you already have) please sign on here to stop McNamee – and we’ll deliver all the signatures at or before his hearing on November 15.
But we only have a few weeks to organize, and with a big election coming up, we’re know many of you will be busy doing good work in that arena. We need your support to keep our two organizers on the road and meeting with more local communities. We need to re-vamp our website and facebook page to spread the word. And we need your support so we can go BACK to DC in less than a month and confront McNamee in person at his hearing.
We have very little time, and a lot to do. If you can, please consider chipping in to support us, and tell your friends to sign on to our petition.
PS – Need a reminder about who McNamee is and why we oppose him? Check out this short email from last week, or check out my Loooooong blog post with tons of links and footnotes. If you want to write your own email, blog post or update about McNamee, we’ve made it easy by creating a toolkit with sample materials to share and promote the campaign.
CRACK FERC OPEN
The time to escalate is now! Click here to sign up!
BXE is planning a three-day sharing/training, art-build and action from June 23 – 25, beginning the morning of Saturday, June 23. Will you join us?
Our communities and our planet are in desperate need of a halt to the permitting and building of all new fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure. Communities in the way of proposed new pipelines, compressor stations, storage and export facilities face toxic industrialization, eminent domain abuse, air, land and water pollution, and threats to health and safety. And our disrupted climate can only heal when jobs-creating renewable energy and energy efficiency have displaced fossil fuels, and people power has displaced corporate power.
For decades FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has supported the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries. It has rubber-stamped virtually all gas pipeline permit applications. It has confronted us and the rest of the country with a rigid, unified and punitive refusal to listen to grassroots concerns about communicide and climate change. This has led to a massive build-out of fracked gas infrastructure in many parts of the country, with all of the disruption and danger that come with it.
Recently, though, things are changing. Despite the Trump Administration’s full-throttle efforts to keep fossil fuel empires going, many cracks have been appearing in their foundations:
- Industry leaders are openly upset about the grassroots actions that have affected their plans.
- State and federal courts are beginning to delay or challenge FERC permits, efforts to subvert state powers over air and water quality, eminent domain abuse and actual pipeline construction.
- Fracked-gas prices are so low that some companies have gone bankrupt, while costs are increasing. Trump’s steel tariffs are hurting the pipeline industry.
- A broad range of groups are working together to get banks to stop financing extreme energy.
- Wind, solar and renewable storage technologies continue to grow, as low prices make them much more attractive, and this is happening worldwide.
- 2017 was the first year ever that both coal and gas declined in the electric power sector.
- Several states have stopped the construction of new gas-fired power plants, and resistance against them nationally is a big worry to the gas industry.
There are even cracks appearing at FERC: Commissioners voted unanimously to reject Rick Perry’s push to further subsidize coal and nukes. They voted, because of a court decision, to end a substantial tax break for pipeline companies. The new Democratic commissioner, Richard Glick, issued several strong dissents on pipeline permit applications; and there have been other dissents too. These can greatly help court challenges.
It is time to escalate at FERC. BXE is planning three days of sharing/training, art-building and action from June 23 – 25, beginning the morning of Saturday, June 23.
On June 23, we will take part in the DC national action being organized by the Poor People’s Campaign. This will be the last of 40 days of action the PPC is organizing around the country. Following the demonstration we will gather in the late afternoon for a time of sharing, art-building and getting prepared for action at FERC and elsewhere the morning of Monday, June 25. We will spend all-day Sunday continuing that preparation and community-building.
We intend to devise actions that can further open up the cracks in FERC’s leadership and structure. In the past, BXE has had success in getting the attention of FERC employees, the media and others with nonviolent blockades, fasting, die-ins, days of silence, sidewalk feasts of pancakes and sweet potatoes, music, prayer and bird-dogging. We are also considering other locations where we could take action.
We urge you to sign up (click here!) for this convergence and action. It’s time to Crack FERC Open!
Food: Seeds of Peace will be cooking for us. There will be three meals a day.
Housing: Those who need housing are welcome to stay with us at St. Stephen’s Church (1525 Newton Street, Washington, DC). The church will be available from 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 to the morning of Tuesday, June 26. We will be sleeping on the floor, so please bring any and all bedding you will need to feel comfortable. Bathrooms and a showers ($1 per use for the shower) will be available. During the day, we will lock our items in a storage room at the church.
Schedule: We will gather for the Poor People’s Campaign event on the 23rd beginning at 9 am, on the mall at 10th and Jefferson St. SW, in front of the Smithsonian Castle, where we will have colorful, attractive t-shirts for people to wear, literature to pass out about June 25 and 26, and a 50-foot long mock pipeline. After the PPC rally and march to the Capitol, which begins at 10 am on the mall between 7th and 9th Sts and is expected to end by 2:30, we will head up to St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, for our art-build at 3:00 PM. We’ll spend that afternoon and evening time working with Kim Fraczak of the Sane Energy Project, who will be bottom-lining the art build and prop- and sign-making for BXE’s actions on June 25th and 26th. We’ll also have our first meal together, provided by Seeds of Peace.
Those who want to can stay overnight at St. Stephen’s: We’ll be sleeping on the floor, but people can use pew cushions, if you don’t bring a mat, along with your sleeping gear. There are bathrooms and a shower available for our use.
Sunday morning we’ll leave pretty early, storing our personal gear in a locked room. Seeds of Peace will provide breakfast. By 9 am we’ll gather at a nearby site for a day-long gathering. We’ll be there until 5 pm, getting to know each other, getting organized, building community, learning about one another’s pipeline fights, doing a nonviolent direct action training, hearing a legal update from our lawyer Mark Goldstone, etc. At 5 we’ll return to St. Stephen’s to finish our preparation for Monday’s big day of action.
Seeds of Peace will provide lunch and dinner.
People who want to will stay overnight Sunday night at St. Stephen’s: We’ll get up early Monday morning and leave for FERC for our activities there, as well as possibly other activities throughout the day (still in the consideration stage). One certainty is we’ll be taking action at the DC Convention Center where the World Gas Association just happens to be gathering for the first day of a four day conference. We’re also considering doing some bird-dogging of appropriate power structure players.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We will have a mix of activities. Some will involve a risk of arrest, and some will not. We need people willing to take part in each kind of activity to be successful.
Seeds of Peace will be providing food for us throughout the day Monday.
We will be staying overnight Monday night at St. Stephen’s. We’ll leave early so that we can we can get to Samuel Gompers Park, between 10th and 11th St. at Massachusetts and L St. NW, where we’ll gather at 8:30 am to get organized to go to the World Gas Conference where Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry is giving a keynote speech at 9 am.
Other items of note:
FERC’s review of its pipeline review process: Previous emails from us had reported that June 25 was the last day of a 60-day time period for comments to FERC about its (rubber-stamp) process of reviewing (approving) proposed gas pipelines and infrastructure. Because of pressure from organizations fighting pipelines, FERC has extended the period for comments until July 25. We’ll be delivering, in person, our message about what needs to change at FERC.
Noon rally at FERC on June 25: At noon at FERC, we will hold a rally featuring speakers from areas fighting against new gas pipelines or other fossil fuel infrastructure. Please contact us if you want to be sure to be on that list to speak
Luci Murphy to lead us in song: We’re pleased to report that Luci Murphy, long-time cultural warrior and activist, will be with us the afternoon of June 24 and 25 to contribute her beautiful and soulful voice in song to our efforts.
Nonviolence principles: We will be guided by these BXE nonviolence principles (click here to read them).
Poor People’s Campaign: The PPC is organized in more than 35 states, and it has held actions in those states three Mondays and the Tuesday after Memorial Day since they kicked off the 40 days of action campaign on May 14, the day after Mother’s Day. The final day of action will be June 23 in DC.
BXE is pleased to be part of this important, historic movement, and we urge everyone to take part as much as you can in the weekly actions.
Donations: We are asking that all taking part in the June 23-25/26 actions, especially those sleeping in St. Stephen’s Church and/or eating Seeds of Peace-provided food, donate to help cover costs. We are asking for a $35/day donation, but we welcome everyone, whether you can contribute $5/day or $100/day. No one will be turned away because of their financial status. Click here to make a much appreciated (and needed) donation.
350 Loudoun (https://350loudoun.org/)
Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Live (www.apppl.org)
AMP Creeks Council
Appalachians Against Pipelines
Berks Gas Truth (gastruth.org)
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (thebeatnews.org)
Better Path Coalition
Center for Biological Diversity (www.biologicaldiversity.org)
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Chesapeake Climate Action Network (www.chesapeakeclimate.org)
Chesapeake Pipeline Resistance
Citizens Resistance at Fermi 2
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Earth Defense Coalition
ECHO Action NH: #FossilFree603 ( ECHOaction.org)
Food & Water Watch
Fossil Free Rhode Island
FreshWater Accountability Project(www FWAP.org)
Friends of the Earth
Green Sanctuary Committee of the Unitarian Society of New Haven
Howard County (MD) Climate Action
Lancaster Against Pipelines
Lowell Pipeline Resistance
New HavenLeon SCP
New Progressive Alliance (http://www.newprogs.org/)
New York Climate Action Group
NH Pipeline Resistance (PipelineFree603.org)
No Eastern Shore Pipeline (http://www.noeasternshorepipeline.org/)
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE) (www.globalwarmingisreal.com)
NYC H2O (http://www.nych2o.org/)
OVEC-Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (ohvec.org)
People Demanding Action (www.peopledemandingaction.org)
Protect Orange County
Resist the Pipeline
Roseland (NJ) Against the Compressor Station
Sane Energy Project (www.saneenergy.org)
The Shalom Center (https://theshalomcenter.org)
Shut Down Indian Point Now
Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment
Sustainable Medina County, OH
Transition US (http://transitionus.org)
We Are Cove Point
Yoga For Peace, Justice, and Harmony with the Planet (https://www.reverbnation.com/amazingamycontortionistuniqueyogadancer)
New From BXE!
“No New InFRACKstructure 2018 Action Calendar”
Beyond Extreme Energy has decided to pull together and publish regularly a calendar of actions being planned, in the works or on-going. We will publish it at least every two weeks. It will be available on our website, and it will also be distributed via email and social media. It is a calendar primarily for actions aimed at stopping the building of any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Submissions for this listing should be sent to email@example.com and should include location, date(s), description (short) and contact info.
The Action Calendar can be found here or in the menu on the left-hand side of our website.
Let’s build the movement!
Get involved in BXE’s work
- Sign up for the BXEEkly, our weekly events e-mail newsletter.
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- Check out our blog and press releases for updates!
Support our work!
- Make a financial contribution.
- Write to Actions@BeyondExtremeEnergy.org if you’re interested in being on one of our organizing working groups.
Questions? Need to contact us? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo Credit: Phil Ateto)
“My name is Molly Dunton and I live and work in DC, not far from FERC headquarters. I have the pleasure of working for the national environmental non-profit Earthworks, and I have the privilege of working with residents around the country that have been negatively impacted by extreme energy development. In other words, my job involves supporting communities that have been forsaken by FERC in the name of corporate profits. I may not live in a frontline or fenceline community, but I carry the voices of my partners on the the front lines with me into my work. My home is not currently threatened by one of FERC’s reckless project approvals, but when might it be? Regardless of how much or how little physical stake any of us has in a given project on FERC’s docket, this fight is personal.” Click here to read more from Molly on the January 2018 disruption of FERC’s Commission Meeting.
FERC doesn’t work – and it’s about to get worse. Trump’s pro-industry commissioners are ready to use their new rubber stamps to approve more fracked-gas pipelines while Congress pushes legislation to expand FERC’s authority. PLEASE head for FERC on Sept. 20 at 8:30 a.m. The change starts here. Click here for more details.
THREE ARRESTED AT HEARINGS FOR FERC NOMINEES
Three people were arrested as they interrupted Senate committee hearings for the last two Trump nominees to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. One of them, Andrew Hinz (top), who worked at FERC for 25 years, called out: “Have a conscience! FERC is destroying the atmosphere!” Read all about it at our blog post.
THREE ARRESTED TRYING TO BLOCK SENATE PANEL VOTE ON FERC COMMISSIONERS
Three people representing a coalition of nearly 170 groups were arrested disrupting a committee vote to advance the president’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. They stood up and spoke out about FERC’s abusive practices and disregard for the environment. Read all about it at our blog post.
FIVE PROTESTERS DISRUPT FERC COMMISSIONER HEARING
BXE protesters disrupted hearings for President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, calling out “FERC hurts families, Shut FERC down!” and “FERC hurts families, FERC hurt towns” and “The future is watching.” Four were arrested and one detained. Read all about it and view photos and videos here.
Trump Nominates New FERC Commissioners, We Pledge Resistance
There is no such thing as a good FERC commissioner. Until Congress takes steps to replace the agency with one dedicated to a just transition off of fossil fuels, the Senate should oppose all nominations. It’s especially important to block appointments to FERC now because the agency is operating below quorum and any delays in the confirmation process is a delay to all of the harmful fracked gas infrastructure projects that are awaiting FERC’s rubber stamp. Read on here.
SWEET POTATOES, NOT PIPELINES
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a $5 billion high pressure fracked gas pipeline proposed for WV, VA, and NC. Among its many potential harms, it would negatively impact farmland and farm families along its 550 mile route. BXE’s sweet potato action gave voice to impacted communities in all three states while focusing on the particular concerns of sweet potato farmers in NC (NC is the nation’s leading producer of sweet potatoes).
Call to Oppose Trump’s FERC nominations
Call on Congress to stop or delay Trump’s nominations to FERC and push for what we really need: an agency dedicated to a just transition from fossil fuels. We’re asking communities across the nation to call key senators on March 22 & 23 and then again on April 5 & 6. Read all about it at our blog post.
[photo from E&E News]
Oppose Trump’s appointments to FERC
President Trump will appoint three people to the five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). If your organization would like stay connected to the effort to oppose the nominations, please fill out this form. We’ll be in touch about the ways we plan to pressure senators to vote no on these appointments, including potential actions and other ways to get involved. Questions or concerns? Contact Actions@BeyondExtremeEnergy.org
Please join us as we seek to pack the Thursday, Jan. 19, meeting in DC of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that ruins communities and our climate by rubber stamping fracked-gas infrastructure and much more. Facebook event page here. Also planned are speak-outs from people in front-line communities from 10 -10:30 a.m. and a rally from 10:30 – 11 30 a.m. Email us at Actions@BeyondExtremeEnergy.org for more information.
2. Demand withdrawal of militarized sheriff departments
3. Join the Mississippi Stand to shut down DAPL in Iowa
On Dec. 1, more than a hundred #NoDAPL actions across the world are kicking off a Global Month of #NoDAPL solidarity to #ProtectWater in the face of escalating human rights abuses. Join this Thunderclap by noon Dec. 1 to amplify our voices.
The financial footing of the Dakota Access Pipeline is in jeopardy if Energy Transfers does not complete the project by Jan. 1. If this deadline is missed, a majority of the shippers with contracts to use the pipeline will be able to renegotiate or cancel their contracts. Read more here. DNB Bank of Norway, one of the major financiers, has already sold its assets in the company due to public pressure and is considering withdrawing its loans.
Indigenous leaders are asking people to keep up the pressure on the investors of Dakota Access Pipeline and the Sheriff Departments that have been brutalizing peaceful water protectors.
#NoDAPL: BXE stands in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Indigenous leaders are calling on us to take action and disrupt “business-as-usual” one week after the election to demand that President Obama’s Army Corps of Engineers and the incoming administration stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Actions in the United States, aimed at the Army Corps of Engineers, and around the globe are planned Tuesday, Nov. 15. Find an action near you here. (And no surprise here: The incoming president has up to $1 million invested in this pipeline. )
Straw bales needed: The Standing Rock camps are having problems getting straw bales for construction and insulation. North Dakota and South Dakota sources are drying up and refusing to sell or deliver to Standing Rock. Please spread the word that straw bales are needed; transportation can be worked out. With the first significant snow expected this week, firewood and winterizing will be needed. Please share and refer folks so we can make sure #protectors and families are cared for during the harsh winter ahead.
Beyond Extreme Energy supports the Standing Rock Sioux’s stand against the 1,134-mile Dakota Access Pipeline. Read about the protectors on our blog post and about a New Haven, CT, solidarity protest here. Read all about BXE’s solidarity action at TD bank branches in DC here.
BXE has created a Frontline Community Support Fund. Read all about it in our blog post.
BXE activists blockade the entrance to the Democratic National Committee offices. Read all about it in our blog post.
Beyond Extreme Energy extreme? Not at all. Read all about it at our blog post.
BXE activists interrupted U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to carry the message of “No LNG Exports” to the Virginia Energy Forum. Read all about it at our blog post.
THE RUBBER STAMP REBELLION IS HERE
On the sidewalk in front of FERC, Beyond Extreme Energy and other activists talk about that agency’s destructive permits. They implored FERC commissioners to join them for pancakes cooked on a solar stove and topped with the last syrup from Megan Holleran’s maple trees, which were cut down for a pipeline. Filmmaker Josh Fox, Holleran and five others were arrested in the #PancakesNotPipeline action. Read all about it at the BXE blog. (Photo via Twitter by Eleanor Goldfield at Art Killing Apathy.) Also, be sure to view Josh Fox’s short film about the Holleran family, their maple trees, climate change and the #PancakesNotPipelines action at FERC.
Led by Nancy Vann, a Peekskill landowner whose property was taken by Spectra for pipeline construction, several New York residents stood up at FERC’s March public meeting to ask the commissioners why they have ignored Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s urgent request to halt construction on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. Protesters, including Cari Gardner (above), were forcibly removed from the room. Read the full report at the BXE blog here.
BXE hails FERC’s rejection of the Jordan Cove LNG facility and related pipeline in Oregon. It is one of many projects BXE has targeted during actions at FERC. During BXE’s 18-day water-only fast at FERC last fall, Francis Eatherington, above, was roughly led out of a FERC meeting while trying to explain her concerns about the project. Read BXE’s and Eatherington’s reaction at our blog here.
Dozens from around the county rallied in March against Dominion’s planned fracked-gas liquefaction and export facility at Cove Point. Read about Cove Point Spring Break here.
Protests are mounting against Duke Energy’s plans to “modernize” with yet another generation of fossil-fuel powered plants. Read Steve Norris’ BXE blog post here.
Several BXE activists have been in northeastern Pennsylvania to stand with a family and community trying to stop the clearing of maple trees for the 124-mile long Constitution Pipeline. Tree-chopping has begun. Read blog posts by Ted Glick of BXE here and here.
ResistAIM defenders block work on Spectra’s fracked-gas pipeline under the Hudson River. Read all about it at the BXE blog here.
In a carefully coordinated, rolling cross-country action, Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) and Stop the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline (SWRL) delivered humorous but pointed Valentine’s Day cards (such as above) to the four FERC commissioners at their homes and DC residences. A press release is here. Press coverage here and here. To send a belated card, grab your paste, markers, fancy doily hearts and construction paper (or print out our #valentine) and get all the details here.
More Than 80 Health Professionals Demand Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Stop Unethical Experiment
Check the BXE blog for more.
View FERC’s official calendar here.