by Melinda Tuhus
Today’s monthly Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting marks the one year anniversary that Beyond Extreme Energy has been attending these meetings and raising the issue of FERC’s approval of almost all fracked gas infrastructure projects that come before the agency. A few fasters and other supporters who had never attended before were able to get in, while the “regulars” were shunted to another room to watch the proceedings on video.
Francis Eatherington came all the way from Oregon to try to address the commissioners about the Pacific Connector Pipeline route. As the meeting was about to start, she stood and said, “You have to listen to me. Wildland fires are burning right over the proposed pipeline route. FERC never considered the dangers of this common occurrence in southwest Oregon.” The wildfire season has been extended for several weeks in recent years, burning many more acres, due to climate change. She expressed concern for the firefighters risking their lives already, and moreso if they have to contend with possible gas explosions.
In response to her statement, she was removed from the building by security.
In solidarity with the members of Beyond Extreme Energy who are conducting an 18-day, water-only fast, Eatherington began a juice fast today until September 25.
Tighe Berry, a member of Code Pink, simply stood up and asked why Eatherington was being removed. “She came all the way from Oregon” to speak to the commissioners, he said. “This is supposed to be a public meeting, but you don’t let the public speak. You could hold your meeting in a closet.”
Another BXE faster who got into the meeting was Berenice Thompkins. She spoke passionately about the dangers of the climate crisis exacerbated by drilling and burning fracked gas, and of the damage to communities forced to host these projects. She was also escorted out.
Video from the meeting and interviews with Eatherington and Thompkins: