Despite attempts to bar truth-telling voices from their monthly public meetings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency’s commissioners were once again forced to look at the pain and suffering their permits are inflicting on people all over the country.
At the December 17th public commissioners meeting at FERC, two people managed to inject substance into what was otherwise part of an ongoing charade.
“This is a very nice love fest,” said Helen Schietinger as she rose to her feet on the floor of the meeting room, interrupting the commissioners who were in the middle of saying nice things to each other. “But,” she continued, “I think you should be listening to and caring about the people of Minisink.”
The paragraph Helen read in the above video came from Pramilla Malick in Minisink, New York, and was directed at FERC for this specific meeting.
Pramilla wrote: “Four years ago Minisink residents came to FERC seeking justice and what they got was a toxic compressor station that is now making children sick and forced many families to flee. Minisink is now a community under siege. The Millennium CPV lateral is a blatant case of illegal segmentation. If you approve this lateral pipeline you will demonstrate the egregious excess of this industry and the lawlessness of FERC actions. Minisink is the line in the sand. The American people will no longer be sacrificed to feed the greed of the fossil fuel industry. Minisink is our town. Minisink is every town. We will amplify their story, and not stop until FERC stops fracking the American people.”
Minisink is fighting today as children get sick and families are forced to leave their homes. Now, Pramilla tells us, they are up against a massive 650 MW gas-fired power plant– the CPV Valley project. This plant would emit 2.1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and support 22 Pennsylvania fracking wells per year.
This is the truth FERC fears to face.
Pete MacDowell was in the meeting as well. The message he prepared for the disruption, which got him whisked quickly from the meeting room, was straightforward and directed. “Excuse me,” he said. “Have you read that 187 nations have committed themselves to phasing out fossil fuels as quickly as possible for the sake of humanity? Ask yourself, what side are you on–humanity’s, or the industry’s? Ask your heart. Ask your soul. Ask your children. Will you have the moral courage to stand up and be the first to listen to your conscience and say I am on the side of humanity?”
These words–these truths about what’s going on in Minksink–they may be too painful for Commissioners Bay, LaFleur, Honorable, and Clark to hear. But if the horror of what they do is too blinding now, how the more blinding it will be in the future. Never mind that more and more people are actually living that horror everyday.
A dash of courage and immense love of people, place, and community are needed in these stygian times.
Bob Gardiner, who was also kicked out of the meeting for trying to film, joined Ellen and Helen for a FERC and fracking-inspired rendition of Jingle-Bells, for when they come after us with violence and blind force, we come back with truth and mobilized spirit.
If you’re interested in joining the effort to inject truth into FERC’s monthly meetings, please fill out the FERC Pledge to Mobilize and someone will be in touch about organizing the next disruption.