FERC Isn’t Faceless: ResistAIM Puts Names And Faces To The Agency That Threatens The People Of Their State

 

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On Thursday March, 17, 2016, 13 members of  ResistAIM Pipeline, a group of concerned New York State (NYS) residents, took turns standing up during the monthly  public meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ask the commissioners why they have ignored NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s urgent request to immediately halt construction on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. Governor Cuomo directed four NYS agencies to conduct an independent safety assessment of the AIM Pipeline and its proximity to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The Governor told the New York Times, “​The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government when making any decision​.” All 13 New York residents were forced from the room for speaking truth to power. They stood one-by-one in succession, addressing  each commissioner by name, putting faces to an agency that has until now remained faceless. Read more about what happened during the meeting here, and continue reading below to hear directly from some of the brave folks who stood up that day.

 


Members of ResistAIM come together after being kicked out of FERC.

 

We are shining a spotlight on a formerly invisible, but extremely powerful gear in the giant machine of the fossil fuel industry. Pipelines metastasize because FERC allows them to spread across the country with no accountability to our safety, our economy, nor the futures of generations to come. The beam of our spotlight was focused today on FERC and in the harsh light, the agency was pulled out of the shadows and exposed for its thuggery and its soullessness. — JK Canepa

 

It was important to me to confront the FERC commissioners because they, by virtue of their chosen profession, are murderers. They continually rubber stamp fossil fuel infrastructure projects which , by extension, hurt public citizens. People lose their homes, their livelihoods, their health, and their lives for the sake of corporate profit.

I live in Westchester where we are at risk of catastrophic destruction. If the Spectra AIM pipeline gets to run gas, we could potentially experience “Fukushima on Hudson,” gas leaks, and gas explosions! This particular pipeline is too close to the aging nuclear power plant which is also dangerously close to two fault line! What could possibly go wrong?

All this and I haven’t even mentioned how the fracking and transportation of gas is! And– at this time on this planet we need to be transitioning to renewables–NOT increasing the infrastructure to transport dangerous, dirty fuels. — Cari Gardner, Hastings on Hudson, NY

 

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Cari Gardner. Photo credit: Erik McGregor

Today was so important because for decades FERC has been destroying communities and families and land as a group of nameless, faceless bureaucrats. But this fight against fossil fuel infrastructure is all about people. Today a group of individual people from New York got to stand up and confront the individual people that make up the commission and make decisions that affect and threaten our daily lives. The era of FERC hiding behind its anonymity to bring devastation to our front yards is over. FERC must be accountable and stop dangerous projects like Spectra’s AIM pipeline now. — Jessica Roff, Brooklyn, New York

 

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Jessica Roff. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

Been fighting the AIM pipeline for nearly three years. It is going through my community property–but even more important it is going within 105 feet of safety structures at Indian Point nuclear plant. The plant sits on two earthquake fault lines and the NRC considers it the most dangerous plant in the U.S. That endangers 20 million people in our region and the financial center of our country and the world.– Nancy Vann, Peekskill, NY

 

I grew as a person from meeting this group for the first time. Their energy gave me the strength to speak at the meeting. My hope is for FERC to respond to Governor Cuomo immediately and stop/halt/cancel/rescind the Spectra AIM pipeline. –Kevin O’Keefe, Long Island, NY

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Kevin O’Keefe. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

 

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I live in Westchester County and have been fighting the dangerous Spectra high pressure AIM gas pipeline sited a mere 105 feet from critical infrastructure at the Indian Point nuclear power facility. Pipeline and nuclear safety experts have repeatedly and urgently issued warnings that a pipeline rupture next to Indian Point could result in a nuclear catastrophe  similar to or worst than the Fukushima disaster. More than 20 million people who live within the 50 mile radius of the co-location of the AIM pipeline and the aging and troubled nuclear plant  are in serious harm’s way and the financial center of the world is also threatened. A few weeks ago NY Gov. Cuomo finally acknowledged the dangers to public health and safety and directed four state agencies to conduct an independent safety assessment and called on FERC to halt AIM pipeline construction and suspend its approval.

But FERC chooses to continue to ignore the Governor’s requests and the vehement warnings of leading safety experts as well as similar demands from local, state, and federal officials and the people of New York. For the last three years I’ve worked hard to acquire knowledge, work with the experts, educate others, and continually communicate to FERC via documents and testimonies and calls the inherent dangers and need to fully address this issue, and withdraw its approval.

Coming to Washington, DC today and attending the FERC’s monthly meeting enabled me to come face-to-face with the four commissioners and speak truth to power. It is one of the most important opportunities to directly express these critical messages to the commissioners in person. Now my message has been heard loudly and clearly and others in the room have borne witness to my words and expression of these facts. They can’t unknow it or look the other way any longer.

Come to DC and tell the FERC commissioners face-to-face they cannot look the other way anymore, they cannot ignore the dangers, they cannot rubber stamp fossil fuel infrastructure projects, they cannot destroy the health of the people across this nation and they cannot pollute our air, water, and soil, and they cannot destroy our climate!”–Ellen Weininger, White Plains, NY

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Ellen Weininger. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

Beyond Extreme Energy and our allies across the country have been bringing truth to FERC meetings for over a year and a half, and we intend to continue until all permits for fossil fuel infrastructure are stopped. If you’re interested in learning more about this effort, or want to be connected to future actions at monthly Commission Meetings, please leave us your contact information here.

In May, Beyond Extreme Energy and many of our friends are planning a Rubber Stamp Rebellion. We will continue to show the names and faces behind this grotesque agency. Learn more here.

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The faces of three FERC commissioners. From left to right–Cheryl LaFleur, Norman Bay, and Tony Clark. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor