BXE Interfaith Team 1 - 20160421
Greg Smith (All Souls Unitarian Universalist) , Natalie Pien (Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun) , Maria Bergheim (Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun), Clarke Herbert (Alexandria Unitarian Universalist), Ellen Taylor, Bob Gardiner, and Debbie Wagner (from left to right)


People of faith showed up at FERC’s monthly Commission Meeting on April 21 to take a stand against fracked gas pipeline permits. Natalie Pien spoke up as a Unitarian Universalist from Leesburg, VA. Much gratitude to Greg Smith for the pictures and the videos, and also for coining the great term “protestify



“My name is Natalie Pien, a Unitarian Universalist from Leesburg, VA. Your approvals of fracked gas projects are morally, ethically, & spiritually wrong! It is against my faith. The Unitarian Universalist 7th Principle is “Respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.” Your approvals are destroying the web. NO NEW PERMITS! FERC DOESN’T WORK” –Natalie Pien
Next, Maria Bergheim spoke up, also from the UU church in Leesburg and a member of 350 Loudoun with Natalie Pien. Following her, you hear from Rhett Engelking and David Schwartzman who spoke about the precautionary principle.
I was nervous going in. I had an idea of what I was going to say but  something else came to mind while I was sitting in that room watching all of those employees in suits. I saw Norman Bay and felt disgusted. When they sat down at their long meeting table, I immediately wanted to say something, but I knew I had to wait. It made me ill to think they get paid money to okay natural gas pipelines.
How is this so called Energy Regulatory Commission suppose to actually regulate energy with natural gas? It’s not safe!
 I sat there quietly stewing while they started their meeting. Natalie Pien was the first to get up and speak out. I sat there a few minutes longer when it hit me. How can anyone sleep at night when they are knowingly allowing pipelines to destroy communities?  What if a pipeline went through their community and made their children sick? I’ll bet then, they would object!
I felt the need to speak out against these gas pipelines. Communities are destroyed by them.No one is safe when the pipelines leak!
I was nervous but then I was fueled by Natalie speaking out and feeling disgusted by what they do. –Maria Bergheim
This action was initiated when Lise Van Susteren and Ted Glick from Interfaith Moral Action on Climate wrote a letter to people of faith from the DC area inviting them to inject their voices in the ongoing intervention at FERC.

Dear Sister and Brother Climate Activists,

We are writing as members of the steering committee of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate. IMAC has been supporting for many months the efforts of Beyond Extreme Energy at FERC.

Many of you are familiar with FERC – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – an agency that for years has been quietly rubber stamping all requests by the oil and gas industry to build more disastrous infrastructure pipelines – virtually assuring the use of dirty fossil fuels for decades to come.

We are reaching out to you today to let you know that FERC’s unchecked collaboration with the polluters – up until now free from scrutiny  – is ending.

For the last 17 months a growing group of activists has been interrupting FERCS’ monthly meetings –  to expose their insider game and to force the commissioners and industry polluters to face the truth about the destruction they are unleashing on people and places all over our country and the world.

The message is getting through, momentum is building, and FERC’S outrageous actions are becoming known: As just one example, here’s a link to a New York Times story last month about the growing movement against the build-out of pipeline infrastructure: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/science/earth/environmental-activists-take-to-local-protests-for-global-results.html?_r=0

As members of the faith community, you have a special role to play – because you, especially, have the standing to deliver a moral message – one that can reach the hearts and minds of people who need to be reminded of the injunction against harming life and who need in this time of deepening crisis to be awakened to the call for stewardship.

We are reaching out to ask you to join us at the next FERC meeting to be interrupted – the morning of Thursday, April 21. I, Lise, have personally participated in one of these actions, and I can tell you that they are important, that you will have 20 or 30 seconds to speak from your heart to the FERC Commissioners, and then you will be escorted out of the room and the building by FERC security. That is what happens.

Those who are interested should contact one of us, and we will take it from there.

Can you make it?

Lise Van Susteren
Ted Glick

If you would like to plug into further efforts to FERC’s monthly Commission Meetings, please sign up here to get a monthly recruitment e-mail.
To learn more about the upcoming Rubber Stamp Rebellion, please click here.
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