Press Release: Three Arrested Attempting to Block Fast-Tracked FERC Commissioner Approvals

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jimmy Betts, info@BeyondExtremeEnergy.org, 515-708-2463

Three Arrested Attempting to Block Fast-Tracked FERC Commissioner Approvals

WASHINGTON, DC: The week following Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, three individuals representing a coalition of nearly 170 groups opposing Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disrupted a committee vote to advance the candidates. Three individuals were arrested during the committee vote.  They stood up and spoke out about FERC’s abusive practices and disregard for the environment.

The coalition, made up of local and national groups focused on various issues, is demanding that senators vote no on Trump’s nominations until the Senate holds investigations into FERC’s the abuses of power and law. The campaign has been building for more than five months and has included call-in’s, letter-writing drives, Twitter storms, lobby days, and civil resistance focused on educating senators and pressuring them to oppose the nominations. The coalition has extensive documentation of FERC’s abuses of power and law to back up their demands.

So far, the Senate has showed an unwillingness to protect the public from pollution, climate change, and eminent domain seizures of land that result from FERC’s mandate to rubber stamp fracked-gas infrastructure. Now that Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, the coalition says it’s even more unacceptable for senators to approve Trump’s nominations, one of whom, Mitch McConnell energy staffer Neil Chatterjee, is a climate denier.

This disruption followed a similar one the coalition carried out two weeks ago when the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources  met to question Trump’s nominees. The coalition has vowed to continue the fight to Resist FERC and the abusive, exploitative world it represents and perpetuates.  

“As a New York City resident I am outraged by FERC,” said Jess Rechtschaffer, who was arrested this morning. ”It is criminal that that FERC approves wholesale land grabs so that the fossil fuel industry can install pipelines via eminent domain in the vicinity of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.  FERC has never seen a dirty energy project they didn’t like from the Dakotas to NY.”

“FERC approves fossil fuel infrastructure; fossil fuels worsen climate change; the world loses and the fossil fuel industry profits. The Senate needs to overhaul FERC.” said Sid Madison from New Jersey, also arrested this morning for disrupting the vote to call attention to FERC practices.

“Climate leaders don’t support fracking or fracking infrastructure buildout, and true conservatives don’t support eminent domain for corporate gain,” said Ted Glick, an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and another who was arrested for disrupting the committee vote. “Senators should vote no on both of Trump’s FERC nominees, big supporters of 20th century energy sources in the 17th year of the 21st century. We need a Federal Renewable Energy Agency, not a fossil fuel industry-controlled FERC.”

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https://beyondextremeenergy.org/2017/06/06/press-release-three-arrested-attempting-to-block-fast-tracked-ferc-commissioner-approvals

Images & Video from this action (check for updated content throughout the day):

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9au4UKSykxhN2ZxSnUtSTI5aEk

 

Press Release: FIVE PROTESTERS DISRUPT FERC COMMISSIONER HEARING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jimmy Betts, 515-708-2463, info@beyondextremeenergy.org 

lee getting arrested

Lee Stewart is dragged out of the hearing room.

 

FIVE PROTESTERS DISRUPT FERC COMMISSIONER HEARING

Four people arrested.  Hearing disrupted for 20 minutes.

WASHINGTON, DC – Once accustomed to operating in the shadows, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and its controversial role in permitting harmful and unnecessary fracked-gas infrastructure was thrown into the limelight on Thursday morning when five people disrupted the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominations to the Commission, causing delay while speakers tried to proceed.  After the hearing was called to order, and introductions occurred, protesters methodically, yet unpredictably, loudly exclaimed  “FERC hurts families, Shut FERC down!” and “FERC hurts families, FERC hurt towns” and “The future is watching”. One protester said “I am compelled to interrupt this because I have seen the damage of climate change”. The protesters were ejected, four arrested and one detained. FERC has been debilitated since January when Commissioner Norman Bay resigned and left the Commission without the quorum of three it needs to issue permits. Protesters also spoke out: “FERC is killing Pennsylvanians.”  

The disrupters represent a coalition of more than 160 organizations that have pledged to fight Trump’s nominations to FERC. Their message is simple: Until Congress investigates the agency’s abuses of power and law, the Senate must not approve new FERC Commissioners. Until now, their opposition has come in the form of call-in’s, letter-writing campaigns, and lobby days focused on educating the Senators and pressuring Senators to vote against all of Trump’s FERC nominees. The coalition has extensive documentation of FERC’s abuses of power and law and has presented it to the Senators over the last few months. Thursday’s action marked an escalation in the campaign. In addition to delaying a restoration of FERC’s quorum for as long as possible, the action was meant to show the increasingly potent political consequences if the Senate allows FERC to continue hurting communities, the environment, and global climate.

“FERC is an arm of the oil and gas industries,” said Lee Stewart, an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and one of those arrested in the hearing room. “Their rubber-stamping of fracked gas permits disregards the harms such projects inflict on communities, towns, and the climate. Because of the great violence FERC inflicts on the world, it’s important to do everything possible to stop or delay them. Until FERC is replaced with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels and to an exploitation-free energy system based on localized, renewable energy, business as usual is unacceptable.”

Randy Fenstermacher of Massachusetts said, “History will show that the oil crisis of the 1970’s led to the evolution of FERC in its current state, and pales in comparison to abrupt global climate change already underway.  We need a new organization of the energy sector.  To Congress, we say, ‘Don’t nominate, innovate.’  FERC is not positioned to transition to renewable, non-exploitative systems of localized energy generation.”  

ACTION IMAGES & VIDEOS:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9au4UKSykxhNnlYd2FRWDlhWXM

 

NEWS RELEASE: HUMAN PIPELINE BRINGS MESSAGE TO GAS PROFITEERS: WE DON’T WANT A FOSSIL FUEL FUTURE – RENEWABLE ENERGY NOW!

NEWS RELEASE (re-published from EDGE)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Contact: EDGE Angela Vogel 206-579-9309 or Elizabeth Arnold 267-745-7041

HUMAN PIPELINE BRINGS MESSAGE TO GAS PROFITEERS:

WE DON’T WANT A FOSSIL FUEL FUTURE – RENEWABLE ENERGY NOW!20160510_122016-meme_50p

Philadelphia – A group of Pennsylvania residents claimed eminent domain today for a right-of-way through the lobby of a Penn’s Landing hotel during two energy industry conferences. Using their own bodies and lengths of industrial tubing, they built their own pipeline to carry their message to industry and government officials who want to double down on investment in fossil fuels and fracking instead of shifting to  renewable energy sources.

The Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing is hosting two conferences this week: The Natural Gas for Power Generation (NPGP) Summit on the conversion of coal-fired electrical generation plants to gas, and the Association of Energy Services Professionals spring conference.

“Converting coal-fired plants to gas often really means building a new gas-fired plant. It’s another investment that justifies more fracking, more pipelines to Philadelphia and more pollution,” said Meenal Raval, a Mt. Airy business owner. “Using fracked gas for power causes a path of destruction from wells, pipelines, and compressor stations through thousands of communities.”

The chairman of the NPGP Summit is Michael Krancer, who served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and then returned to his partnership at Blank Rome, where he heads the law firm’s Energy, Petrochemical & Natural Resources Practice. Krancer is also a member of the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team, a trade group that recently announced plans to seek public funding for a massive natural gas pipeline to Philadelphia.

“This is the revolving door in action,” said Angela Vogel of EDGE (Ending Dirty Gas Exploitation). “The same people go back and forth between government and industry, working together to keep profiting by poisoning us.”

On Monday an NGPG session called How to Overcome Environmentalist & Community Opposition and Accelerate the Approval Process included the topic “How to influence regulators and dominate the regulatory review and permitting process.” Tuesday morning featured pipeline proponent Philip Rinaldi, CEO of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions, whose refinery has suffered multiple fires in the past two years and produces two-thirds of the toxic air emissions from industrial sources in Philadelphia.

Built along two tidal rivers, Philadelphia is the city second-most at risk to power outages from climate-change-fueled storms. Members of the public who brought their message to the conferences say that reliance on fossil fuels undermines global efforts to slow climate change and locks the city and the state into decades of fossil fuel use while the rest of the world shifts to energy efficiency and renewables.

Monday’s presenter on community opposition said, ‘Listen, listen, listen’ to what communities tell you. We are telling these industries that Philadelphia wants clean energy, not the fossil fuels that are making Philadelphia the asthma capital of the Northeast, poisoning our drinking water, scarring our state with pipelines, and destroying our planet,” said Elizabeth Arnold of EDGE (Encouraging Development of a Green Economy).

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Congressman Engel Criticizes #FERC’s Decision Not to Rehear #Spectra Algonquin #Fracking Pipeline #StopSpectra

CONGRESSMAN ENGEL CRITICIZES FERC’S DECISION NOT TO REHEAR ALGONQUIN PIPELINE

Congressman Engel Criticizes FERC’s Decision Not to Rehear Algonquin Pipeline

Westchester, NY– Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision not to grant a rehearing of its order approving the construction of the Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline next to the Indian Point nuclear facility:

“I am profoundly disappointed by FERC’s decision not to grant a rehearing of its order approving the Algonquin Pipeline; no federal agency should take a cavalier attitude toward public safety. This project, which would stick a highly-pressurized, 42-inch in diameter natural gas pipeline dangerously close to the troubled Indian Point nuclear plant, raises far more questions and safety concerns than FERC seems to recognize. Residents, experts, and elected officials from all levels of government have called for an independent transient risk assessment to adequately evaluate the risks associated with this project – those calls have gone unanswered.  I believe that the public has a right to have their collective voices heard when it comes to critical environmental and safety issues.

“FERC denied this rehearing based in part on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s assessment that the pipeline poses ‘no additional risk’ to Indian Point – an aged nuclear power plant built on two seismic fault lines with a well-documented history of leaks and unplanned shutdowns. Their order cites the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which, in a mere 452 words, concluded that the likelihood of future acts of terrorism is unpredictable, and thus “the continuing need to construct facilities to support future natural gas pipeline infrastructure is not diminished from the threat of any such future acts.” If the argument then is that this project should go ahead because terrorists won’t be inclined to attack a highly combustible, dangerous piece of energy infrastructure, that just happens to be located close to New York City, then you will have to pardon my obvious skepticism, especially considering the recent news reports of a dam in Rye allegedly being hacked by Iranians.

Indian Point is a mere 24 miles away from the largest metropolitan city in the nation. That fact alone should warrant extreme caution on the part of government regulators when it comes to the construction of this pipeline. I find FERC’s ruling to be completely unacceptable and not in the best interest of the general public.

AntiTPP advocates to blockade US Trade Rep Monday morning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 15, 2015

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Kevin Zeese 301-996-6582, KBZeese@gmail.com

Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

TPP Protest in Washington, DC on Monday, November 16 to Blockade US Trade Rep

Kick Off of Campaign to Stop Unpopular Corporate Power Grab

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of 63 organizations will hold a series of spectacle actions at multiple sites in Washington, DC to escalate a campaign that will stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The events will begin on November 16th and go through November 18th.  See Call to Action for #FallRising to Stop TPP, TTIP, & TiSA.

The first event will be held at the US Trade Representative building on 17th Street, NW between F and G. It will begin at Farragut Square at 8 AM and then move to the US Trade Representative at 8:30 AM where activists plan to blockade the building in a protest focusing on “TPP Equals Betrayal.”  Opponents to the TPP will focus on how the TPP betrays healthcare, workers and unions, family farms and safe food, the future of our planet and the future of the Internet. 

To follow the protest on twitter follow #TPP, #StopTPP and for a live feed of the action visit @StopMotionsolo

Beginning at 4:30 PM, people will meet outside the US Chamber of Commerce near Lafayette Park for a march through the city. This march will feature luminary toilet paper roles.

The focus of the protests during the rest of the week will be the US Trade Representative, lobbyists for transnational corporations, the White House and Congress. Below is a schedule for the week.

Schedule for Fall Rising Protests Against the TPP

Monday, November 16

8AM – SHUT DOWN the USTR! March to US Trade Rep will begin at Farragut Square and march to US Trade Representative building at 600 17th NW.

4:30 pmMASS ACTION/MARCH for TRADE JUSTICE! Begins at the Chamber of Commerce 1615 H St., NW for Mass Action/March and Rally to stop the TPP.

Tuesday November 17

11 am – Begins at DuPont Circle for the World is Rising International Solidarity march up Embassy Row! Stops at embassies of countries who are part of the TPP.

5 pm – Hackathon at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 4th and E Sts., NW.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the Hackathon.

Wednesday, November 18

Morning – More actions to be announced.

12 pm – Petition delivery to Congress and possible press conference

Afternoon-Evening — Protest the Dominion Cove Point gas export terminal and refinery being constructed across the street from a residential community in Calvert County, MD. We will travel to the community to join We Are Cove Point and Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community for no gas exports! Why? TPP and TTIP would increase the export of fracked gas from the US to Japan (TPP) and the EU (TTIP), making it harder to stop gas export (and fracking upstream).

TPP_Toxic

#StopTPP #NoTPP #KillTPP #FlushTheTPP #FloodtheSystem

PRESS RELEASE: Bank of America Stop Funding Dominion LNG Project

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 2

Contact: Kelly Canavan, (301) 237-5040

Hi-res photos available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boadumpdominion

Activists Suspended From Upper Deck of Stadium During Monday Night Football to Protest Bank of America Financing of LNG Export Terminal 

We Are Cove Point demands Bank of America stop financing Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export terminal and other fracked gas infrastructure

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — In protest of Bank of America’s role in financing the planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland, activists from We Are Cove Point have suspended themselves from the upper deck of Bank of America Stadium during the Monday Night Football game between the Charlotte Panthers and the Indianapolis Colts. They dropped a banner that reads, “BoA: Dump Dominion, WeAreCovePoint.org,” that was seen by the stadium audience of more than 70,000 people.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) has played a major role in financing Dominion Resources (NYSE: D) and its $3.8 billion LNG export facility at Cove Point through Dominion Midstream (NYSE: DM). Bank of America is part of a consortium of banks that is lending Dominion up to $4 billion to finance several planned gas infrastructure projects. In June 2013, Bank of America also underwrote $275 million to contribute to the capital expense of the Dominion Cove Point facility. We Are Cove Point activists are now calling on Bank of America and other lending institutions to stop financing Dominion.

Since oil and gas prices have plummeted, industry experts have increasingly seen LNG export facilities as bad investments, and the financial sector has been inexplicably propping up the gas industry. As recently as August, a report from Bank of America itself warned that plummeting crude oil prices have hurt the prospects of LNG export projects. President and CEO Zin Smati of Engie’s GDF Suez Energy North America said, “You cannot ship gas from the United States anymore. … Nobody really is making money from LNG now. Certainly, we are not.”

Dominion Cove Point is a proposed LNG export terminal that is slated to send up to 1.8 billion cubic feet of LNG to Japan and India. The facility would be the only one in the world to be built in a densely populated area, in violation of basic safety siting standards. It would drive demand for harmful fracking across the Mid-Atlantic, emit more than 20 tons of hazardous air pollutants each year, and spew two million tons of greenhouse gases, making it Maryland’s fourth-largest climate polluter. LNG exports are predicted to increase domestic gas prices, resulting in economic loss for every major sector of the US economy besides the gas industry, according to a Navigant Consulting report commissioned by Dominion Cove Point and a NERA economic consulting report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As more communities organize against the encroachment of gas infrastructure, Bank of America and other lending institutions are facing increasing pressure to stop financing dirty energy projects that negatively impact the lives and well-being of those living near export terminals, pipelines, compressor stations, fracking wells and gas-fired power plants.

A broad, strong coalition of people has been actively resisting Dominion Cove Point at every step since the fall of 2013. We Are Cove Point is a leading part of the effort to stop Dominion Cove Point and reclaim the Cove Point community from Dominion’s grip.

Participants in tonight’s action made the following comments:

Bank of America is allowing companies like Dominion to operate without checks and balances,” said John Nicholson. “They are giving money directly to Dominion with full knowledge of the health and safety risks of building an LNG export facility, and they need to be accountable to that.”

Rica Madrid said, “America doesn’t need more cheap fuel on the market, and we especially don’t need to export those resources overseas. Dominion is building a facility that would contribute to the economic crisis our country is facing. Bank of America is financing the Cove Point LNG plant, and the surrounding community in Southern Maryland is forced to bear the human cost. This is unacceptable.”

For more information, visit WeAreCovePoint.org and DumpDominion.org.

Environmental groups burn bridges with gas industry at press conference

from SNL 10/01/2015

america_energy_agenda_WGL_meme

Environmental groups burn bridges with gas industry at press conference

Gone are the days where the Sierra Club might try to work with the oil and gas industry to limit its impact on the environment.

Representatives from its Dirty Fuels Campaign and a group spawned out of opposition to Keystone XL made clear at an energy policy event in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1 that there is little or no common ground left between their organizations and energy producers.

“The science is increasingly coming up that climate change is here, we’re feeling the impacts, they are just going to get worse, and we need to act quickly and boldly,” Lena Moffitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Dirty Fuels Campaign, said at the event. “What that means is we leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground.”

Moffitt said climate change “is the frame in which we need to make all of our energy infrastructure decisions going forward,” which means stopping new pipelines from being built and leaving untouched 80% of the remaining coal reserves, 50% of the remaining gas reserves and 30% of the remaining oil reserves.

Pipelines lock us into the energy of the past,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of the advocacy group Bold Nebraska that has fought TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline project. Furthermore, she said, through the use of eminent domain, “the energy companies come in and take [people’s] land against their will.”

“Do we use natural gas and oil now? Yes. Do we need to continue to build infrastructure that locks us into that energy of the past that also rips our land and water? Absolutely not,” Kleeb said. “And we’ve changed the game. Citizens like me, citizens like Lena … we’ve changed the energy game and we’re not going to back down.”

The approach confounded a gas industry leader and a Republican U.S. senator at the same Oct. 1 Politico news event sponsored by WGL Holdings Inc. They said common ground could be found with environmental groups and landowners on issues ranging from climate change to the use of eminent domain.

Marty Durbin, president and CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said the U.S. must use all its energy resources. “What is our energy future here?” he asked. “How are we going to take advantage of all the fuel sources we have? From a natural gas standpoint, we have an opportunity — not only with the abundance of natural gas here, but the ability to provide cleaner air, cleaner energy, drive economic growth for the country, and also enhancing our energy security, both here and abroad.”

“We’ve got to have pipeline expansions to be able to do that,” Durbin continued. “And the communities the pipelines are going through — of course they are going to have questions and concerns, and we’ve got to be part of that dialogue. But I think unfortunately we’ve gotten into a conversation that starts and ends with ‘we don’t want them.'”

Speakers touch hot topics

The two factions were on opposite ends of their energy infrastructure panel at the Politico event. Durbin and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., are working to improve a permitting system that, while it might be slow going in the eyes of gas infrastructure developers, generally works for them. The speakers took the high road and expressed an interest in dialogue.

Moffitt and Kleeb, facing a U.S. permitting system that mostly lets projects go forward over their objections, were more willing to lob incendiary comments that set fire to the idea of the two sides ever working together.

Hoeven, the author of legislation to streamline cross-border energy projects, agreed with Kleeb that it was important to treat landowners well, and energy companies should use eminent domain carefully. The senator pointed out that new pipelines would prevent oil and gas producers from flaring gas in production regions that currently lack infrastructure. And he pointed out that no matter what energy resources the U.S. chooses, even renewable energy sources, transmission infrastructure will have to be built.

“You still have the issue of dealing with landowners,” Hoeven said. “That’s not going to go away, regardless of your fuel choice.”

“Right, but some of the energy sources are poisonous,” Moffitt said, and some are not.

Durbin objected to that description. He said the U.S. has hundreds of thousands of miles of major pipelines in place. “We don’t have a poisonous wasteland around the country,” he said.

Hoeven said the U.S. needs to encourage investment in energy by, among other things, providing certainty in regulation. For renewables and traditional sources, he said, “if we continue to empower investment both in energy production and in infrastructure, we will get more energy, better environmental stewardship” and make the market more safe and more efficient, and other countries will then adopt the new technology.

“That’s been the hallmark of America,” Hoeven said. “We are the entrepreneurs, we’re the investors, we’re the inventors, we’re the innovators.”

In the end, the belief in U.S. innovation was one all the speakers could share.

“Like Sen. Hoeven, I believe in an America that is innovative and entrepreneurial, and I think in the face of the greatest crisis the planet has ever known … America will lead the way into the clean energy future,” Moffitt said, noting such technological advances as battery storage. “I think we can get there.”

https://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/article.aspx?ID=34047784&KPLT=4

http://www.politico.com/events/2015/10/americas-energy-agenda-whats-next-213895