Call In Days to Protect Communities from Pipelines & FERC!

(Thanks to Delaware Riverkeeper for putting out this information)

Mark Your Calendars

  • April 5 & 6

Call In Days to Protect Communities from Fracked Gas Pipelines, Compressors and LNG Exports

Right Now, FERC Can’t Approve Any Fracked Gas Pipelines or LNG Export Facilities Because they Don’t have the Legal Quorum Necessary to Cast Binding Votes. Let’s Keep it That Way

Join the call-in days on April 5 and 6 when we’re asking you to make 6 calls to tell your Senators and the members of the Energy and Natural Resources committee to hold hearings to get to the bottom of FERC’s abuses of power and address them before approving one more appointee to the Commission!

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a proven rubber stamp for fracked gas pipelines.  In 30 years, the FERC Commissioners have only rejected one (1) pipeline project.

Right now, FERC is operating without a Quorum – it only has 2 Commissioners, not the needed 3.*  Until a new FERC Commissioner is approved by the Senate, the agency cannot issue the Certificates needed to approve fracked gas pipelines, compressors or LNG exports subject to its jurisdiction.

This means communities are in a rare moment of protection.  Please help us fight to keep it that way.

We need Congress to keep FERC in this power vacuum until it has held hearings that expose the abuses of power and law inflicted by FERC on our communities and environment.  And to then craft legislative reforms that will prevent these abuses from continuing in the future – even if that means dismantling FERC altogether and replacing it with a better option.

Any time now, President Trump will nominate new commissioners for Senate consideration and confirmation.

Help us call on Congress to push for what we really need—congressional hearings that lead to needed reforms and an agency dedicated to facilitating a just transition to an exploitation-free energy system based on locally controlled and distributed renewable sources.

(* Information Note: FERC only has 2 confirmed Commissioners on its 5 seat Board.  Until FERC gets a quorum of Commissioners – three – it does not have the power to approve pipelines, compressors or LNG export facilities.)

It’s Time to Call Our Senators and Secure their Commitment to:

  • Oppose Any New FERC Commissioners
  • To Demand Congressional Hearings into FERC Abuses and Bias
  • To identify reforms that will result in an agency dedicated to a just transition to energy that serves the people rather than abuses them.

Demand an investigation and reform of FERC before supporting any Trump nominations.

What will we be saying to senators?

  1. FERC is a demonstrably biased agency – it has only denied one pipeline project brought before its commissioners in 30 years
  2. Trump’s nominees for FERC Commissioner need to be opposed until Congress has held hearings into FERC’s abuses of power and has identified and put in place needed reforms.
  3. Ask Trump’s nominees the tough questions that will expose the bias and abuses that exemplify FERC.

Find more information and all of the resources you need to make your calls, including phone numbers, a sample script, and an optional form to tell us how your calls went here: http://bit.ly/CallReFERCApril

Details can also be found at our Facebook event page: http://bit.ly/2o2xGkr

Tips on Meeting US Senators or Staff About FERC Vacancies

Senate Goes On Recess from April 10 to April 21.

Plan a meeting with your Senators in their district offices to say:

  • FERC approved pipelines are damaging communities and devastating the climate.
  • FERC is so biased that its approval of pipelines is a foregone conclusion.
  • FERC is abusing communities — stripping them of their legal rights and undermining the authority of state protections.
  • Be a champion to demand that Congress take steps to dissolve FERC and replace it with an agency that is dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels.
  • Vote NO on Trump’s nominations to FERC until steps are taken to replace FERC.

Tips on Meeting With Your US Senators or Their Staff

The first thing to do is to contact the Senator’s office and request a meeting. Do not take “no” for an answer. Their job is to represent the people of their state. You have an important and very timely issue to discuss with them.

You can find your two Senators’ contact information at the link below. Go to the Senator’s website page and find the local office closest to you and your group and call that number. Here’s the link:  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MA

Explain to the person who answers the phone that you want to meet with the Senator or a member of his staff while the Senator is back home from DC. Tell the staff person that you are representing an organization, or organizations, and tell him/her the name(s). Explain that you want to discuss the issue of the nominations by President Trump to the leadership of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If there is any hesitation by the staffer, explain that your group knows about FERC, that it has a history of abusing communities and misusing the law when it comes to reviewing and approving new natural gas infrastructure like pipelines, compressor stations and LNG facilities, and the Senator needs to be aware of these issues before he votes to confirm anyone.

The staffperson may ask you to send an email with the specific request. You should send it right after the phone call, and follow up with another call the next day if you don’t hear back by then.

If there is continued hesitation or resistance after the call and the email, and especially if you are told no one will meet with you, you might want to firmly but calmly tell the staffer that if neither the Senator nor his staff are willing to meet, they can expect to see you outside his/her office with signs and that you will be alerting the local press.

If that doesn’t get them to agree to meet, then you should organize a demonstration at the local office on a date and time that you determine is best for your group, or the coalition of groups you’re part of.

If you do get a meeting date and time, be sure to reach out within your organization or coalition to recruit a decent-sized and effective delegation. A good goal as far as numbers is 10-20 people, not too big to fit into an office but big enough to give a sense of your organization representing many people.

Designate the person from your group who will begin the discussion. That person should plan an opening presentation of 2-3 minutes summarizing why we want the Senator to vote “no” on all of Trump’s nominations until there are Congressional hearings on FERC and action taken to make reforms.

During the meeting people should be respectful but direct. If the Senator or staff person says something that you know to be wrong, respond and correct them. Listen carefully to see if there is something said that indicates an openness to what you are saying, so that you can follow up afterwards with additional information.

Use this handy Education and Ask Sheet to help plan your meeting and guide your discussion: http://bit.ly/FERCDoesntWorkMessageSheet

Here is some helpful information from the ACLU about meetings with elected officials:

Additional tips from the ACLU

https://www.aclu.org/meeting-your-elected-representatives

Be prompt and patient. Elected officials run on very tight schedules. Be sure to show up on time for your appointment, and be patient — it is not uncommon for legislators to be late or to have your meeting interrupted by other business.

Keep it short and focused! You will have 20 minutes or less with a staff person, and as little as 10 minutes if you meet with your elected official. Make the most of that brief time by sticking to your topic.

Bring up any personal, professional or political connections to the elected official that you may have. Start the meeting by introducing yourselves and thanking the legislator for any votes he or she has made in support of your issues, and for taking the time to meet with you.

Stick to your talking points! Stay on topic, and back them up with no more than five pages of materials that you can leave with your elected official.

Provide personal and local examples of the impact of the legislation. This is the most important thing you can do in a lobby visit.

Saying “I don’t know” can be a smart political move. You need not be an expert on the topic you are discussing. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is fine to tell your legislator that you will get that information for him or her. This gives you the chance to put your strongest arguments into their files, and allows you to contact them again about the issue. Never make up an answer to a question — giving wrong or inaccurate information can seriously damage your credibility!

Set deadlines for a response. Often, if an elected official hasn’t taken a position on legislation, they will not commit to one in the middle of a meeting. If he or she has to think about it, or if you are meeting with a staff member, ask when you should check back in to find out what your legislator intends to do about your request. If you need to get information to your legislator, set a clear timeline for when this will happen. That way, you aren’t left hanging indefinitely.

For the full ACLU text, go to https://www.aclu.org/meeting-your-elected-representatives

Finally, AND IMPORTANTLY, be sure to fill out this google form to let us know how things went and so we can report publicly how much our groups are doing to oppose these nominations: http://bit.ly/2nDXRgs

Writing LTE’s In Opposition to Trump’s Nominations to FERC

Todd Larsen from Green America provided our coalition with advice and a template for writing Letters to the Editor in opposition to Trump’s FERC nominations. Please take a look at the below material, and consider sending in your own LTE to local press outlet.

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This advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists is helpful:  http://www.ucsusa.org/action/writing-an-lte.html#.WNfI-jvyvIU

It is best to write in response to an article that was run in the paper/new source and reference that article, keep the LTE short (200 words is ideal and no more than 300), and provide full contact info at the end.

SAMPLE

[XX REPORTER’S] article [ARTICLE TITLE] on [DATE}, reporting President Trump’s proposed appointments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) misses the key issue regarding this appointment process.  No matter who is appointed to FERC the agency will continue to rubber stamp natural gas pipelines and infrastructure projects that damage the land, air, and drinking water of communities nationwide.  In the past 30 years, FERC has sided with the fossil fuel industry repeatedly and has rejected only one pipeline.  Currently FERC only has two commissioners in place, and lacks a quorum, which prevents the agency from approving new projects.  That’s why over 150 organizations nationwide are using this moment to ask the Senate to reject any nominees to FERC, and prevent FERC’s approval of any more pipelines, until Congress holds hearings on the agency’s pro-industry bias and refusal to listen to the legitimate concerns of communities.  Congress needs to take steps to identify reforms to FERC that will result in an agency dedicated to a just transition to clean energy sources like solar and wind, instead of expanding our reliance on fracked natural gas.  Senator [XX – of your state] needs to take a strong stand to oppose Trump’s nominees for commissioner and serve the people of our state and country by pushing for reforms of FERC now.

FULL NAME
ADDRESS
CONTACT EMAIL
CONTACT PHONE

(Newspapers will need to contact you to ensure that you actually wrote the LTE and approve of publication.  They may also want to edit the piece and run edits by you)

FERC Chairman LaFleur Forced Off Stage at Duke University

Beyond Extreme Energy and the Alliance for the Protection of Our People and the Places We Live confront FERC and ACP at Duke University
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Durham, NC– Yesterday BXE (Beyond Extreme Energy) and APPPL (Alliance for the Protection of Our People and the Places We Live) combined forces at Duke University in Durham North Carolina to challenge FERC’s ongoing Rubber Stamp permitting of fracked gas infrastructure, and to let acting head FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur (pictured to the right in 3rd picture below) know that North Carolina demands the rejection of Dominion and Duke’s permitting of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

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Steven Norris, who had registered for the event, was excluded and tried to barge through security at beginning of event , and talk about FERC’s rubber stamping and the ACP. Stopped by police, he failed to get in, but this action seemed to distract security, who left the room with him.

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The absence of security enabled Lee Stewart and Emma Wyman to unfurl BXE’s iconic, Rubber Stamp Rebellion Banner (first and third photos), which has been used multiple times in DC at FERC and at FERC Commissioner’s homes. Lee’s spoke: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission does not operate independently of the gas industry it supposedly regulates. FERC has only rejected one permit application in the past thirty years. This is simply unacceptable and FERC’s rubber stamping of gas industry projects has to end.” .

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Not shown in the photos is Greg Yost, who was able to talk about the damage which the proposed ACP will do to families in NC and why we were challenging Cheryl LaFleur.  “Today is a chance to learn about the people and the communities that FERC would harm with an Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit:  people like Barbara Exum of Wilson County, Francine Stephenson of Johnston County, and Marvin Winstead of Nash County. These are just a few of the thousands of North Carolinians who would be directly affected and have their lives endangered by the pipeline.”

Click here to view a video of the action.

Shortly after the disruption began Cheryl Lafleur disappeared and the event was cancelled. She had been scheduled to speak about a transition to a low carbon future, which of course is possible only if the ACP and similar projects are rejected by FERC.

Several students and others in audience of this elite, powerful and wealthy university voiced their anger at the protesters for disrupting their opportunity to hear Cheryl LaFleur. It was later learned that LaFleur ended up meeting with several dozen students afterwards.

At the same time that Duke University invited Cheryl Lafleur, the University is considering a partnership with the country’s largest utility to build a gas fired power plant on the Duke University campus. This facility, is built will cost $55 million and be paid for by the ratepayers of North Carolina, some of whom are among the poorest people in the US and will also be impacted by and have to pay for the ACP..

In contrast with the some in the audience who were upset with the protest,  one person from Fayetteville whose home is located in the pipeline’s blast zone  commented: “Cheryl LaFleur apparently could not stand the heat, so like a child picked up her marbles and went home.”

Steve, Lee and Emma were briefly detained by Duke University police, who after some discussion, cited them for trespass. Their penalty is limited to being exiled from Duke University grounds forever.

Fund the Resistance: Stop Trump’s FERC Picks

A new scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld suggests that global warming and melting arctic permafrost could trigger a catastrophic release of trapped methane. Such a release would lead to a rapid collapse of ecosystems around the world.

One way to fight these apocalyptic trends is by taking steps to ensure that fossil fuels are kept in the ground. That’s why Beyond Extreme Energy has taken a leading role in a coalition of nearly 150 groups working to stop Trump’s nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Until Trump makes a successful appointment, FERC can’t carry out its mandated task of approving interstate fracked-gas pipelines, compressor stations, and export terminals. We’re trying to keep things that way.

To make sure our campaign to stop Trump’s FERC appointments is as strong as it needs to be, we’re turning to you. Please consider making a generous donation to help Beyond Extreme Energy carry forward our campaign to stop FERC from wrecking our communities and the climate. Click here to make a contribution.

PicsArt_03-27-10.46.03(Meme Credit: Jimmy Betts)

Over the last few months, Beyond Extreme Energy has played a leading role in building a coalition of nearly 150 groups that have pledged to fight Trump’s nominations to FERC. We held a national news conference that garnered a lot of media attention, including this piece in Bloomberg. Just last week, we helped organize two national call-in days where thousands of people called their senators demanding they reject Trump’s appointments. Our Facebook post for the call-in days was one of our most viewed and shared posts.

This campaign has gotten off to a strong start. If you support the work we’re doing and want to see it continue, click here to make a much appreciated donation now.

President Trump could put forward his nominations to FERC any day now. We’re busy working with the coalition to make sure they won’t be confirmed

On April 5 and 6, we’re helping to organize another round of call-in days to pressure our senators to vote no on Trump’s appointments. We’re planning to disseminate a letter-to-the-editor template to help folks generate local media attention. Additionally, we’re preparing a series of Senate office visits and lobby days to make sure our senators hear from us in person. Finally, should the Senate confirmation hearings go forward, we’re gearing up for nonviolent civil disobedience to make sure we do everything we can to stop or delay Trump’s FERC nominations.

We can’t do all of this without your financial support. Please consider making a generous donation to Beyond Extreme Energy now by clicking here. Your donation will go a long way toward ensuring successful resistance to Trump’s appointments to FERC.

Thank you for taking the time to read about and support this important campaign.

In the struggle,

The Beyond Extreme Energy Crew

Actions@BeyondExtremeEnergy.org

Call In Days to Oppose Trump’s Nominations to FERC

Right Now, FERC Can’t Approve Any Fracked Gas Pipelines or LNG Export Facilities — Let’s Keep it That Way

Join the call-in days on March 22 and 23 when we’re asking you to make 6 calls to tell your Senators and the members of the Energy and Natural Resources committee to say no to Trump’s FERC nominations, and to call for the creation of a new agency dedicated to transitioning our energy system off fossil fuels. Find your senators’ numbers here and scroll down to get the names and numbers of three committee members to call! https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a proven rubber stamp for fracked gas pipelines. In 30 years the FERC Commissioners have only rejected one pipeline project.

Right now, FERC is operating without a Quorum – it only has 2 Commissioners, not the needed 3. Until a new FERC Commissioner is approved by the Senate, the agency cannot issue the Certificates needed to approve fracked gas pipelines, compressors or LNG exports subject to its jurisdiction.

This means communities are in a rare moment of protection.

We need Congress to keep FERC in this power vacuum until steps are taken to replace it with an agency that’s about a just transition off fossil fuels.  

Any time now, President Trump will nominate new commissioners for Senate consideration and confirmation.

Help us call on Congress to stop or delay Trump’s nominations, and to push for what we really need—a new agency dedicated to facilitating a just transition to an exploitation-free energy system based on locally controlled and distributed renewable sources.

It’s Time to Call Our Senators and Secure their Commitment to:
• Oppose Any New FERC Commissioners
• To Replace FERC with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels

We’re calling on communities across the nation to call key Senators on, March 22 & 23 and then again on April 5 & 6

Below, you will find all the resources you need to make your calls, including phone numbers, a sample script, and an optional form to tell us how your calls went.
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To find your senators’ numbers: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MA

Call Your Senators, Plus More
In addition to your senators, please call at least 4 members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which is responsible for holding hearings on Trump’s nominees to FERC.

Democrats:
Senator Maria Cantwell, Minority Ranking Member: 202 224 3441
Senator Bernie Sanders: 202 224 5141
Senator Al Franken: 202 224 5641
Senator Ron Wyden: 202 224 5244
Senator Debbie Stabenow: 202 224 4822
Senator Angus King: 202 224 5344
Senator Mazie Hirono: 202 224 6361
Senator Tammy Duckworth: 202 224 2854
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto: 202 224 3542
Senator Joe Manchin: 202 224 3954
Senator Martin Heinrich: 202 224 5521

Republicans:
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chair: 202 224 6665
Senator Rob Portman: 202 224 3353
Senator John Barrasso: 202 224 6441
Senator James Risch: 202 224 2752
Senator Mike Lee: 202 224 5444
Senator Jeff Flake: 202 224 4521
Senator Steve Daines: 202 224 2651
Senator Cory Gardner: 202 224 5941
Senator Lamar Alexander: 202 224 4944
Senator John Hoeven: 202 224 2551
Senator Bill Cassidy: 202 224 5824
Senator Luther Strange: 202 224 4124
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Sample Script

Please note that this is a template. Feel free to revise it as you’d like. The more personal you can be, and the more specific about your own concerns, the better.

When Calling Your Own Senator:

My name is (name). I’m a constituent of (name of Senator) from (your town and state). I’m calling to urge my senator to vote no on Trump’s nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC is an arm of the fossil fuel industry. It rubber stamps fossil fuel infrastructure without properly considering the health or climate damage from these permits. FERC hurts my community and the climate while promoting the fossil fuel industry.

Until you or your colleagues put forward legislation to replace FERC with an agency dedicated to facilitating a just transition to an exploitation-free energy system based on locally controlled and distributed renewable sources, you must deny FERC’s quorum by voting no on Trump’s nominations.

Please understand that I am watching (name of senator)’s vote on this. If the senator votes yes on the nominations, I will know he/she does not stand with me, my community, the people, or the planet.


When Calling a Committee Member who is not Your Senator:

My name is (name). I am a resident of the United States who is concerned about FERC’s abuses of power and law when it comes to reviewing and approving pipeline infrastructure projects and LNG export facilities.

I am calling Senator X because he/she serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee that will be holding hearings on Donald Trump’s nominations for FERC Commissioners.

FERC has a demonstrated history of abusing communities and misusing the law when it comes to reviewing and approving natural gas infrastructure projects.

I am urging Senator X to use his/her position on the Committee to oppose confirmation of any new Commissioners to FERC, until such time as Congress takes steps to replace FERC with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels. 


If you want to be able to give more detail here is a little bit more:

¬ FERC routinely uses a legal loophole that strips people of their legal right to challenge a pipeline project in court before FERC allows the company to use the power of eminent domain to take property and to actually start constructing activities for their pipelines.
¬ FERC routinely undermines states rights and legal authority when it comes to pipeline reviews.
¬ It has been documented that FERC has a revolving door between agency staff and the gas industry.
¬ FERC Commissioners are known to approve pipeline projects that benefit themselves and their family.
¬ FERC is known to use consultants in its pipeline process that are working for the very companies they are supposed to be reviewing on behalf of FERC.

If you are talking to a live person, and want to engage in some dialogue, here are some questions you could ask to find out where the Senator stands and to see if they are open to input during the nomination process regarding questions and information:

Can you tell me where the Senator stands on FERC commissioner appointments at this time? (Respond appropriately by saying thank you or by reiterating the need to vote no. The staffer may mention that Trump has not nominated anyone yet. Be sure to indicate that this isn’t only about who the nominees are. Be clear that until legislation is put forward to replace FERC, you demand that the senator vote no on all appointments, and that FERC lacking a quorum is a good thing).

Would the Senator support legislation to replace FERC with an agency dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels? (If yes, ask what the senator will do to make such legislation a reality. If no, tell the senator that you can’t support candidates who don’t stand with you, your community, or the planet, and that unless the senator shapes up, you will join the effort to vote them out.)
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Tell Us About Your Calls


It would help to know who you called – if you are willing to share this information please do so at the link below:

 

Pipeline Foes Like Hobbled FERC Just the Way it is

March 8, 2017

(https://www.rtoinsider.com/pipeline-foes-fracking-ferc-39840/)

By Michael Brooks

FERC’s loss of its quorum has members of Congress and the natural gas industry feeling anxious, but anti-fracking activists said Wednesday they will oppose any nominations to the commission in order to keep it paralyzed.

Ted Glick, a founder of Beyond Extreme Energy, said his group and more than 130 others were inspired to act when Chairman Norman Bay resigned Feb. 3 after President Trump named Cheryl LaFleur acting chair. Bay’s departure left the commission with only two members, one short of the minimum needed to approve natural gas pipeline projects.

The commission approved seven natural gas pipelines worth 7 Bcfd before Bay left this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The commission approved 17.6 Bcfd of capacity last year.

Besides lobbying senators to vote against nominees, the activists’ efforts will include nonviolent civil disobedience, which his group has used to disrupt the commission’s open meetings, Glick said during a news teleconference. (See Meet the People Making Life for FERC a Little More Difficult this Week.)

In a March 2016 protest outside FERC headquarters, Beyond Extreme Energy and other activists ate pancakes with the last syrup from Megan Holleran’s maple trees, which were cut down for a pipeline in New Milford, Pa. Holleran, “Gasland” filmmaker Josh Fox and five others were arrested.

Beyond Extreme Energy and its allies see FERC as a rogue agency that ignores communities’ input on pipeline projects and is cozy with the industry that it is supposed to regulate. Their opposition is nonpartisan, with the activists yesterday lambasting Democrats for their failure to rein the commission in.

“The appointment of one new commissioner could put that agency back in business and able to inflict incredible and irreparable harm on communities and our environment,” said Maya van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

Preventing the restoration of FERC’s quorum is virtually impossible, however. Republicans control the Senate 52-48, and Democrats can no longer filibuster the president’s nominations except for the Supreme Court.

“The best outcome right now for the communities being abused by these pipeline projects and these pipeline companies and by FERC is to prevent” a quorum, and give Congress “the breathing room” to holding hearings “investigating the abuses that are happening at the hands of FERC, identifying the needed reforms and putting in place those reforms before a quorum is restored,” van Rossum said. “We get that’s a heavy lift. We totally get that.”

Joining Glick and van Rossum on the call was Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Green America; Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Gasland;” and Maggie Henry, a former organic farmer.

“It’s not just that we will oppose the FERC nominees,” Fox said. “Citizens all across this nation are gathering to build protest camps like the one at Dakota Access, and you will see a state of protest against fossil fuel infrastructure unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the United States of America.”

Cantwell, Dems Urge ‘Nonpartisanship’
Sen.

Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has other ideas.

She and 15 other Democrats wrote Trump on Wednesday urging him to respect the commission’s tradition of nonpartisanship, noting that less than 2% of the orders issued in 2016 included a dissenting opinion. “We hope that your nominees will be prepared to continue this tradition, and we intend to review them through that lens during the confirmation process,” the senators wrote.

They also said that both Republican and Democratic presidents have nominated people recommended by the Senate leader of the party that does not hold the presidency — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “We expect you will honor this long-standing practice in nominating individuals to serve on the commission,” the senators said.

 

Enviro groups move to block FERC nominees

More than 100 environmental groups are launching a quixotic campaign to shut down major decision-making at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by opposing any new nominations to the agency.

The coalition is headlined by Josh Fox, who directed the controversial anti-fracking film “Gasland.” It comprises Green America, Delaware Riverkeeper, Food and Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and other national and regional groups, as well as numerous state and local groups that campaign around air, water and pipeline issues, according to a press release.

“Currently, only two out of five commissioner positions are filled at FERC, which means the administration would greatly impact FERC’s direction with new appointments,” activists said in a press release distributed by Max Karlin, a spokesman for Green America. The groups plan to hold a call tomorrow detailing their campaign that aims to “push against any new FERC commissioners and highlight the concerns with FERC’s regulatory oversight.”

FERC’s five-seat panel of commissioners is down to just two members since the resignation last month of Norman Bay. His departure left the group without the quorum needed to issue approvals for major pipelines and other infrastructure (Energywire, Feb. 6). Certain lower-level decision-making authority has been delegated to FERC staff in an effort to keep as much of the agency’s work as possible on track.

Natural gas industry groups and infrastructure companies, as well as members of Congress and other industry stakeholders, have been pushing the Trump administration to nominate and win approval of at least one new commissioner as soon as possible to get the commission back to work. But many acknowledge that identifying new leaders for the wonky regulatory agency may be low on the priority list for a White House that is pushing several higher-profile policy proposals.

The coalition of environmental groups opposing any new FERC appointment is an unlikely foe of the influential energy industry. Last week, a Huffington Post story suggested the administration may be looking for ways to sidestep legal requirements for partisan balance on FERC and similar commissions, aiming to stack them with leaders sympathetic to the administration’s goals.

Twitter: @JennyMandel1 Email: jmandel@eenews.net

Support BXE’s FERC Vacancies Work

Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to delay all interstate fracked gas pipelines being proposed for the United States. As renewable energy grows stronger and communities rise up to oppose fossil fuels, any delay we can cause to fracked-gas infrastructure buildout is a major victory. We can’t take full advantage of  this opportunity without your support, however. As we build coalitions and partnerships, and prepare for action, please consider making a $50 donation to Beyond Extreme Energy today by clicking here.

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(Meme Credit: Jimmy Betts)

What exactly is this unprecedented opportunity? A few weeks ago, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)  Chairman Norman Bay resigned from his post, leaving the agency with only two commissioners. Without a  quorum of three commissioners, the panel can’t issue permits for  fracked-gas infrastructure. The two remaining commissioners can do little until President Trump  appoints a replacement. That’s where we come in. A donation of $50 or more will go a long way toward ensuring that we’re able to effectively mobilize to delay Trump’s appointments to FERC. Click here to make a donation now.

Over the last few weeks, Beyond Extreme Energy and our allies have worked to build a coalition of more than 100 organizations that have pledged to oppose Trump’s nominations to FERC. Going forward, we will continue to build this coalition and collaborate with its members to fight Trump’s nominations using a variety of creative strategies and tactics. Please click here to make a much appreciated donation to help fuel our continuing work.

In addition to working with our allies to pressure senators to question and oppose Trump’s FERC nominations, we will help plan, coordinate, and execute actions across the country to both expose FERC as an arm of the fossil fuel industry, and to convince our senators to question and oppose Trump’s nominees. These actions could range from rallies and press conferences to speak-outs and nonviolent civil disobedience. They might take place at senators’ state offices, their DC offices, and even the Senate confirmation hearings for the nominees.  To make all of this happen, of course, we really do need your financial support. Anything you can give, however big or small, would help make this effort a success. Please click here if you are able to contribute.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Your support is much appreciated.

Sincerely,

The Beyond Extreme Energy Crew   

Letters from Congress Urging Trump to Restore FERC Commissioner Quorum Draws Swift Rebuke from 136 Organizations Representing Communities Nationwide

For Immediate Release

March 1, 2017

Contact:
Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network 215-801-3043
Ted Glick, Beyond Extreme Energy, 973-460-1458
Paul Gierofsky, The Coalition to ReRoute Nexus, 216-469-5206

Responding to two letters sent by members of Congress urging President Donald Trump to prioritize nominating candidates for vacant Commissioner seats at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to restore the necessary voting quorum, 136 organizations representing communities in all 50 states sent a strong letter of rebuke to the Congressional signers of the letters.

The two letters, dated February 22, 2017, were signed by a group of 14 House Democrats on one and 92 additional members of Congress on the other. The letters urged Mr. Trump to put forth the nominations in order to restore the FERC Commissioner quorum necessary to take formal action on energy issues. In addition to urging swift action by the President, on one of the letters the Congressional members promised “to do our part”, suggesting that they would likewise take swift action to approve nominees put forth by the President.

According to the letter of opposition signed by the 136 environmental and community organizations, reestablishing a quorum at FERC would re-open the floodgates for FERC approval of natural gas infrastructure and pipeline projects. The letter (attached) reads in part:

[W]e were deeply disturbed by your February 22, 2017 letter …. Rather than advocating for the installation of new FERC Commissioners, you should be doing all you can to forestall the nomination and approval process ….

Communities across the nation are being harmed by the indiscriminate, ill-informed and misguided approvals rolling out of FERC for natural gas infrastructure projects. …

Until Congress has investigated the abuses of power and law by FERC, including the biased and self-serving decisionmaking advanced by its Commissioners and staff, and put in place needed reforms you should oppose restoration of a quorum of FERC Commissioners ….

“FERC is a biased and abusive agency that is the epitome of a rubber stamp when it comes to pipeline infrastructure projects,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “With this letter, House Democrats are showing that they would rather stand with the pipeline industry than protect the people they were elected to serve. We represent communities across the nation that are being hurt for a fossil fuel industry that needs to be retired, not reinvigorated with more pipelines,” van Rossum added.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress should get serious about taking action to protect the American people and our overheated planet. That means an investigation into FERC’s abusive approach toward communities facing new gas pipelines and other gas infrastructure, followed by action. We don’t need a FERC which rubber stamps new fossil fuel infrastructure; we need an agency that leads the urgently-needed shift from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” said Ted Glick, representative of Beyond Extreme Energy.

“FERC is a rogue agency that does nothing but push pipelines for the gas industry and they are out of control. FERC works for the gas companies and not the people of the United States. It’s outrageous that the Democratic Congressmen want to empower FERC by allowing them to begin rubberstamping dangerous and devastating pipelines all over again. They’re siding with Donald Trump and Big Gas companies over the people of the United States. All they’re doing is enabling FERC to risk our water supply with fracking, destroy open spice with pipelines, and add to climate change impacts. These Congressmen need to stand up for the people of the US, and for the environment, by opposing any nominations to FERC,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“Many aspects of the process used by FERC to approve infrastructure projects violates our Constitutional rights. This process needs to be reviewed by Congress and reforms put in place before a new Commissioner is confirmed,” said Paul Gierofsky with The Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CoRN).

“From the ancient origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in regions of the Middle East where water was scarce and wellsprings were sacred, to the struggle at Standing Rock in our own generation- religious and spiritual wisdom has said again and again: ‘Water is Life!’. Yet today FERC has been encouraging the proliferation of pipelines bearing dangerous gases and oils that threaten the purity of our water and air and the health of all who live nearby, and through the process of C02 and methane emissions have been worsening the climate crisis and its dangers to human communities and other life-forms throughout our planet. So The Shalom Center joins many other groups deeply rooted in our religious, spiritual and ethical traditions to urge that FERC’s operations be held in suspension and its empty seats left unfilled while its policies and its connections to the companies it regulates are investigated,” said Rabbi Arthur Waskow from The Shalom Center.

In addition to the regional and national organizations signed on to the letter, there are environmental and community groups representing communities in: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Washington DC.

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