Call Out House Dems: Help Stop FERC Nominations

untitled(Meme Credit: Kim Fraczek)

Last week, 14 Democrats in the House wrote a letter to Trump calling on him to make FERC operational again by putting forward nominees for the open commissioner spots. These representatives don’t understand FERC like we do. For some reason, they think making this rubber stamping agency operational again will be helpful. We know otherwise. Let’s speak out!

Maya van Rossum with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network has been circulating this organizational sign-on letter to send to the 14 House Democrats. Please consider having your organization sign on!

If you’re from a state represented by one of the House Democrats (MA, NY, MD, VT, CO, IL), consider giving them a call. Below, you will find phone numbers to their Washington, DC offices, as well as a sample script. Please use the organizational sign-on letter and/or your own personal knowledge/insights/stories when calling as well.

MA Representative Joseph P. Kennedy
(202-225-5931)

MA Representative William R. Keating
202-225-3111

MA Representative James P. McGovern
202-225-6101

MA Representative Michael E. Capuano
(202) 225-5111

 MA Representative Stephen F. Lynch
(202) 225-8273

MA Representative Nicki Tsongas
202-225-3411

MA Representative Seth Moulton
(202) 225-8020

MA Representative Katherine M. Clark
(202) 225-2836

MA Representative Richard E. Neal
(202) 225-5601

NY Representative Paul D. Tonko
(202) 225-5076

MD Representative John P. Sarbanes
(202) 225-4016

VT Representative Peter Welch
(202) 225-4115

CO Representative Diana DeGette
(202) 225-4431

IL Representative Bobby L. Rush
(202) 225-4372

Sample Script/Messaging

Hello, my name is _________ from ___________.

I’m calling about the letter Representative __________ signed with 13 other Democrats calling on Trump to approve new commissioners to FERC. I am disturbed by the letter.

FERC funding and staffing are heavily tied to the industry they supposedly regulate. That’s why FERC approves virtually every fracked gas infrastructure permit that crosses its desk, regardless of community opposition, negative health and environmental impacts, and devastating climate change consequences. Such undemocratic and corrupt practices put communities in the state at risk in order to serve the bottom-line of the fracked gas industry.

Without a full quorum of commissioners, FERC can’t approve devastating, unwanted, and unneeded fracked gas infrastructure. This is a good thing.

Until FERC is investigated and its abuses stopped, I demand that their quorum not be restored.

Tell the representative to publically rescind his/her support for Trump to appoint new commissioners to FERC.

 

House Democrats Ask Trump to Fill FERC’s Empty Seats

David Bradley February 23, 2017
http://www.naturalgasintel.com/articles/109517-house-democrats-ask-trump-to-fill-fercs-empty-seats

The continuing lack of a quorum at FERC, an agency key to any administration in achieving its energy platform, has more than a dozen Democratic members of Congress calling on President Trump to begin the process of filling vacancies.

“For the sake of good governance, transparency, and proper oversight, we request that you nominate a qualified individual as soon as possible to serve as a commissioner at FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission],” the lawmakers wrote to Trump in a letter dated Feb. 22. They also requested Trump fill the remaining vacant slots “to ensure the Commission is fully functioning and each filing is duly considered.”

The letter was signed by 14 Democratic House members representing districts in Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Maryland, Colorado and Vermont.

The logjam at FERC began days after Trump’s inauguration, when he named Cheryl LaFleur acting chairman and Norman Bay, who had been at the helm since April 2015 — when he replaced LaFleur in that roll — submitted his resignation effective Feb. 3.

Without a quorum, FERC can conduct routine business, but it cannot vote on important projects or rules. Trump has yet to nominate any new commissioners to fill the three vacant seats on the ostensibly five-member panel. Currently, the only commissioners are LaFleur and Colette Honorable, both Democrats. FERC can have no more than three commissioners from any one party.Industry groups have been lobbying the Trump administrationto act quickly on FERC nominations, which would have to go through the sometimes lengthy Senate confirmation process before taking their seats at the agency.

“A fully functioning and staffed Commission is critical to our economy, national security, infrastructure and energy needs as a country,” according to the House members. “For the last several years, our offices repeatedly have raised concerns, including with the previous administration, about vacancies on the Commission. The Commission staff can address many of the actions filed, but federal statutes require the Commission to issue orders only by majority vote of at least three commissioners representing a quorum.

“In FERC’s nearly forty year history, it has never faced a situation where it is unable to act due to lack of quorum. Though routine matters may be addressed at staff level, effectively, the most important actions will require at least three commissioners. Our energy sector will remain at a standstill without the Commission’s ability to act.”

On the eve of Bay’s departure, FERC issued an order delegating certain authority to its staff while it lacks a quorum. The order authorized FERC staff to act on rate filings; grant extensions of time and waiver requests; and approve uncontested settlements. But, “given the clarity of the FERC governing statutes and the uncharted territory we are currently exploring, we have significant concerns with the legal basis on which this order stands,” the lawmakers said. “A nomination and subsequent confirmation by the Senate would avoid protracted legal proceedings”

Among those rumored to be potential FERC nominees is Neil Chatterjee, a senior policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY),Travis Kavulla, a member of the Montana Public Service commission and former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Janet Sena, director of public policy and external affairs for the North American Electric Reliability Corp., and Former Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Chairman Barry Smitherman.

In addition to the three empty seats waiting to be filled, Honorable will need to have her term extended or be replaced this year, since her term expires June 30. LaFleur’s term is due to expire June 30, 2019.
FERC canceled its Feb. 16 agenda meeting and suspended subsequent monthly meetings as the agency awaits appointment of enough commissioners to achieve a quorum.

FERC Vacancies

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is down to two commissioners. With anything less than three commissioners, the agency lacks the quorum it needs to approve interstate fracked gas pipelines, compressor stations, and export terminals. If we can stop or delay Trump’s upcoming FERC appointments, we can stop or delay all fossil fuel infrastructure before the commission.

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There are two ways to get involved!

  1. Get your organization or organizations you know to sign the “Organizational Sign-On Pledge in Opposition to Trump’s FERC Appointments.” Over 110 organizations have joined the coalition so far. Click here to find the pledge.
  2. Prepare to take direct action to stop Trump’s FERC appointments! Click here and sign up to learn more about potential acts of nonviolent civil disobedience targeting senators who will be voting on FERC appointments.

FERC’s permits are a form of violence. They leave our communities and the climate deeply hurt and threatened. Anything we can do to stop or delay them is something very worth while.

Bay: Told Trump Team I’d Leave FERC if Demoted

Bay: Told Trump Team I’d Leave FERC if Demoted

Bay: Told Trump Team I’d Leave FERC if Demoted


By Michael Brooks and Rich Heidorn Jr.

WASHINGTON — Former FERC Chairman Norman Bay says he told the Trump transition team he would likely leave the commission if he was replaced as chairman.

Bay’s Feb. 3 resignation, which came after President Trump appointed Cheryl LaFleur as acting chairman, left FERC with only two commissioners, one short of the quorum needed to rule on contested cases. (See FERC OKs Pipelines, Delegation Order Before Losing Quorum.)

Speaking at the Energy Storage Association’s annual policy forum at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Bay said he was following FERC tradition that the chair leaves after he is replaced.

“The tradition at FERC, with one exception” — LaFleur — “is for a former chairman to leave,” Bay said. LaFleur remained on the commission after Bay replaced her as chairman in 2015.

Also without a quorum following the departures of their chairs are the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

But Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who also appeared at the storage forum, said he was disappointed at Bay’s departure, saying it was “effectively paralyzing the commission.”

For her part, LaFleur told an audience last week that Bay’s departure was “somewhat to our surprise and certainly to our disappointment.”

Although Trump is expected to name a Republican as chairman when he fills the three vacancies, LaFleur said she intends to serve her complete term through June 2019.

“My whole FERC tour of duty has been a little non-standard,” LaFleur said Feb. 14 during remarks at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ winter meetings. “I’ve been a commissioner, then acting chairman, then chairman, then commissioner again. But the last three weeks have been the strangest set of plot twists yet.”

One of the plot twists: LaFleur learned of her appointment on Jan. 25 via a message from the White House dated Jan. 23. It was reportedly delivered two days late because it originally was sent to FERC’s old address, which the agency  vacated for its current headquarters more than a decade ago.

She said her focus remains unchanged: reliability and grid security; transmission; and “building a clean and diverse energy mix.” Her priority as acting chair, she said, is to “keep the important work of the 1,300 people who work for the agency moving forward in a time of uncertainty and transition.”

Bay told the storage forum he promised Commissioner Colette Honorable he would be presidential “in the classic sense of the word” and not say what the commission should or should not do.

Nevertheless, he offered some advice for future commissioners. “It’s going to be very important for a future commission to retain a very important tradition at FERC, which is a tradition of bipartisanship, if not nonpartisanship, in the way that the commission addresses energy issues.”

He highlighted the high rate of unanimity in the commission’s orders. “Even when we were only down to one Republican commissioner, there were only two matters where the three Dems were on one side and the Republican commissioner was on the other,” he said. “I hardly need to say this in a ballroom in Washington, D.C., but there seems to be more partisanship than ever, and I think that when partisanship hits an independent agency … it is not a good thing for the American people.”

Asked by Burwen what he was going to do next, Bay said his “real ambition is to become a travel bum for a while.” True to his words, he left the Press Club wearing a backpack.

Love Orange County, Don’t Frack it Up!!

(A message forwarded to the BXE network by Pramilla Malick.)

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Dear Friends and Neighbors:

As we reflect on the things we love; clean air, water, our children, our homes, the food we eat; Millennium Pipeline (owned by TransCanada) seeks to place all of that and more at risk. They are trying to take advantage of the chaos at FERC (due to the sudden resignation of a commissioner), and request a Notice to Proceed, on the Valley Lateral Pipeline to serve the massive CPV Valley Power Plant, before they have ALL of their state permits, a complete violation of the law. They have asked for permission to start cutting trees by February 24th so we must respond quickly and loudly!!
 

We need you to urgently call Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman and tell them to defend our state resources and communities and object to this request. Also tell them to reject this pipeline once and for all and kill the CPV Power Plant, a project built on bribery. Object and Reject!

Tell them, Love Orange County, Don’t Frack it Up!!

Governor Cuomo now 518-474-8390

Attorney General Eric Scheniderman 212 416-8446

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos 518-402-8545

Then download our Valentines Card and mail to Governor Cuomo.

Also Please note, that we have ready made 4X6 postcards already printed that you can pick up from these locations!!
Westtown Deli
Route 284

Westtown NY

SlateHill Orchard

Slate Hill, NY

Sunflower Cafe

Goshen NY

Goshen Diner

Goshen NY

Conscious Fork
Tuscan Café
Noble Pies
Warwick NY

Trump Promises to Quickly fill Open Seats at FERC

Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter

Published: Friday, February 10, 2017
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2017/02/10/stories/1060049871

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President Trump met with several senators yesterday, including moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (right) of West Virginia, at the White House. Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.

President Trump vowed to lawmakers at the White House yesterday to staff the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which currently lacks a quorum.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia during a bipartisan meeting noted that FERC has only two members — acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Colette Honorable — not enough to make high-profile decisions, according to Manchin’s office.

Trump responded that he would get the agency up and running, said Jonathan Kott, a spokesman for Manchin.

Trump made the comment before 10 bipartisan senators at a meeting where he also committed to trying to restore full Export-Import Bank operations and expressed interest in bipartisan infrastructure legislation (E&E News PM, Feb. 9).

Sources awaiting White House nominations have said former Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman is under consideration to chair the agency.

Also rumored to be in the running for one of three open Republican seats are Neil Chatterjee, a longtime energy aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.); Patrick McCormick, senior counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; and a host of former utility regulators, lawyers and executives.

Twitter: @HMNorthey Email: hnorthey@eenews.net

URGENT ACTION: Call/Write FERC–No Rushed Permits!

Friends of Communities and the Climate

Due to the recent resignation of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Norman Bay, FERC will lose its ability to approve permits on Friday, February 3rd! There is speculation that the industry is pushing FERC to approve several pending permit applications this week, before they lose the quorum of commissioners needed to do so. These pipelines include Williams Partners’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, NEXUS Gas Transmission’s NEXUS pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover project,  and National Fuel Gas Co’s Northern Access Expansion.

Write or call Norman Bay’s staff today! Tell them not to approve these permits.

Sample message: I’m writing/calling to encourage Norman Bay and FERC to refrain from approval of pipeline permits currently before the commission, including Williams Partners’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, NEXUS Gas Transmission’s NEXUS pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Rover project,  and National Fuel Gas Co’s Northern Access Expansion. To rush these pipelines through now just to get them approved before FERC loses its quorum on Feb. 3rd would be a disappointing way for Norman Bay to end his time at FERC. Refrain from approving these pipelines. For the communities that stand to be hurt by these projects, and for the climate, do the right thing.

Contact Information for Norman Bay’s Advisors

Emma Nicholson (Advisor) 202-502-8846emma.nicholson@ferc.gov

Erica Hough (Advisor) 202-502-8251erica.hough@ferc.gov 
 
Rama Zakaria (Advisor) 202-502-6592rama.zakaria@ferc.gov
 
Tyler Stoff (Program Analyst) 202-502-8270tyler.stoff@ferc.gov

Benjamin Williams (Confidential Assistant) 202-502-8506benjamin.williams@ferc.gov

                               Spread the word!

Please forward this message to everyone you know, especially to networks you’re connected to. FERC will lose its ability to approve permits on Feb. 3rd, so we must act fast! 
 
Additionally, if you’re connected to or able to reach out to community leaders, business leaders, or local and/or state politicians, please do so. Ask them to call FERC and request that these projects not be rushed through this week. 
 

Frontline Communities Rising: Resisting FERC Under Trump

From DC Media Group

Beyond Extreme Energy Protesters Barred From FERC Public Meeting on Eve of Inauguration by John Zangas

The public was barred from a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting scheduled for 10 am Thursday. Over 30 Department of Homeland Security police met Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) at the front doors, preventing entry to what organizers are calling a sham meeting with industry insiders.

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“It’s a ‘denial of citizens rights’ and prevents the public from taking part in Energy policy proceedings,” said organizer Ted Glick, with Beyond Extreme Energy. He called on FERC to be transparent and follow their mandate to put the public interests before oil and gas industry profits.

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Over 60 persons allied with BXE had planned to attend the meeting to express opposition to an increasing number of fracking energy infrastructure projects. Pipeline and Liquid Natural Gas projects must get permit approvals from FERC in order to be built, but virtually every project submitted by the gas and oil industry is approved, say activists, making FERC a “rubber stamp” for every project the gas and oil industry submits, while failing to act on citizens’ concerns for their health, land and the impact gas projects have on the environmental.

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BXE protesters held a sit-in at the doors in response DHS police actions and then held a press conference outside.

Maggie Henry, an organic produce farmer and land owner, who traveled from Northeastern Pennsylvania to attend the meeting, said her farmland was rendered unusable from local fracking pollution and a 42-inch diameter pipeline built 20 feet from her front door. “I wanted to raise my grandchildren on my farm and market organic vegetables, but the gas company took all that away from me,” she said.

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“They’re pushing people to a point where they have to fight back. They’re radicalizing thousands of people,” said Elise Gearhart, who also traveled from Pennsylvania to the FERC meeting, only to be barred.

Gearhart’s family owns a farm and her mother was arrested three times protesting the Mariner East 2 Pipeline easement, twice on her own land. “People who would have never been activists, teachers and farmers and just regular people are being radicalized,” she said.

With every arrest her mother was released without charges. “How can you arrest someone on their own land?” she asked.

“I’m not scared of Sunoco or FERC or Trump because under these circumstances where you’re forced to fight, fear is irrelevant [and] you’re fighting for your life your water, your land, your ability to grow food,” she said.

BXE held a press conference outside FERC and vowed to return at future meetings.

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The BXE protest was one of the first of what will be many civil disobedience actions planned throughout the week. Police presence around Washington is very heavy with over 29,000 law enforcement and security on hand for the Inauguration.

You can view the full-hour long press conference hosted outside FERC by Beyond Extreme Energy here. The stories told paint a damming picture of this dreadful agency.

Patrick Robbins, a fourth generation New Yorker with Sane Energy project, spoke about the fight against Spectra’s AIM pipeline, a high pressure, 42 inch gas pipeline being built within 105 feet from the aging Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. “All pipelines really do lead to FERC,” he said to the gathered crowd. “This disgraceful agency is foreclosing on a livable planet for so many people, and as Trump rises to power, it’s clearer than ever that we are going to have to fight to preserve our voice in government. And when our voices are not being heard, as with FERC, we are going to need to dismantle these institutions and build something else. Everybody has the right to determine what kind of energy system they have where they live, and I know that we will build that system together.” Please like Resist Spectra on Facebook.

(Photo Credit: Maria Bergheim)

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Jono Droege from Lancaster County, PA spoke about the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline, a $3 million expansion project to move Marcellus Shale gas from Susquehanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania to the Cove Point export terminal in Maryland and as far south as Alabama. The pipeline would go through the Susquehanna River Valley, one of the largest bodies that drain into the Chesapeake Bay. “The river is sick”, Droege said of the Susquehanna. “Pennsylvania has a long history of coal extraction, and more recently, gas extraction. And before the coal even, other minerals. This all dates back to the time of colonization. Pennsylvania has a long history of this.” The pipeline would also go through two long-term and continuously growing mine fires. “What’s going to happen when those mine fires come together,” Droege asked. “Pennsylvania is about to get heated,” Droege concluded as he encouraged folks to join planned resistance encampments to stop Williams Partners  from moving ahead with tree cutting. Please follow the fight to stop the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline by liking Lancaster Against Pipelines on Facebook.

Elise Gerhart’s  family lives in rural Central Pennsylvania along the route of a proposed Sunoco Logistics pipeline, the Mariner East 2 pipeline. Mariner East 2 is an interstate pipeline that would start in Ohio and end in Delaware, but surprisingly,  is not FERC regulated. “Not only does FERC approve all these horrendous projects, ” Elise said at the press conference, “they do not take responsibility for all of the interstate pipelines that are planned for this country.” “I never really thought that’s how I’d introduce myself. You know, that that would be a big part of my identity–‘Hi, my name is Elise and I fight pipelines.’ It’s been a really, really strange thing for a lot of people who have these other identities, as farmers, and school teachers, and grandparents, who are now labeled as these radical people who fight pipelines. But, we’ve been given no choice. This fight was brought to our doorsteps, to our homesteads, to our farms, and the planet has been pushed to the limit, and the people have been pushed to the limit, and we really got no choice but to fight back.” Elise drew connections between the fight to stop the Mariner East 2 pipeline with the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, will be merging with Sunoco Logistics, the company behind the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Mike Badges-Canning from Butler County, PA spoke about the community of Woodlands. The water in Woodlands was found to be contaminated by fracking. Over the last  number of years, folks there have had to depend on the generosity of neighboring communities to provide them with water. 17 schools in Butler County are within one mile of fracking infrastructure like the wells responsible for water contamination in Woodlands. Mike spoke of his grandchildren who are growing up in the county, and who face the health risks that come with living close to such infrastructure. “FERC is not directly responsible for the drilling of the wells, but FERC enables communicide. FERC enables these companies to come in and destroy people and planet,” Mike said.

Maggie Henry, an organic farmer from Western Pennsylvania, said that fracking destroyed her life.  “Most days, to tell you the honest truth,” she said,  “I feel like the Job of fracking.” “When someone steals everything that you own, you become a member of a community that you’ve probably never wanted to join, but all of a sudden, the Palestinian struggle against the Israelis comes home. What we have done to the Native Americans is beyond shameful.”

(Photo Credit: Maria Bergheim)
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Ellen Barfield from Baltimore, Maryland spoke about Dominion and the lies they included in their FERC permit application. In the application, Dominion underreported the number of people living near their currently approved and under-construction export facility on the Chesapeake Bay. Ellen also pointed out how the Cove Point facility is being built within three miles of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, echoing the struggle against the AIM pipeline in New York. To follow this fight, like We Are Cove Point on Facebook.

James Root from Connecticut was at FERC for the first time, and spoke of successful struggles in his state utilizing rate-payer based strategies to fight pipeline companies. Folks in Connecticut have been successful in stopping the Access NE expansion and the NE Direct Project, he said.

Jennifer Alves from Loudoun County, Virginia spoke of a fight in Northern Virginia to stop Dominion from expanding a compressor station that would feed gas into lines connected to Cove Point. “I’m in it for the long-haul,” Jennifer said of the fight. She read a statement written by Joe Bono, a homeowner who lives very close to the compressor station. Joe wrote, in part “locating an industrial natural gas pipeline compressor station in a populated area is a mistake.  It puts the community at risk of fires; explosions; acute, high level exposure to the toxic odorant, tertiary butyl mercaptan added to odorless methane gas, during blow downs; and chronic, low level exposure to this odorant due to round the clock leakage prevalent at compressor stations.” Please like 350 Loudoun on Facebook.

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Garrett from 350 Vermont had important words for the movement against FERC as a whole. “We have to realize that these struggles, having our land taken away, our food, our water being compromised or polluted, these struggles are pretty new to us, but they are very old, very old news for communities of color, First Nations, the people who have been under the heel of government and white folks for generations, ” he said. “Speaking again as a white man who is privileged beyond belief, I want us to be aware of how we can stand with communities that are not represented here, because they are perhaps working constantly, protecting their children.”

Ellen Taylor, who was arrested at FERC for blocking the driveway into the building, spoke about the need for FERC employees as civil servants to speak out. Too much is going on in the shadows, and in the darkness. We really have to count on these public servants to do their job and bring some of this stuff out into the open,” she said.

Margaret Flowers with PopularResistance.org was a pediatrician who started her advocacy work around health care. Big Pharma, she found, gave to both major parties. “They’re two wings of the same bird,” she said. Margaret called attention to the fact that FERC won’t be good for the people under Trump, but also wasn’t good for the people under Obama. “The answer isn’t to elect another Democrat. The answer is to organize and mobilize against both major parties to focus on our issues and not tie our issues to their agenda. We have to fight, that’s the only way we’re going to win.”

After the rally at FERC, we headed over to the DNC to call out the Democratic Party for their culpability in the situation we find ourselves in today–including not being willing to stand up for a fracking ban.

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Please read the below statement written by folks who wanted to speak at the press conference at FERC, but could not make it in person.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline – NC, VA and WV

The Atlantic Coastline Pipeline route through rural North Carolina is proposed to travel through Robeson County, the most ethnically diverse rural county in the U.S. It is also the nation’s third poorest county and home to the largest population of Native Americans East of the Mississippi River. Dominion and Duke Energy propose to link three pipelines together in the heart of the indigenous community and are being allowed to use eminent domain for private gain, if need be, to take territory from families who have known no other land.   Homeowner, Robeson County, NC, Alliance for the Protection of our People and the Places We Live (APPPL).

The proposed ACP would have extremely drastic impacts on me emotionally and financially. In the event of an explosion caused by this pipeline my ancestral home would be destroyed and if I am at home at that time, I would be killed.  The ACP representatives have made paltry easement offers. This project forever devalues my property. As an environmentally aware  individual I am disgusted by the drastic environmental damage this unnecessary project would cause, merely for the sake of private corporate profits, in no way for the public good.   Marvin Winstead, Nash County, NC, Alliance for the Protection of our People and the Places We Live (APPPL).

Mountain Valley Pipeline – VA

This past May, 20 students from Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and University of Mary Washington traveled along the route of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline in a show of resistance and solidarity. Along every mile of the pipeline, we met people whose fear and anger have thus far been disregarded by FERC. Their concerns range from everything from property rights to climate change to clean drinking water, but overall the message is the same: the Mountain Valley Pipeline is unwanted by the people it will affect the most. —Madison Roberts, Virginia Tech student

Eastern Market Access Project– VA

I oppose the expansion of the Loudoun Compressor station because Dominion has failed to operate the existing compressor station in a safe manner.  Last September, the community was not notified of a “venting”/blow down.  The strong smell of the harmful chemical odorant added to the natural gas caused great alarm and over 100 calls were made to Loudoun County and Fairfax County Fire Departments as well as Police Departments.  Further, there has been a history of violations of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality permit and failure to properly notify the local fire department when there was a fire. — Natalie Pien of Leesburg, Virginia. Co-founder of 350 Loudoun

Penn East Pipeline – NJ and PA

The proposed PennEast pipeline would bring an additional one billion cubic feet per day of fracked gas to Southeast Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and result in a glut beyond current demand. It would have a devastating and lasting impact on our land, water, forests and wildlife. The NJ Division of Rate Counsel had previously called the project’s requested rate of return “unfair to consumers” and like “winning the lottery.” PennEast is facing strong criticism from federal and state regulators, as well as massive, growing public opposition.    —Patty Cronheim, Hunterdon County, NJ activist

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline — PA

We reject Williams’ plan to run a 42-inch, high-pressure pipeline through the heart of our community. At an action over the weekend, our community burned pages of FERC’s Environmental Impact Statement, which said this pipeline would have little impact. We celebrated the power of local communities to protect the land we love, the water that gives us life, and the place we call home. We celebrated our quiet conviction that NO ONE loves this land more than we do, and that’s why Williams has a fight on their hands they don’t understand. Williams’ lust for profit is no match for the love that joins us to one another and to this land we call home.”     —Malinda and Mark Clatterbuck, Lancaster Against Pipelines

Northern Access Pipeline – Western NY

Concerned citizens from the entire 97-mile proposed pipeline route have been mobilizing since the Northern Access Pipeline was first proposed in March 2015 by National Fuel and Empire Pipeline.  The new pipeline includes additional and expanded compressor stations and a new dehydration facility—infrastructure that FERC has fast-tracked in spite of the fact that the proposed pipeline would cross almost 500 water bodies. Even though NY has banned fracking, greenhouse gas emissions—in particular methane—have grown due to pipeline activity.  We are fighting to protect Niagara Falls and all of the habitat, wetlands, and communities on and around the proposed pipeline path. —David Reilly, Sierra Club

Nexus Pipeline – Ohio

Despite our repeated appeals to FERC, including personal testimonies, letter writing campaigns, legal challenges, organized protests and scientific documentation of the pollutants, carbon emissions, air and water destruction, property devaluation and dangers of building through karst terrain and along earthquake faults,  FERC ignores our well-founded complaints. Our challenges to eminent domain rights given to shippers aimed mostly for export markets are also ignored. The human health, environmental degradation and global warming impacts of the fracked gas infrastructure sanctioned by FERC will long be remembered by future generations as the shameful lack of any kind of regulatory integrity that is most needed in these times of unfettered corporate profiteering.   –Lea Harper, We Want Clean Water

New Market Project – upstate New York

Segmentation was the name of the game for Dominion’s New Market Project in New York. With a wink and a nod, FERC accepted the company’s outlandish claim that the only reason for building two new compressor stations, massively expanding a third, and modifying facilities in six different counties was to move 112,000 dekatherms. However, we know that this is not the endgame, but rather just the beginning of Dominion’s plan to pump even more fracked gas through New York. Although we meticulously identified numerous flaws in the Dominion’s application, FERC blatantly ignored our comments and rubber-stamped the project.    —Suzy Winkler, Mohawk Valley Keeper

Curiosity Kills Pipelines and Connects the Resistance

Every Sunday night, we send out our weekly events newsletter. We call it the BXEEkly–the BXE Events Weekly.  In it, we share events, action items, news stories, quotes, and pictures from our friends, allies, and accomplices across the country who are fighting the fossil fuel empire. It’s a great way to connect with others in the struggle and to share what you’re doing.  Take a look at the most recent edition and consider subscribing!

Click here to subscribe now!

If you’re not seeing the BXEEkly in your inbox on Monday morning, that means the e-mail is being filtered into a spam or promos folder.

In Solidarity,

Lee Stewart
BeyondExtremeEnergy.org

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Dear BXE family,

Probably no agency is more aligned with Trump’s energy policies than the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, aka FERC. This is the once little-known agency charged with approving interstate fracked-gas pipelines, compressor stations, and export terminals, among other responsibilities. For decades, it has acted as a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry, approving virtually all permit applications, regardless of massive public opposition, need, or threats to our health, environment, and climate.. It’s clear that Trump and FERC will go together like burgers and fries! Unless we stop FERC’s rubber stamp, this agency will continue to fulfill Donald Trump’s desire to expand the fossil fuel empire.

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That’s why we’re going to disrupt FERC’s Commission Meeting on Thursday, January 19th.

Please join us as we seek to pack the FERC Commission Meeting room and show the commissioners that we have the power to stop their rubber stamp machine! Afterwards, we will rally outside to hear the voices of those fighting on the frontlines.

Click here for more information.

In the struggle,

Lee Stewart
BeyondExtremeEnergy.org
703-999-2634

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Upcoming Events (From Friends and Allies)

  1. MONTHLY DOMINION NO PIPELINE, MOVE YOUR COAL ASH DEMO. Tuesday, Jan. 17. Virginia Beach, VA. Hampton Roads residents are seeing the impacts of climate change NOW and we’re demanding that our utility company, Dominion Power, clean up their act, their coal ash and invest in renewables NOW! Click here to learn more.
  2. COURT SOLIDARITY. Wednesday, Jan. 18. Forrest City, AR. Dec. 12th was the official appearance of Arkansas Rising, a collective of water guardians protecting the natural state against the Diamond Pipeline. Two water guardians, Frank, a grandfather, and Amber, a mother of two, locked down to stop construction that morning. Support them in court. Click here to learn more!
  3. COURT SUPPORT FOR THE #SCHUMER15. Thursday, Jan. 19. New York, NY. Back in October, 15 people were arrested blockading Schumer’s midtown office to prod him to actually do what he says he wants to do and Stop Spectra who continuously gives us lip service. Click here to learn more about court support.
  4. EVICT THE DEMOCRATS ON J19. Thursday, Jan. 19. Washington, DC. “The Democrat’s push for the TPP, for all-of-the-above energy policies when we should keep fossil fuels in the ground, mass deportations, wars and extrajudicial murders by drones, privatized health care and education and more have grown the wealth divide and fueled hatred towards Muslims and immigrants. They have lost the confidence of people and they need to go.”  Click here to learn more.
  5. 100 HOURS OF RESISTANCE: NORTHERN VIRGINIANS CONFRONTING CLIMATE. Sunday, Jan. 22. Arlington, VA. Northern Virginia is full of Institutions of climate denial, part of the international efforts to keep the oil and gas running their business as usual. This includes Donor’s Trust, the Charles Koch Foundation, and ALEC. We’re going to send a clear message to all three. Click here to learn more.

Action Items (From Friends and Allies)

  1. ATXEJ (Austin Environmental Justice Team) has created this form to map out skills, supplies, timelines, and more for continuing the fight to protect our land, air, and water from pipeline billionaire Kelcy Warren and his fossil fuel friends. Your help is needed on two fronts: 1) Participate in or support from afar the 3 new Native-led camps in West Texas. 2) Keeping pressure on Energy Transfer Partners, their CEO Kelcy Warren, and their head of Government Affairs Grant Ruckel. Click here to learn more!
  2. “Tell FERC: Reject the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.” Although FERC doesn’t work and never has, there may be some value in submitting public comment, if only to slow down their work by flooding them with material. Click here to submit a comment on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Sample language is included. All you have to do is submit.
  3. Click here to sign the “Line 5 Pledge of Resistance.” Line 5 is a 63-year-old pipeline, operated by the Canadian company Enbridge and pumps almost 23 million gallons of oil daily through some of the Great Lakes regions most sensitive ecosystems.
  4. The North Carolina Alliance to Protect Our People And The Places We Live (APPPL) is organizing a Walk along the 205 mile proposed route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in NC beginning on Saturday March 4 at the Virginia-North Carolina border in Northhampton County and ending two weeks later in Hamlet. Registration is now open. Click here to sign up, and click here to support the walk.
  5. Click here to “Like” Apache Stronghold on Facebook. The Third Annual March to Oak Flat is coming up in February. Learn more about the fight against mining on sacred land going on there.

Reading Material

  1. “Supporters, foes of Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Lancaster County gird for final decision.” Click here to read more about how a decision on this PA pipeline is impending, and what folks in Lancaster County are doing about it!
  2. “Texas Water Protector Locks Herself to Construction Equipment: Her action was in direct opposition to the Comanche Trail Pipeline, a 195-mile long natural gas pipeline in the Texas town of San Elizario.” Click here to read more.
  3. Click here to watch a video of Cherri Foytlin of Bold Louisiana speaking at a #NoBayouBridge Hearing in Baton Rouge.
  4. “Video: Prayers Over Pipelines!” Click here to watch water protectors locking to one another to support prayerful action to stop the Sabal Trail pipeline in FL.
  5. ‘Racist, Unsafe’ Texas Pipelines.” Click here to watch Cindy Spoon speak “about the hazards and hypocrisies that inspired her to join an indigenous resistance camp, known as Two Rivers Camp, in Presidio County, Texas. Spoon is among a growing number of people gathering in West Texas committed to using direct action to stop oil and gas projects such as Energy Transfer Partners’ Trans-Pecos Pipeline being run from Fort Stockton, Texas, across the Big Bend region, and to the Rio Grande, wh…ere it would cross to connect into Mexico’s growing natural gas infrastructure. ETP is the company headed by Kelcy Warren that is behind the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota being fought by the Standing Rock Sioux and allies around the world.”
  6. “Group plans encampments, protests against pipeline project.” Click here to read about plans for an encampment in PA to stop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.
  7. “Power plant battle follows [RI] Governor Raimondo to Washington D.C.” Click here to read more about a disruption Raimondo faced while speaking on a panel with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK) and Michael Bloomberg.
  8. “Senators Keep Heat on FERC, Raise New Concerns Over Conflicts of Interest in Spectra Gas Pipeline Project.” Click here to read more!
  9. Pipeline protesters have message for Cuomo.” Click here to read about those in New York rising up to stop the Northern Access fracked gas pipeline.
  10. “FERC ignores available pipeline capacity.” The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast pipeline came out last week, and it’s not surprise that FERC ignores what the Dept. of Energy said in regard to projected “needed” fracked gas infrastructure. Click here to learn more.

Picture of the Week

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This picture was taken by BXEer Elisabeth Hoffman at a Lancaster Against Pipelines event in Lancaster, PA, where Lancaster protectors burned copies of FERC’s environmental review of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

Quote of the Week

“Thousands of us are preparing to do justice if you and the government refuse to. We are training. We are gaining strength in resolve and in numbers, and we believe doing the right thing is more important than standing by and watching FERC permit the industry to destroy our livelihoods, our homes, our land, our earth, even if the industry’s actions have been deemed legal.” –Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, Martic Township resident, associate pastor and co-founder of Lancaster Against Pipelines in this article.

BXE Call Schedule

FERC Vacancies: Monday (1/16), 1pm EST
Call-in: 302-202-1108, code: 950727

Fighting White Supremacy: Monday (1/16), 4pm EST
Call-in: 302-202-1108, code: 950727

Inauguration Working Group: Tuesday (1/17), 4pm EST
Call-In: 302-202-1108, code: 950727

FERC Working Group: Tuesday (1/17), 5pm EST
Call-In: 302-202-1108, code: 950727

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(All items in this BXEEkly were shared by friends and allies and/or selected by Lee Stewart)

BXE 2016: A Year In Review

BXE And FERC

2016 was a big year for Beyond Extreme Energy. In addition to standing with those on the frontlines of the struggle against the fossil fuel empire, and supporting frontline groups through our Frontline Community Support Fund, we coordinated several major actions and campaigns to further our fight against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Among them was the Rubber Stamp Rebellion. From May 15 to 20, thanks to outreach to allies around the country, we coordinated 20 actions under the Rubber Stamp Rebellion banner and used the week as an opportunity to network and build connections across geographically separated fights. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, we made our efforts to stop FERC’s violent rubber stamp machine more personal by holding demonstrations outside the homes of the FERC commissioners. The message was clear and simple — those who wreck our safety, health, and well-being have names and addresses.

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We hope to escalate this fight in 2017.

Beyond Extreme Energy is in the serious business of fighting for our lives and livelihoods, but we like to do so in creative, engaging ways. Pancakes, Not Pipelines embodied that spirit perfectly. On March 24, to help tell the story of the Holleran family, whose maple syrup farm was seized and destroyed by a pipeline company thanks to a FERC permit, we used solar power and the last dregs of maple syrup from the Holleran farm to serve pancakes in front of FERC.

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In a similar vein, when thousands of activists poured into DC to get money out of politics as a part of the Democracy Spring campaign, we hosted an event at FERC called Dunkin’ Democracy. We supported Democracy Spring activists by serving breakfast to them, but also continued our work of exposing corruption at FERC by holding a teach-in.

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And let’s not fail to mention how, on Valentine’s Day, we worked with friends and allies to flood FERC commissioners with snail mail from the frontline communities they hurt. The artwork below is a Valentine card sent to FERC commissioners by Jenny in PA, one example among many that were sent.

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We hope to continue building on this kind of creative engagement through 2017.

Speaking of BXE’s uncompromising creativity, 2016 was the year we gained notoriety in the U.S. Senate. In June, Sen. John Barrasso (WY) stood before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and called Beyond Extreme Energy a troubling group. Beyond Extreme Energy seeks to circumvent FERC’s purposeful intransigence to the needs, wants, and rights of the people. Perhaps that’s what Barrasso found so threatening. To read more about Barrasso’s words for BXE, and to see our response, click here.

We are a necessary thorn in the side of those who stand with the fossil fuel empire when a just and rapid transition  from fossil fuels is desperately needed.  

Being a thorn is something we cultivated well in 2016. Just look at our blockade of the DNC’s national headquarters in Washington, DC. We did so ahead of the convention in Philly as a way to pressure Democratic leadership to include a fracking ban in the party platform, among other demands.

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Similarly, click here to see our guerilla radio broadcast outside FERC on the day commissioners held a hearing on the methane leak at Aliso Canyon. While FERC was trying to figure out how to reopen the facility, we were providing a platform for the truth on the sidewalk outside.

Big flashy actions are one thing, but so is persistence. 2016 was our second consecutive year disrupting every single one of FERC’s monthly Commission Meetings along with our allies across the country.

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We want to continue disrupting FERC in 2017.

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It’s hard to say what 2017 will bring, but BXE has the heart, spirit, and experience to take it head on. With the fullness of our hearts, we thank you for being a part of this community, we thank you for your consideration, and we thank you for your tireless work. May we strengthen our ties through the year ahead!

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Beyond Extreme Energy at our 2016 Retreat in Lusby, MD

Dissentralize 2016: Experiments in Radical Solidarity
A Report From BXE Field Organizer Jimmy Betts

December 29, 2016

Dear Friends,

The hours of daylight grow longer following the Winter Solstice (Dōngzhì, Saṅghamitrā, Yule) and from my past year of journeying with courageous people who are illuminating others along the way to the call of cultivating resistance with the precious time we share together, it is my hope that this message as well as my lengthy “2016 Year In Review” will help inform, inspire, and connect the people with whom I work as well as those with whom I hope to build with in the years to come.  I do not expect emulation, but welcome evolutions in direct radical solidarity practice as well as carpooling.  😉

My name is Jimmy Betts, a Community Support Organizer (CSO) with the Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) Collective (facebook).  For the past 2 years, I have been an intentionally itinerant collaborative organizer who works with front-line & impacted communities, organizations, and individuals throughout the so-called United States — often in the development of emboldened non-violent direct action strategies and tactics with people developing more effective campaigns in the areas of creative intersection between Indigenous restoration, climate, environment, energy, faith & racial justice.  In a smaller capacity , I also offer interpersonal & process facilitation, personal support for organizers who are constantly under pressure, and I have found these to be some of the most cherished experiences, not only in  knowing  the issues & the analysis of conflict, but in better envisioning what we are building & protecting and why we are together in these moments.

Since this is my first time sending you a message through our new system, I hope to be able to continue to report, share, and provide ways to support my work and especially the work of communities to whom I have the privilege of offering myself.  Where possible, I have links to individual organizations so you can learn more directly.  My greater desire is that you, your friends, and our extended circles of influence & trust may feel more prepared to participate directly in active campaigns of life-giving, self-determining water-protecting prayerful action as well as efforts to organize beyond…

I will attempt to speak of my personal experience regarding movement moments and interactions as best I can and to the extent that I can share.  I will do my best to speak from my position outside of captive NGO organizing structures and also consistently affirm that I reserve the personal humility to change my mind as my analysis changes.  If we can allow this of ourselves (to make mistakes, maintain love for oneself, and evolve with increasing grace), perhaps others will be able to admit faults and be embraced rather than be rejected based solely on a change of position, a shift from ignorance, our relationships with others, our affiliations with feuding organizations, etc.  This is part of the work and the education of ourselves at present and the preparation of our youngest generations is not a passive happening.

Some lessons I wish to affirm and share:

  • To fellow Settler Nation friends in the United States:  We are protesting on stolen land.  The roots of our collective work on the symptoms of climate & environmental devastation are inextricably still connected to Indigenous genocide, slavery, and a false understanding of ‘democracy’ of this nation.  I hope that the act of going to the camps at Standing Rock has been a gateway to realization, not a novelty.
  • Solidarity is a living expression of love, communication, consent, and sometimes ‘inconvenience’. Discomfort may be paralleled with the depth of solidarity practice, and can provide you with an entirely new approach to organizing & engaging with others.
  • The work of decolonization is not a passive practice, nor a perfect one.  It is not a short-term experiment, as the malice of colonization has been an experiment that persists over 500 years in the so-called Americas.
  • I do not want to fight, I want to fight to ‘win’.  Organizing without a long-term focus on the goals of abolition, liberation, perhaps even survival & survivance (Anishinaabe scholar Gerald Vizenor defines as Indigenous self-expression in any medium that tells a story about an active Native presence in the world now.  Survivance is more than mere survival—it is a way of life that nourishes Indigenous ways of knowing) have increasingly fallen short when dealing with the Empire, White Supremacy, Climate Chaos, etc.  What do we REALLY want?  Who is ‘we’?  “This is how we’ve always done it” and that is a philosophy requiring discernment based on our current situation.

As I continue in my understanding & work with Land Defenders & Water Protectors, I know that though the times ahead may seem daunting, I have faith in this process of decentralized (dissentralized) building across geographies, within watersheds, along pipeline project routes, between corporate power structures, beyond colonial borders, and through histories of religious & spiritual guidance.

I will be in the Gulf South and Southeastern U.S. to begin 2017 with Water Protectors fighting multiple fossil fuel pipelines, and will allow my experiences to reveal and my allies to inform the creative routes of connection moving forward.
I thank you for your diligent work and encourage you to support our work by making a donation today.

With Great Love & #NewYearRevolutions,

Jimmy Betts
Community Supported Organizer
Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE)
jimmy.betts@gmail.com

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Please click here to view Jimmy’s comprehensive
2016 Year In Review

BXE’s Community Supported Organizer (CSO) Program
A Year-End Appeal by BXE Organizer Melinda Tuhus

As we know, giving a small but recurring donation throughout the year is the best way to provide stability to struggling (OR small) grassroots organizations. BXE is no exception, and the Community Supported Organizer project is a rewarding way to do just that. By pledging monthly donations to one or both of our two paid organizers, Jimmy Betts and Lee Stewart, you will help keep our small but effective operation humming along. This is what I’ve decided to do and I’ll tell you why.

Jimmy and Lee have been with BXE from the time of our first big action at FERC, in November 2014, after they walked across the country from coast to coast as part of the Great March for Climate Action. Talk about dedication! And they’ve brought that dedication to their work with BXE, organizing literally around the clock to expose the role of FERC in the build-out of fracked gas pipelines and other infrastructure that is abusing residents of host communities and exploding our nation’s carbon budget by filling the atmosphere with climate-destroying methane.

Lee is based in D.C. and is BXE’s administrative staffer, keeping tabs on our myriad efforts to highlight FERC’s rubber stamping policies, dreaming up creative actions and building coalitions with other like-minded groups.

Jimmy is our traveling organizer, and the man never rests. Whether he’s in solidarity at Standing Rock in North Dakota, fighting the Sabal Trail pipeline in Florida, or anywhere in between, he is constantly working with frontline communities and building links with our work in D.C.

These two young people are literally fighting for their lives and for the survival of our beautiful planetary home. As an elder, I can’t really understand – no matter how hard I try – what they will be facing as they grow to be my age, but I know that I will be on the front lines with them as we fight together. I also know that as someone with significant disposable income, I am in a position to really make a difference in the functioning of an organization like BXE, which, with its focus on coalition-building and non-violent direct action, is playing an indispensable role in our resistance to fossil-fueled climate chaos.

I’m supporting Jimmy and Lee with a monthly contribution of $100 each. Please consider what you might contribute to the success of our efforts, no matter how big or small. BXE is a lean machine and every dollar will go a long way.

Thanks!

Click here to learn more about what Jimmy Betts does and to support his CSO.
Click here to learn more about what Lee Stewart does and to support his CSO.

In solidarity,
Melinda Tuhus

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