“Protestify”

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

 

People of faith showed up at FERC’s monthly Commission Meeting on April 21 to take a stand against fracked gas pipeline permits. Natalie Pien spoke up as a Unitarian Universalist from Leesburg, VA. Much gratitude to Greg Smith for the pictures and the videos, and also for coining the great term “protestify
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“My name is Natalie Pien, a Unitarian Universalist from Leesburg, VA. Your approvals of fracked gas projects are morally, ethically, & spiritually wrong! It is against my faith. The Unitarian Universalist 7th Principle is “Respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.” Your approvals are destroying the web. NO NEW PERMITS! FERC DOESN’T WORK” –Natalie Pien
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Next, Maria Bergheim spoke up, also from the UU church in Leesburg and a member of 350 Loudoun with Natalie Pien. Following her, you hear from Rhett Engelking and David Schwartzman who spoke about the precautionary principle.
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I was nervous going in. I had an idea of what I was going to say but  something else came to mind while I was sitting in that room watching all of those employees in suits. I saw Norman Bay and felt disgusted. When they sat down at their long meeting table, I immediately wanted to say something, but I knew I had to wait. It made me ill to think they get paid money to okay natural gas pipelines.
How is this so called Energy Regulatory Commission suppose to actually regulate energy with natural gas? It’s not safe!
 I sat there quietly stewing while they started their meeting. Natalie Pien was the first to get up and speak out. I sat there a few minutes longer when it hit me. How can anyone sleep at night when they are knowingly allowing pipelines to destroy communities?  What if a pipeline went through their community and made their children sick? I’ll bet then, they would object!
I felt the need to speak out against these gas pipelines. Communities are destroyed by them.No one is safe when the pipelines leak!
I was nervous but then I was fueled by Natalie speaking out and feeling disgusted by what they do. –Maria Bergheim
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This action was initiated when Lise Van Susteren and Ted Glick from Interfaith Moral Action on Climate wrote a letter to people of faith from the DC area inviting them to inject their voices in the ongoing intervention at FERC.
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Dear Sister and Brother Climate Activists,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can you make it?

Lise Van Susteren
Ted Glick

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

Dunkin’ Democracy

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Dozens of Democracy Spring Activists Show up at FERC for Donuts, Bagels, and Coffee While Calling Out FERC for its Undemocratic Ways

Washington, DC– Since Monday, hundreds of people from all over the country have been sitting-in on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC as a part of the Democracy Spring mobilization. They’re here to call for an end to the corrupting influence of money in politics.  On the first day of the sit-ins, over 400 people were arrested and filled DC’s holding cells to capacity. It was the largest civil disobedience action at the Capitol in US history.  Every day since then, the sit-ins have continued. Democracy Spring organizers are calling on folks to get to DC. Click here if you want to find out how.

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In addition to Congress, another place where money is a democracy-killing poison is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Because FERC receives its funding from the oil and gas industries it’s supposed to regulate, it ends up operating as an arm of the industry by rubber stamping virtually every project application that crosses its desk.

To call attention to FERC’s undemocratic ways and to support the folks who are sitting in on the Capitol steps, Beyond Extreme Energy served donuts, bagels, and coffee in front of FERC on Wednesday ahead of Democracy Spring’s  direct action training that takes place every morning over the course of the mobilization.

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Elisabeth Hoffman of MD showing us the difference between FERC and the communities it hurts
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After marching from Philly with Democracy Spring, 350 MA members Shira (Williamstown) and Sue (Salem) join the Dunkin’ Democracy action at FERC. Shira’s sign refers to Article 97 of the MA Constitution which many are looking to as a way to stop companies like Kinder Morgan from taking land to build pipelines. Behind them is an image of FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable imposed on a merry-go-round animal, part of an art piece designed by Kim Fraczek to portray the revolving door between FERC and the industry it supposedly regulates

 

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Dozens of Democracy Spring activists fuel  up ahead of another day of action. While gathered at FERC, we shared stories of pipelines, compressor stations, LNG export facilities, and the FERC rubber stamp machine.

 

 

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Maren from North Carolina and Ben from the DC area helped plan the Dunkin’ Democracy breakfast and have been part of the ongoing Democracy Spring sit-ins. It’s clear that all of our issues are connected. Money out of politics, and an end to fracking and fracked gas infrastructure!
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Lining the sidewalks at FERC, we sing, chant, and share stories of our different but interrelated struggles.

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Beyond Extreme Energy is getting ready for a Rubber Stamp Rebellion in May! Click here to learn more and sign up. The drums of the rebellion are starting to sound.

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Beyond Extreme Energy is currently raising money to fund the Rubber Stamp Rebellion. Please click here if you can make a much appreciated financial contribution.

Press Advisory: BXE Action at FERC with Award-Winning Filmmaker Josh Fox

On Thursday March 24 at noon, Josh Fox, Bethany Yarrow, Karenna Gore, and Tim DeChristopher, together with Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), and families, concerned citizens and landowners, will cook and serve pancakes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to protest its role in wrecking the Holleran family maple farm in New Milford PA. FERC’s pipeline permit gave the Constitution Pipeline Company and its chainsaw team – flanked by heavily-armed federal marshals – the supposed “right” to clear-cut Hollerans’ the maple tree stand on the family farm, in the middle of the maple sugaring season, despite the pipeline not having all the necessary permits from state agencies.

The pancakes will be cooked using solar power, and served with maple syrup – to honor the Hollerans and their farm – to FERC employees and passersby.

The protest will confront FERC for their reckless and dangerous behavior that helped Constitution seize property by eminent domain and prematurely cut the Hollerans’ trees. BXE will also demand that FERC stop issuing permits for the new pipelines and other projects supporting the expansion of the fracked gas industry, which is ruining our neighborhoods and countryside , threatening the health and safety of all of us, and adding to the climate crisis.

The action will be made into a video by award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox. He is on tour with his new film “How to Let Go of the World: and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change.” To learn more about the film and Josh’s tour, visit www.howtoletgomovie.com.

Who: Josh Fox, award-winning documentary film-maker (GASLAND)
Bethany Yarrow, singer-songwriter
Karenna Gore, Director of Center for Earth Ethics
Tim DeChristopher, environmental activist, co-founder, Climate Disobedience Center
and other guests
Beyond Extreme Energy

What: Pancakes cooked with solar power, and served with maple syrup – to honor the Hollerans and their maple tree farm – to FERC employees and passersby

When 12 noon until approximately 2 PM

Where: 888 First Street NE, Washington DC

Press Contact: Lee Stewart (703)-999-2634

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

 

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

 


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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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Cari Gardner. Photo credit: Erik McGregor

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

 

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Jessica Roff. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

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

 

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

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Kevin O’Keefe. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

 

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

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

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

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

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Ellen Weininger. Photo Credit: Erik McGregor

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

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

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

ResistAIM Confronts FERC Commissioners for ignoring Governor Cuomo’s request to halt construction on Spectra’s AIM Pipeline.

Construction on Spectra’s new AIM Pipeline continues despite Governor Cuomo’s request to FERC to immediately halt construction while state conducts an independent risk assessment of pipeline construction next to accident-prone Indian Point Nuclear Plant.

ResistAIM Press Release
By Jess Roff
Contact: Courtney Williams, (609) 468-7080, resistAIM@gmail.com
Pictures by Erik McGregor
Video by Kim Fraczek

New Yorkers confront FERC to halt AIM Pipeline

 

Washington, DC 03-17-16 -​ Today at 11:05 AM, ResistAIM Pipeline, a group of concerned New York State (NYS) residents, led by Nancy Vann – a Peekskill landowner whose property was taken by Spectra for pipeline construction – stood up in the monthly public meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ask the commissioners why they have ignored NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s urgent request to immediately halt construction on Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. Governor Cuomo directed four NYS agencies to conduct an independent safety assessment of the AIM Pipeline and its proximity to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The Governor told the New York Times, “​The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government when making any decision​.”

In a further display of their disregard for public safety, FERC’s security assaulted the first speaker, Nancy Vann, forcefully removing her, and knocking her to the ground when she demanded access to the cane she needs to walk. The entire commission watched blithely during this assault and then as each of the next 12 New Yorkers was removed when they stood to ask FERC to listen to Governor Cuomo, halt construction of the AIM Pipeline, and protect more than 20 million people.

 

O​fficials recently discovered an exponential increase in radioactive tritium leaking into the groundwater from Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. This leak follows six other recent safety and security breaches at the plant including several emergency shut downs over an eight month period.

The administration is urging FERC to suspend their approval of Spectra’s AIM Pipeline pending the results of the analysis, a move that could halt completion of the controversial project.

FERC’s response when reached by the press was “We will not comment on that letter.”

Spectra’s new high-pressure, 42-inch diameter pipeline would run within 105 feet of criticalsafetyinfrastructureatIndianPoint.InMayof2015,aSpectraEnergyp​ ipeline ruptured underneath the Arkansas River​;​ Spectra​ was unaware of it until the Coast Guard informed them of the rupture.

“FERC is inviting disaster by choosing to ignore the vehement warnings by scores of pipeline and nuclear safety experts, health professionals and local, state, and federal officials regarding the clear and present danger posed by the siting and construction of Spectra’s high pressure AIM gas pipeline,” says Ellen Weininger, a co-founder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE). “NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo just directed four state agencies to conduct an independent safety analysis and called for FERC to halt construction and withdraw its permit. FERC continues to abdicate its responsibility while the health and safety of more than 20 million people who live and work within a 50 mile radius as well as the financial center of the world, hang in the balance. Without further delay, FERC must halt the AIM pipeline construction and rescind its approval of the project.”

The pipeline is being built against the wishes of the local communities from Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam, which have all passed resolutions opposing it. In some areas Spectra Energy has used eminent domain to seize property for construction against the will of landowners and homeowners. This has outraged residents and environmental and public safety advocates who point to​ ​Spectra’s abysmal safety record​ as proof that the company cannot be trusted to construct a pipeline safely. “FERC should stop pursuing this unconstitutional process of allowing the AIM pipeline to proceed and land to be taken prior to the completion of Governor Cuomo’s risk assessment,” said Nancy Vann, a Resist AIM member and president of Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG).

“FERC must be made to see that it is operating in opposition to the public need and to public opinion. The idea that we need increased capacity for fracked gas, more particularly, gas destined for China and other countries, is abhorrent to me,” said Donald Gardner, a Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester resident, “It is crucial for FERC to confront and ultimately answer the question: why extend infrastructure and a delivery system for a deadly, ultimately finite source of power, which poisons the water and air, endangers the population, is being built by the Indian Point nuclear facility, and sits atop two earthquake fault lines? What could possibly go wrong? We must start our real transition to safe and renewable fuel sources, now.”

This regulatory failure demonstrates that the agencies involved – FERC and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – are unwilling to consider the full impacts of this project. Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Eliot Engel wrote to FERC and the NRC saying, “…As elected representatives of residents in the Hudson Valley, we believe FERC and NRC’s primary responsibility should be to protect the health and safety of the 20 million people who live within the 50 mile radius of [Indian Point]. Despite the widespread calls for an independent risk assessment, FERC and NRC have disputed the need and instead relied on Spectra and Entergy’s calculations…we call on FERC and NRC to require Spectra and Entergy to fund an independent transient risk assessment for the AIM Project as soon as possible.”

As Spectra fast-tracks construction of the pipeline, municipalities and organizations from Boston to New York are preparing to take FERC to Federal Court to challenge the pipeline approval. Despite these numerous outstanding legal challenges, the ongoing New York State risk assessment, and Governor Cuomo’s request to halt construction, Federal law allows Spectra to proceed with construction, leaving impacted communities no recourse to address their concerns while faced with imminent harm from pipeline construction and operations.

In addition to its obvious safety and security risks, the AIM pipeline would increase our dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels at a time when the nations of the world are increasingly recognizing the need to move to renewable energy.

Video: ​tinyurl.com/FERC-AIM
Photos: ​http://www.pacificpressagency.com/galleries/8234/new-yorkers-confront-ferc-to-halt-aim-pipeline
Cuomo Administration letter to FERC: t​ inyurl.com/Cuomo-FERC-AIM-Letter

This is only the beginning. For more information, please visit
www.resistaim.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/resistaim/ https://twitter.com/ResistAIM

#ResistAim #StopSpectra #WeSayNo

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Dozens From Around the US Rally Against Dominion’s LNG Export Terminal at Cove Point

Dozens From Around the US Rally Against Dominion’s LNG Export Terminal at Cove Point
Sunday, March 13th
Press Release
Contact: Kelly Canavan, (301) 237-5040

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

We Are Cove Point, SEED, the Backbone Campaign and other groups from the mid-Atlantic and beyond gathered in kayaks and on land to show opposition to Dominion’s fracked gas terminal and the impacts it has on communities.

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Solomons Island, MD — In protest of the construction of Dominion’s FERC-approved liquefied natural gas export terminal, dozens of activists and community members held a rally on March 13 on the boardwalk at Solomons Island that was accompanied by a flotilla of kayaks in the Patuxent River. Among those assembled were people fighting LNG export terminals in Texas and Oregon, as well as those fighting fracked gas infrastructure throughout the mid-Atlantic. The action was organized by a coalition of groups that coalesced at the recent Cove Point Spring Break camp, including We Are Cove Point, SEED, the Backbone Campaign and many others.

People convened at Solomons Island to emphasize the importance of protecting the water and our communities. Solomons Island is the primary tourist area in Southern Maryland, and has been impacted by Dominion’s “Offsite B” construction area right at the entrance to Solomons. Dominion notoriously destroyed oyster beds in the Patuxent to construct its pier next to the Thomas Johnson Bridge, which connects Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties, and has made life more difficult for residents along Cove Point Road and elsewhere near its terminal construction in nearby Lusby.

“I came to Maryland because the courage of the people fighting Cove Point is known throughout the United States, and I wanted to lend support first-hand from the people in Oregon working against the same brutal industry,” said Ted Gleichman, a volunteer leader in national and Oregon Sierra Club chapters who has been fighting the LNG export terminal and pipeline at Jordan Cove in Coos Bay, Oregon, that was rejected this week by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We’ve been watching this situation in horror because the Cove Point project is so egregious. The fact that Dominion is willing to endanger the life and property of the surrounding community has taught those of us in other LNG frontline communities that this is being regulated by a system that is unwilling to act within the best interests of people,” added Stefanie Herweck, a resident of a community fighting multiple LNG export terminals in deep south Texas.

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Ted Gleichman and Stefanie Herweck

 

“Just because they’re not currently fracking in Western Maryland doesn’t mean the impacts of fracking don’t affect myself and those around me,” said Gabriel Echeverri, a Western Maryland farmer, botanist and activist also at the rally. “I can drive five miles north and be at a fracking well in Pennsylvania. I can drive five miles south and be at a fracking well in West Virginia. If the Cove Point LNG facility goes on line, that gas will come out of the ground and go past my home on its way to Cove Point. That, in addition to the negative effects of the Cove Point LNG facility, have boxed us in to a place where we feel the need to act — not just on behalf of our own homes, but the homes and land of those across the region who would be impacted with us.”

After recent toxic oil and coal ash spills in the region caused by Dominion, as well as lawsuits seeking non-consensual access to private property in Virginia to survey for massive pipelines, and the constant impacts of construction on southern Calvert County residents, Dominion has made countless people feel fed up. Organizers estimated 700 people participated in a “Dump Dominion” march in Richmond, Virginia, on February 20 over the issue of Dominion wanting to dump millions of gallons of coal ash-laden water per day into Virginia rivers.

Around 130 people attended Cove Point Spring Break, a camp held this past week in Southern Maryland to bring together people fighting natural gas infrastructure projects. Panels included focuses on environmental justice, Pennsylvania pipelines, Virginia and West Virginia pipelines, the Cove Point terminal, and a “Connecting the Dots” panel that featured people working to stop the gas industry on each level, from fracking to pipelines to compressor stations to exports. The Backbone Campaign came from the Puget Sound in Washington to teach “kayaktivism” tactics, and other workshops covered organizing skills, action trainings and issues-based discussions. FERC was mentioned frequently through the course of the camp.

Today’s rally was a message that people won’t stand by as their communities are overrun by corporations looking to make a profit at the expense of our health and well-being.

More information about Cove Point Spring Break can be found at http://www.covepointspringbreak.org.

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Taking Steps to a Renewable Future

Taking Steps to a Renewable Future 
Press Release
March 9, 2016

Contact Name:  Cate Woolner
Sugar Shack Alliance
Phone Number: 413 834 0112
Email: sugarshackalliance@gmail.com

EVENING EVENTS FINALIZED ACCOMPANYING TAKING STEPS TO A RENEWABLE FUTURE:

INTERGENERATIONAL WALK TO STOP PROPOSED FRACKED GAS PIPELINE March 17, 18, 19, 20,

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With just days until the walk begins in Windsor MA on March 17th, well over 130 people have signed on to walk some or all four days, with a large contingent of college students as well as walkers from outside Massachusetts and even outside New England joining the walk. There are also over 55 organizations, campuses, religious groups, environmental groups, social justice groups and individuals that have signed on as endorsers. In addition to the walk itself, Sugar Shack Alliance has organized three evening events which are open to the public and free/donations requested.

Thursday night March 17th at 7 PM, at the Congregational Church on 429 Main Street in Ashfield, Oscar Nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND) will be there to screen the local premier of his newest film,  How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change, recently premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Fox will be available for Q&A following the film.

Friday night March 18th, Sugar Shack Alliance presents the irreverent Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, “…earth loving urban activists…we compel action in those who have never been active, revive exhausted activists and devise new methods for future activism. We also put on a great show.” The show will be at 7PM at Cowell Gym in Shelburne Falls.   http://www.revbilly.com

Saturday night March 19th, from 7 to 9 PM, Rally and Celebration, St. James Episcopal Church, Greenfield, Mass. There will be a personalized message from Bill McKibben of 350.org. There is a lineup of people speaking briefly and to date include: Jimmy Betts, Beyond Extreme Energy, Attorney Cristobal Bonifaz, Ben Clark, Clarkdale Orchards, Jim Cutler, Sustainable Energy, Activist, Lisa McLoughlin, Nolumbeka Project, Carolyn Ness, Chair Deerfield Select Board, Ryan O’Donnell, Northampton City Counselor, Jed Proujansky, Northfield Select Board, Leigh Youngblood, Mount Grace Land Trust. In addition, there will be brief stories from two Hampshire College walkers as well as poetry. Musicians: Moonlight, Ben Grosscup, Court Dorsey and Dineen O’Rourke.    Stay tuned for additional surprise guests! This event concludes Day Three of the four-day “Taking Steps to a Renewal Future” walk.

In addition, Sugar Shack Alliance is sponsoring trainings in Non-Violent Direct Action in preparation for future events. Those trainings, next on April 9th in Conway MA, are also listed on the website, http://sugarshackalliance.org/non-violent-direct-action-trainings/

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WWW.SUGARSHACKALLIANCE.ORG

SUGARSHACKALLIANCE@GMAIL.ORG

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Gov. Cuomo, Deny the 401

Governor Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Seggos can stop this!

A Call To Action from People, Not Pipelines

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We have recently learned that trees are falling not only in Pennsylvania, BUT IN NEW YORK STATE TOO. 

How can this be? NYS DEC hasn’t granted Constitution Pipeline a 401 Water Quality Certificate, FERC hasn’t issued a Notice to Proceed, and NYS Attorney General Schneiderman wrote forcefully that the felling of trees would constitute the start of construction. But miles of trees along the proposed pipeline route have already been cut in New York. Are landowners trying to salvage the valuable timber they anticipate losing, even though this pipeline may never be approved?  Did “Constitution” pressure landowners to cut their trees? Did Constitution contractors do the cutting? Whatever the reason, those trees — both in Pennsylvania and in New York State — have been cut for no good reason.

As you may have already heard, Constitution Pipeline announced on Thursday that it will delay its projected “in-service” date from late 2016 to late 2017. But OUR GOAL REMAINS THE SAME — FOR CUOMO TO DENY THE 401. Here’s the timeline: Cuomo has until the end of April to deny the 401. If he doesn’t, the project will move forward. That means we have JUST 6 WEEKS TO STOP THIS PIPELINE and all the dirty infrastructure that would follow in its wake.

Look at the damage that’s already been done. Not only in Pennsylvania, where Constitution Pipeline cut down a family’s maple sugar bush and thousands of other treesbut now in New York State, too. 

 

We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the DEC Commissioner Seggos for not granting a 401 Water Quality Certificate so far.

Now they need to DENY THE 401 once and for all!

  1. CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO:877-235-6537 or 518-474-8390

     Message: 

– DENY the 401 Water Quality Certificate for Constitution Pipeline once and for all!

 

  1. CALL DEC COMMISSIONER SEGGOS: 518-402-8545

     Message: 

– DENY the 401 Water Quality Certificate for Constitution Pipeline once and for all!

  1. FOLLOW UP WITH AN EMAIL TO DEC COMMISSIONER SEGGOS

(cut and paste the message below, or write your own):

TO: basil.seggos@dec.ny.gov

CC: eric.schneiderman@ag.ny.gov

Dear Commissioner Seggos,

New York State deserves a future free of dirty fossil fuel infrastructure.

I call on you to DENY THE 401 for Constitution Pipeline and lead us to a truly renewable energy economy.

The time is now!

Sincerely,

Name:

Address:

  1. AND EMAIL THE SAME MESSAGE TO GOVERNOR CUOMO  on his contact page: www.governor.ny.gov/contact

Dear Governor Cuomo,

New York State deserves a future free of dirty fossil fuel infrastructure.

I call on you to DENY THE 401 for Constitution Pipeline and lead us to a truly renewable energy economy.

The time is now!

Sincerely,

Name:

Address:

Thirty Five Students Refuse to Leave DEQ HQ Without Answers on Coal Ash

BREAKING: Thirty Five Students Refuse to Leave DEQ HQ Without Answers on Coal Ash

Students demand answers from David Paylor on illegal dumping of coal ash wastewater before further dumping is allowed in Virginia waterways.

(Virginia Student Environmental Coalition Press Release)

Richmond, VA — Monday, March, 7: 35 activists from the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC) refuse to leave the DEQ lobby until Director of the DEQ, David Paylor, complies with their demands regarding Dominion Resources’ dumping of coal ash wastewater into the James River and Quantico Creek. This action is taking place in light of information that Dominion illegally dumped 33.7 million gallons of untreated wastewater into Quantico Creek over the past summer. The demands are as follows:

  1. That the DEQ repeals the permits issued to Dominion to begin dumping coal ash wastewater from their Bremo and Possum Point power plants.

  2. That the current permits are re-issued only after an investigation into the 2015 dumping of untreated wastewater into Quantico Creek.

  3. That the permits for coal ash wastewater release are rewritten to comply with the best available technology standards, in accordance with the Clean Water Act, and that a mechanism for independent third party monitoring is implemented.

Students from The University of Virginia, The University of Mary Washington, The College of William & Mary, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth University entered the headquarters, located at 629 E Main St, Richmond VA, at 10:00 am and presented their intentions and demands, requesting to speak with Paylor immediately. A rally is also taking place outside of the building.

“David Paylor can’t keep his story straight regarding the wastewater dumping that took place last summer. If this is because he is covering for Dominion’s illegal activities, then how can we trust him to make future decisions regarding our environmental safety? If this is not the case, then why is he failing to address the issue now?” – Sarah Kinzer, Sophomore, University of Mary Washington.

“If David Paylor cannot adequately meet the health and safety needs of Virginia residents, then he is not fulfilling his role as DEQ Director, and we are prepared to demand his resignation.”- Kendall King, VSEC Coalition Chair.

“These incidents of environmental injustice are not isolated. In Flint, Michigan, we’ve recently seen what devastating effects that water containing concentrations of heavy metals can have on communities. This national pattern of water safety violations is indicative of widespread systemic issues.”- Jong Chin, Senior, James Madison University.

“The coal ash wastewater dumping is only one example of Dominion’s tendency to value profit over the safety of Virginians. This corporation continually endangers our health and safety by burning fossil fuels and building fracked gas pipelines. This is why, as students, we fight for fossil fuel divestment while simultaneously working to prevent Dominion from further endangering our safety. We need to cut all ties with fossil fuel companies.”- Aaron Tabb, Junior, Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition (VSEC) is a statewide organization dedicated to unifying Virginia students and creating a network for education, advocacy, and action.

Background: On June 18th, 2015, the Southern Environmental Law Center contacted Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor to report that a coal ash pond at Dominion’s Possum Point Power Plant may have been illegally drained. One day later, on June 19th, Director Paylor responded that, “our best information is that no water was discharged to state waters.” On Monday, February 8th 2016, InsideNova released a story in which Dominion spokesman Dan Genest confirmed that 33.7 million gallons of untreated wastewater had been dumped into Quantico Creek last May. One day later, Department of Environmental Quality officials presenting at the Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting stated that they were aware of Dominion’s untreated discharge in May of 2015.

###

Contact: Drew Shannon, (561) 512-8843VSEcoalition@gmail.com; Ian Nakayama , (703) 795-9652
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Sign on VSEC’s letter to David Paylor demanding that the Coal Ash dumping permits are revoked.

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ResistAIM Defenders form Human Chains to Halt Hudson River Drilling for AIM Pipeline

ResistAIM Defenders form Human Chains to Halt Hudson River Drilling for AIM Pipeline
Drilling at the Verplanck site is on-ongoing for Spectra’s new AIM Pipeline
ResistAIM Press Release (Contact: Courtney Williams, 609-468-7080, resistAIM@gmail.com) 

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Buchanan, NY 02-29-16 Today at 6 AM, 26 people took action to stop the AIM pipeline from being built in Westchester and Rockland by blocking access for over an hour to Spectra Energy’s staging area for horizontal drilling under the Hudson River. Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project would involve drilling underneath the Hudson River in Verplanck, immediately south of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The new high-pressure, 42-inch diameter pipeline would run within 10 5 feet of critical infrastructure for Indian Point , and would expose local communities to toxic emissions from compressor stations along the pipeline path.
 
The group of activists and residents chose the site because it highlights the danger of the proposed pipeline, running underneath the Hudson River and adjacent to the troubled Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. In May of 2015 , Spectra Energy had a pipeline rupture underneath the Arkansas River and w as unaware of it until the Coast Guard informed them. “If Spectra cannot adequately maintain and monitor their existing pipelines, why should we believe that they can do so for this new pipeline?” asked Erik Lindberg, a Peekskill resident who works with ResistAIM.
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State Troopers assessing the situation at the construction site where residents hard locked to each other in order to stop the Spectra pipeline construction near Indian Point nuclear power plant
 
Governor Cuomo agrees. Today his administration announced that it will be conducting an independent safety assessment of the AIM Pipeline and its proximity to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The governor told the New York Times, “The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government when making any decision.” Further, the administration is asking FERC to suspend their approval of Spectra’s AIM Pipeline pending the results of the analysis, a move that could halt construction of the controversial project.
 
Courtney Williams, a spokesperson for ResistAIM said, “We strongly support the Governor’s decision to conduct this independent assessment given the ongoing public safety concerns of siting this massive pipeline adjacent to Indian Point and the repeated incidents of fires and contaminated water leaks that are happening there. We share the Governor’s concerns and hope his administration will instruct the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to reevaluate the water quality certificate in light of these ongoing problems.”
 
Susan Van Dolsen, cofounder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) was similarly muted in her response to the news, “We’re relieved and grateful that Governor Cuomo recognized that construction of the Spectra AIM pipeline at Indian Point must be halted. However, construction must be halted immediately. By directing his administration to conduct an independent risk assessment, he is fulfilling his primary obligation to protect the health and safety of his constituents and the 20 million people in the entire region. The risk assessment will prove that the siting of this pipeline in this location is unacceptable. However, until construction is actually halted and Spectra is stopped, we cannot claim victory.” 
 

The pipeline is being built against the wishes of the local communities from Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam , which have all passed resolutions opposing it. In some areas Spectra Energy has used eminent domain to seize property for construction against the will of landowners and homeowners. This has outraged residents and environmental and public safety advocates who point to Spectra’s abysmal safety record as proof that the company cannot be trusted to construct a pipeline safely.

 

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Tina Bongar, of Peekskill, was one of those arrested. When asked why she was taking action she said, “I’ve written to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand many times. I’ve written to Hillary Clinton. I have done everything. I am also working at the local level, and that’s where I’m really concerned about the oversight. Spectra’s going to be blasting near our neighbors ’ homes , and they’re not doing the proper environmental assessment that they would for any other project.”

 

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Today’s action is just the latest of several organized locally by a coalition called Resist AIM, which was formed to stop the project from moving forward. The “Montrose 9” were arrested back in November of 2015 for blocking access to Spectra’s construction yard in Montrose. Their trial in Cortlandt is drawing national attention as they use the “Necessity Defense” to justify their actions to protect their health and safety and halt global climate change.
 
Nancy Vann, a Peekskill resident and President of Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG), participated in the action in Verplanck.  Speaking about her motivation Vann said, “This is something we really must do. As Bill McKibben said at Yale Law School on Saturday, ‘ we’re not in an argument anymore we’re in a fight. And even though the science is against them , the folks with the money have been winning. ’ The window of opportunity to stop this pipeline and a possible nuclear catastrophe is rapidly closing – just like the window to avoid the worst of climate change. I never want to look back and wonder if I might have fought a little harder.” 
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ResistAIM is not alone in their opposition to the AIM Pipeline. Similar groups have formed all along the route of the AIM Pipeline using direct actions to halt Spectra’s work in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
 
This groundswell of direct action resistance to the Spectra pipeline follows years of residents and local governments from New York to Massachusetts trying to stop the project through standard regulatory channels. This regulatory failure demonstrates that the agencies involved – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – are unwilling to consider the full impacts of this project. Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Congressman Elliot Engel wrote to FERC and the NRC saying, “…As elected representatives of residents in the Hudson Valley, we believe FERC and NRC’s primary responsibility should be to protect the health and safety of the 20 million people who live within the 50 mile radius of [ I ndian Point ] .  Despite the widespread calls for an independent risk assessment, FERC and NRC have disputed the need and instead relied on Spectra and Entergy’s calculations…we call on FERC and NRC to require Spectra and Entergy to fund an independent transient risk assessment for the AIM Project as soon as possible.”
 
As Spectra fast – tracks construction of the pipeline, municipalities and organizations from Boston to New York are preparing to take FERC to Federal Court to challenge the pipeline approval. Despite these numerous outstanding legal challenges, Federal law allows Spectra to proceed with construction, leaving impacted communities no recourse for having their concerns addressed while faced with imminent harm from pipeline construction and operations.
 
In addition to its obvious safety and security risks, the AIM pipeline would increase our dependence on climate-changing fossil fuels at a time when the nations of the world are increasingly recognizing the need to move to renewable energy.
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The 11 people posing after being released by police for attempting to stop the Spectra pipeline construction near Indian Point nuclear power plant this morning
 
 
Cuomo Administration letter to FERC: tinyurl.com/Cuomo-FERC-AIM-Letter
 
This is only the beginning. For more information, please visit www.resistaim.wordpress.com
 
#ResistAim #StopSpectra #WeSayNo    
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