Three activists with Beyond Extreme Energy disrupted today’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nominations of the final two members to join Trump’s FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Committee). One was a 25-year veteran of the agency.
When Chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski asked the nominees – Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre – to stand, Andrew Hinz also stood and shouted, “Have a conscience! FERC is destroying the atmosphere!” In a prepared statement, he wrote, “Because I spent 25 years working at FERC, I am compelled to speak out. It is abundantly clear now that natural gas is not a safe bridge fuel. We must divert any proposed investment in fossil fuel infrastructure not required for safety to a rapid transition to sustainable energy. FERC is broken and in dire need of a reset. It must take into account solid, overwhelming evidence of climate impacts and, instead of permitting fossil fuel expansion projects, it must support and aggressively promote incorporation of sustainable energy into our grid. Until FERC is reset, we are witnessing an undemocratic, non-representative process that is merely an extension of the fossil fuel industry and is destroying our atmosphere and poisoning our water. My message to our legislators: find your conscience before it is too late – while there is still time to keep our planet habitable.”
Ted Glick, who was arrested at a similar hearing for Trump’s first two nominees to FERC, stood and repeatedly asked Congress to investigate FERC. The agency’s abuses of law and power have been exhaustively documented by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, which hosted a speak-out at the National Press Club last year.
Glick, a New Jersey-based activist, met earlier this year with Richard Glick (no relation), whose expertise is in renewable energy. Ted Glick said, “Based on my meeting with him and what I know about him, he will have no impact at FERC. He will be run over by Trump’s three appointees, and probably [Obama appointee] Cheryl LaFleur, too. FERC is a corrupt agency and it’s a waste of a good man.”
Clarke Herbert, a retired school teacher from Alexandria, Virginia, disrupted the meeting and focused on the disruption to the lives of thousands of people due to construction of fracked gas infrastructure. In a statement, he wrote, “FERC’s process for approving pipelines violates our constitutional protections of private property. The 5thamendment not only protects us from self-incrimination [‘Taking the Fifth’], it also states, ‘No person shall be deprived of property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.’ In this country FERC allows the legal seizure of private property from landowners because the government determines there is a public need without allowing landowners to question that need or examine the studies the government relies upon. At one time pipelines were useful to carry gas to remote areas of the country to keep Grandma warm in the wintertime. Today, with deregulation, pipelines are a platform for commodity trading and the export of gas to foreign countries.”
The three men were escorted out of the hearing room and arrested.
Beyond Extreme Energy has been using creative, non-violent actions to target FERC since 2014. BXE is a leader of the FERC Vacancies Campaign, which fought for six months to get Congress to investigate FERC before approving nominees who would restore the agency’s quorum. The Senate approved Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson in August, restoring the quorum. The agency’s first meeting since February is set for Sept. 20.