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Pope Arrives, Hunger Strike Grows Against Oil & Gas

Hunger Strike at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission demanding No New Permits on Day 15

On the day the Pope arrived in Washington, DC, Beyond Extreme Energy entered the 15th day of their water-only fast, outside of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters, 888 1st St. NE, D.C. The fast, which began on September 8th, is calling on FERC to issue no new permits for oil and gas infrastructure.  Many of the fasters were inspired by Pope Francis’s call to address climate change.

The fast is growing as two women travelled across the country to join Beyond Extreme Energy’s 18-day fast at FERC). Their communities have been directly harmed by the permits FERC has issued or has pending regarding fracked gas The call for No New Permits is in line with Pope Francis’s call in his recent encyclical for the world’s leaders to immediately address the already devastating impacts of climate change – fueled by the burning of fossil fuels – especially on the poor who have contributed the least to the problem.

Pramilla Malick is the mother of four and a resident of Minisink, New York, where Millenium Pipeline, owned by parent company NiSource, built a compressor station. She says that FERC approved it over the concerns of residents about methane and other toxic emissions, and the risk of catastrophic explosion.

“FERC enables the egregious excesses of a predatory industry that destroys communities such as mine, where many of my neighbors have been forced to flee because of this FERC permit. Our stories, however, of being fracked-by-FERC forewarn of even deeper looming crises; a climate crisis, democracy crisis, and human crisis all in one. We need bold action by multitudes to change course, so that my children, your children, and all our children are not robbed of their right to a future.”

Francis Eatherington flew to Washington, D.C. from Oregon to join the fast. “I am here to help FERC understand that the Jordan Cove LNG Export Project on the Oregon coast and the 230-mile long Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline are reckless investments,” she says, “violating the laws of nature — the former being sited in an earthquake zone, the latter through forests prone to frequent forest fires. In fact, a forest fire is currently raging over part of the proposed route. It would also violate private property rights, as FERC is getting ready to issue a foreign company (Veresen, from Canada) the right to condemn the land of over 300 Oregonians to build the pipeline. And I’m one of those landowners. FERC will force me to host infrastructure that will lock us into using global warming fuels for at least the next 30 years.”

BXE will end the fast at noon on Friday, September 25, with a ceremony that will include music, brief statements, and a procession to honor the Planet and the People featuring BXE’s colorful and moving 50-foot anti-fracking banner, “The United Sates of Fracking,” around the FERC headquarters block. Five clergy members representing different faiths will present copies of the Pope’s encyclical to the five FERC commissioners.

Beyond Extreme Energy is an activist network of organizations and individuals that came together in 2014 to raise public awareness of the disastrous impacts of fracking, fracking infrastructure, proposed gas exports and other extreme energy extraction practices; to take direct action to stop them; and to promote an energy present and future of renewables and efficiency.

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