Enviros Disrupt Senate Energy Committee For Second Time Over Trump Nominees

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By John Zangas for DC Media Group – A group of environmentalists disrupted the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as it attempted to vote on two key Trump nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It was the second time in two weeks the Senate Committee was disrupted by environmentalists. Three activists representing a coalition of 170 green groups were arrested early Tuesday after interrupting the Committee vote, delaying it for a brief time. Ted Glick and Sid Madison, environmental activists from New Jersey, and Jess Rechtschaffer, an activist from New York, were arrested and charged with incommoding and blocking an exit during a Senate hearing. Glick was also charged with resisting arrest and held overnight and will be arraigned Wednesday. Both Rechtschaffer and Madison paid a $50 post and forfeit fine and were released a short time later. By posting the fine, they admit guilt and avoid a court hearing. The Senate Energy Committee meeting ended after voting 20-3 to forward the nominees anyway. The approvals of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, who have worked as fossil energy insiders, will come to a full Senate vote.

Three Arrested Blocking Fast-Tracked FERC Commissioner Approvals

Ted Glick remains in DC jail overnight due to additional charges from the nonviolent disruptive direct action today at the #SenateENR confirmation vote for new #FERC commissioners. Please send love to Ted and follow along for updates, get involved with the resistance & abolition of rogue agencies, and please donate to the #ResistFERC campaign legal fund: http://bit.ly/VacateFERC

By Jimmy Betts for Beyond Extreme Energy. The week following Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, three individuals representing a coalition of nearly 170 groups opposing Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disrupted a committee vote to advance the candidates. Three individuals were arrested during the committee vote. They stood up and spoke out about FERC’s abusive practices and disregard for the environment. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. The coalition, made up of local and national groups focused on various issues, is demanding that senators vote no on Trump’s nominations until the Senate holds investigations into FERC’s the abuses of power and law. The campaign has been building for more than five months and has included call-in’s, letter-writing drives, Twitter storms, lobby days, and civil resistance focused on educating senators and pressuring them to oppose the nominations.

Environmentalists Disrupt Senate Energy Committee Hearing Over Trump Nominations

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By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Strickler spoke from her home in Virginia Thursday evening. “The fossil fuel industry has a stranglehold on the Senate with the money it gives to control the political process,” she said. Strickler is concerned that energy policy cannot begin to change toward renewable options as promised in the Paris Climate accords, while FERC and the fossil fuel industry lobby controls Congress.Four of the protesters were arrested, while one was detained. Strickler was the only one released from custody Thursday afternoon after paying a $50 post-and-forfeit fine. The others were held over night. Ellen Barfield from Baltimore and Randy Fenstermacher from Massachusetts were also arrested. All four were initially charged with disrupting a Senate hearing. But at their arraignment on Friday, the charges were dropped for all but Lee Stewart. Stewart was also charged with destruction of government property, involving his attachment to the chair. His court date is set for June 26. BXE has been battling FERC over its approval of virtually every fossil project put before it by the gas industry. As a result, BXE activists have nicknamed FERC the “rubber stamp agency.”

Beyond Extreme Energy Disrupts Senate Hearing For FERC Commissioner

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By Jimmy Betts for Beyond Extreme Energy. WASHINGTON, DC – Once accustomed to operating in the shadows, controversy around the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and its role in the permitting of harmful and unnecessary fracked gas infrastructure was thrown into the limelight on Thursday morning when five people disrupted the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominations to the Commission, causing delay while speakers tried to proceed. After the hearing was called to order, and introductions occurred, protesters methodically, yet unpredictably, loudly exclaimed “FERC hurts families, Shut FERC down!” and “FERC hurts families, FERC hurt towns” and “The future is watching”. One protester said “I am compelled to interrupt this because I have seen the damage of climate change”. The protesters were ejected, four arrested and one detained.

Residents Demand Dominion Stop Treating Them As A Sacrifice Zone

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By Donny Williams for We Are Cove Point. “I don’t know a lot about the existing permit.” Those words shocked the crowd gathered last night for Maryland Department of the Environment’s “informational meeting” regarding Dominion’s permit to dump an average of 45,000 gallons every day into the wetlands around Cove Point. Spoken by Marjorie Mewbourn, MDE’s project manager overseeing this permit application, this sentence summed up a lot about the amount of information our state regulators had or were able to share. MDE seemed nervous as it tried to give a presentation about this permit to a crowd of about 60, which overflowed the “Dominion Cove Point LNG” meeting room where it was held in the Prince Frederick library and had people sitting on tables or wherever they could find space. However, residents didn’t let MDE get very far.

Trump Nominates New FERC Commissioners

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Washington, DC – The Hill reports that the Trump administration announced on Monday its two Republican nominees, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, f0r the vacant seats in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). If confirmed, the FERC would once again have a quorum and would be able to resume rubber stamping its backlog of fossil fuel project permits. A coalition of around 160 local, state, regional and national organizations is calling upon the Senate to reject both nominations announced yesterday by President Donald Trump to be Commissioners of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “FERC has been abusing communities for decades, abusing their power and authority in ways that undermines the rights of both people and the states. While biased FERC Commissioners with industry ties is nothing new, Donald Trump’s picks, if confirmed by the Senate, would take us to a whole new and dangerous level of conflict and bias.

Pipeline Protest Serves Half Ton Of Sweet Potatoes

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By Anne Meador of DC Media Group. What could be better for breakfast than sweet potato pie? Employees of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission got a free piece of sweet potato pie on their way to work this morning when a group of activists tried to make a point about a pipeline’s potential impact on the North Carolina sweet potato crop. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a project of Dominion Transmission and Duke Energy, is currently under review by FERC. The activists say the ACP, which would traverse 550 miles from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina, would, among other things, harm agricultural producers, such as sweet potato farmers in eastern North Carolina.

Sweet Potatoes, Not Pipelines

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By Lee Stewart for Beyond Extreme Energy. On the day before the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice, Beyond Extreme Energy is taking close to half a ton of sweet potatoes to the headquarters of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 1st St NW in DC. We will be speaking out about our passionate opposition to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and all new proposed fossil fuel infrastructure. FERC is a rubber-stamp agency for the gas industry! We will be distributing these sweet potatoes in small bags free to FERC employees and passers-by, with a leaflet explaining why we are taking action at FERC. Sweet potatoes are grown in eastern North Carolina, site of Duke Energy and Dominion Resources’ proposed ACP, which would run 550 miles through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Frackers Nearly Destroyed Me, Join Me In Fighting Back

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By Maggie Henry for Beyond Extreme Energy. Fracking has destroyed my business and laid to waste everything my husband and I have worked our entire lives to build, our children’s inheritances, keep the farm going yet another generation? All destroyed! In the fall of 2014 I traveled to DC to take part in a week-long nonviolent blockade of FERC. I was one of about 80 people arrested that week, and I’ve continued to be active ever since. BXE has been a lifeline for me. Being associated with like-minded individuals around direct action nonviolent protest is just incredible! The support is emotionally healing in a way I find difficult to describe. I’m planning to be in DC again in a couple of weeks to take part in BXE’s April 26-29 convergence and actions.

FERC and LaFleur Confronted At Duke University Over Pipelines

FERC protest, BXE at Duke University on March 28, 2017, Cheryl LaFleur at right

By Steve Norris for Beyond Extreme Energy. Beyond Extreme Energy and the Alliance for the Protection of Our People and the Places We Live combined forces at Duke University in Durham North Carolina to challenge FERC’s ongoing Rubber Stamp permitting of fracked gas infrastructure, and to let acting head FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur (above photo on far right) know that North Carolina demands the rejection of Dominion and Duke’s permitting of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In contrast with the some in the audience who were upset with the protest, one person from Fayetteville whose home is located in the pipeline’s blast zone commented: “Cheryl LaFleur apparently could not stand the heat, so like a child picked up her marbles and went home.” Steve, Lee and Emma were briefly detained by Duke University police, who after some discussion, cited them for trespass. Their penalty is limited to being exiled from Duke University grounds forever.

Lorne Stockman: FERC Alternative Climate Facts Exposed

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By Staff of Oil Change International – Feb. 20, 2017 – Long before Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway took the phrase ‘alternative facts’ mainstream, a rogue federal agency with authority to ram giant gas pipelines through people’s property against their will has for years pioneered the Trumpian version of reality when assessing the climate impact of natural gas infrastructure. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an “independent” agency that regulates the interstate transmission of gas and electricity, has permitted nearly 200 interstate gas pipeline projects stretching over 6,000 miles since 2009, and rejected only a single application. For each of these permitted projects an environmental impact statement was conducted.

Action Called For On FERC’s Rubber Stamping Of Pipelines

"We will fight back through through the courts, protests, and any means available and necessary," says Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/flickr/cc)

By Stephanie Roker for World Pipelines – Over 130 organisations across the country recently announced that they will oppose nominees made by the Trump Administration to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The move reflects the growing resistance nationwide from residents, farmers, business owners, physicians and environmentalists to FERC’s practice of recklessly permitting pipelines that put hundreds of communities and the drinking water of millions of Americans at risk, in addition to the global climate. The 135 groups range from dozens of local community organisations and activists to national nonprofit organisations (Beyond Extreme Energy, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch and Green America)…

No Business As Usual For Trump’s FERC

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By Beyond Extreme Energy. Over 130 organizations across the country announced today that they will oppose nominees made by the Trump Administration to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The move reflects the growing resistance nationwide from residents, farmers, business owners, physicians, and environmentalists to FERC’s practice of recklessly permitting pipelines that put hundreds of communities and the drinking water of millions of Americans at risk, in addition to the global climate. At a time when citizens are increasingly calling on Senators to oppose appointed officials that support the fossil fuel industry, the pledge signers, representing over a million people nationwide, pledge to work against each nominee to FERC made by the Trump Administration, and to call on U.S. Senators to use the nomination process to highlight FERC’s rubber stamping of pipeline projects and refusal to listen the legitimate concerns of community groups.

Congress Urges Trump To Restore FERC, Communities Say ‘No!’

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Responding to two letters sent by members of Congress urging President Donald Trump to prioritize nominating candidates for vacant Commissioner seats at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to restore the necessary voting quorum, 136 organizations representing communities in all 50 states sent a strong letter of rebuke to the Congressional signers of the letters. The two letters, dated February 22, 2017, were signed by a group of 14 House Democrats on one and 92 additional members of Congress on the other. The letters urged Mr. Trump to put forth the nominations in order to restore the FERC Commissioner quorum necessary to take formal action on energy issues. In addition to urging swift action by the President, on one of the letters the Congressional members promised “to do our part”, suggesting that they would likewise take swift action to approve nominees put forth by the President.

FERC’s Private Public Comment Sessions Criticized By Media

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By Staff of Society of Environmental Journalists – Dear Chairman LaFleur and Commissioner Honorable: As a professional news media organization, we are writing to express our concern about the procedures your agency uses to gather public comment. The Society of Environmental Journalists is a 26-year-old professional organization dedicated to excellence in environmental journalism. Many of our 1,274 members are journalists who cover FERC actions, whether locally or nationally. It’s critical to our members’ reporting on FERC actions to explain factors you weigh in your decision making and the public feedback you receive. At a February 14 public comment meeting in Wilson, N.C., on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Docket Nos. CP15-554-000 and CP15-554-001), we understand that rather than following the traditional “town hall” procedure, where people who wished to comment could speak in front of others in attendance, FERC switched to what its spokesperson later described as a “listening session.”