FERC Shuts Down Media & Public Participation At ‘Public’ Pipeline Meeting

Welcome, except for the media. Reporters were not allowed to interview, record or photograph in the auditorium where federal officials were accepting public comment about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  (Photo by Lisa Sorg)

By Lisa Sorg for The Progressive Pulse – Just 15 minutes after the doors opened last night, the auditorium at Forest Hills Middle School — a public school — in Wilson was beginning to fill with people. But the “public” listening session about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline wasn’t really public. And only select people could listen. Hosted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the four-hour listening session was intended to take public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the pipeline. But FERC officials prohibited the media (there were just two outlets –NCPW and the Wilson Times) from interviewing citizens, recording comments or taking photographs inside the auditorium — even with permission from the citizens themselves. Reporters were allowed to do their jobs outside of the auditorium but could not be present for the listening sessions themselves.

FERC4 Will Conduct Their Own Defense At June Trial

A sign held at an anti-Enbridge protest in Vancouver. (Photo: travis blanston/flickr/cc)

By Fossil Free Rhode Island for IR Future – , D.C.—At the status hearing today in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, three of the FERC4, Peter Nightingale of Kingston RI, Claude Guillemard of Baltimore, MD, Ellen Taylor of Washington, D.C., and Donald Weightman of Philadelphia, PA, committed to representing themselves at their criminal trial, scheduled for June 21, 2017. The FERC4 were arrested with three other activists during a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in May, 2016. The action was part of the Rubber Stamp Rebellion, a demonstration led by the activist group Beyond Extreme Energy. The FERC4 have been charged with “unlawful entry,” Attorney Mark Goldstone will advise the FERC4 and represent Ellen Taylor, who stated: “We need to show the world that FERC is on trial.”

How FERC Makes Up False Facts On Climate Change & Fracked Gas

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By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – 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. Where climate was assessed in these studies, the conclusion has always been the same – “no significant impact”.

Left With No Other Choice, Local Pipeline Opponents Must Protest

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By Mark Clatterbuck for Lancaster Online – For three years, residents of Lancaster County have demonstrated unprecedented opposition to the proposed Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Yet when Williams gas company sent a brief letter to FERC asking that a decision be made seven weeks early —for no other stated reason than the company’s own convenience — FERC eagerly obliged. The decision was so premature that the commissioners themselves had to include a 100-page addendum of issues that had yet to be resolved before permission could legally be granted. The LNP Editorial Board last week opined that “protests and arrests aren’t going to change the reality” of this situation. To the contrary, history has shown that large-scale, nonviolent civil disobedience is one of the few, and arguably most effective…

Activists Turn FERC Fake 'Public' Meetings Into People's Hearings

Atlantic Coast Pipeline protest, People's Hearing next door to fake hearing February 2017

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. FERC scheduled one-on-one isolating and dis empowering listening sessions in doubletree hotel in Fayetteville, home of Fort Bragg a huge military base. So APPPL and CWFNC and others organized public hearings next door in a Rodeway Inn. A multiracial multigenerational group of native Americans, Afro Americans, Latinos, whites, veterans, farmers, long term and recently inspired activists came together to challenge Duke and dominion’s $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline. There will be other people’s hearings on Tuesday in Wilson,NC and Wednesday in Roanoke Rapids, NC TO challenge FERCs plutocratic attempt to bully the people and ram this monster through.

The Public Is Barred From Energy Agency’s Public Meeting

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By Anne Meador of DC Media Group on Facebook. Washington, DC – 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. “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. Over 60 persons allied with BXE had planned to attend the meeting to express opposition to an increasing number of fracking energy infrastructure projects.

FERC Denies LNG Export Project, Again, In Oregon

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(Portland, OR) A massive natural gas export project aimed at the Oregon coast is on life support after the federal government ruled against it late Friday afternoon, December 9, 2016. The Jordan Cove Energy Project, a $7.6 billion terminal and pipeline plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia from Canada and the Rockies, was refused by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The first-ever rejection of federal permits for an LNG export project came in the wake of an 11-year coordinated grassroots campaign against this LNG terminal and pipeline in southern Oregon. “We’ve been fighting this project for more than a decade,” said Ted Gleichman, a political advisor to the Center for Sustainable Economy.

‘People’s Hearing’ Convened To Reform FERC

Panel of ‘judges’ hears testimony from residents opposed to FERC’s close relationship with the natural gas industry./Photo by Mark Hand

By Mark Hand for DC Media Group – Described as the first-ever “People’s Hearing” challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), more than 60 speakers presented testimony on why they believe the agency systematically fails to listen to the concerns of the general public. A panel of “judges,” fashioned similar to the monthly FERC open meetings, presided over the Dec. 2 hearing, held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Unlike the real FERC meetings, speakers did not run the risk of getting escorted out by security guards for standing up and expressing dissent with the agency’s decisions.

FERC Corruption With Spectra Energy Exposed

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By Itai Vardi for Desmog – Phil Suter, the spouse of Maggie Suter, a high-ranking official at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) who led the review for two gas pipeline projects by Spectra Energy, is a paid consultant for Spectra on a related pipeline project. Experts on ethics in government regulatory bodies told DeSmog this case raises serious red flags, amounting to what appears to be a conflict of interest.

Activists Up Ante Against ‘Pipebomb On The Hudson’

Say No to Spectra's Algonquin Pipeline Expansion

By Wendy Sol for the Indypendent. AIM is short for Algonquin Incremental Market Project, one of a number of pipelines that are being built in the Northeast to transport natural gas from fracking fields in Pennsylvania to New England and on to markets abroad. If completed by Nov. 1, as planned, AIM will carry approximately 342 million cubic feet of gas to Boston and other ports in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Spectra is also increasing capacity by more than a third on an existing pipeline that runs within about 100 feet of generators at the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant on the Hudson in Westchester County, about 35 miles north of Midtown Manhattan.With Spectra intending to have AIM ready by the beginning of November, groups that have opposed the project since it was first proposed to federal regulators in 2014 worry they are running out of time to halt the pipeline and are escalating their activism.

How Congress Makes Regular Taxpayers Pay Oil Pipeline Fat Cats

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By David Cay Johnston for the Daily Beast. By law FERC must balance the interests of pipeline owners and pipeline customers using the “just and reasonable” theory that owners are entitled to reasonable profits and customers to reasonable prices. Instead, it favors pipelines (and other monopolies it regulates) because most of the commissioners come from—and later go back to—the industries they regulate. In Judge Sentelle’s most recent previous decision in the matter he allowed the fake tax to be imposed by the pipelines using reasoning I think is specious. Sentelle made clear that he was deeply vexed by the idea of making shippers pay a tax that is not imposed by Congress. However, he ruled that, since FERC had explained its rationale, it was beyond the court’s authority to challenge the regulatory decision. In his latest ruling Sentelle seems to recognize his error, but unfortunately he did not block the fake tax from being collected. Instead he told FERC to undertake yet another rule-making proceeding. Based on past history you will keep being dinged for this fake tax. There is an easy solution to this and the man to solve it is Norman C. Bay, current FERC chairman. Bay can ask commissioners to vote on ending the inclusion of the corporate income tax in the rates that pipelines charge customers like United Airlines. But I doubt he will unless the public demands action to make sure that pipelines charge only for actual expenses.

Ex-FERC Commissioner’s Multiple Rulings Favored Energy Companies

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By Itai Vardi for Desmog – Numerous rulings by a former Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) favored energy companies his lobbyist wife worked for at the time, a DeSmog investigation can reveal. Philip Moeller left FERC in late 2015 after nearly ten years on the Commission. Throughout his entire tenure, Moeller’s wife, Elizabeth Moeller, was employed as a lawyer and lobbyist for the Washington DC-based firm Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw & Pittman LLP (Pillsbury Winthrop).

FERC Will Not Conduct Virginia Pipeline Study

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By NBC 29 News. NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will not conduct a study on three pipelines projects, including the hotly contested Atlantic Coast Pipeline, slated to cut through Virginia. FERC’s study would have analyzed potential environmental, social, and economic impacts associated with these natural gas pipelines. Many groups, including the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, are unhappy the study is off the table. The chapter’s director, Kate Addleson, released a response to FERC’s choice to not move forward with an environmental impact statement. Addleson believes the study was, “necessary to assess the need and consequences of the proposed pipeline projects in Virginia.” Addleson also says the choice is in direct opposition to the requests of landowners, concerned citizens, and even elected officials.

Fracking Foes Take Their Protest To Regulator’s Front Door

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By Jonathan Crawford for Bloomberg – Tony Clark was wrapping up dinner with his family when the doorbell rang. He didn’t need to answer. He already knew who it was. Anti-fracking activists had followed him home, taping “wanted-style” posters with his face plastered on them across his leafy suburban neighborhood outside of Washington. Coming up to his front door was the last straw. He called the police. And as they arrived, Clark’s 9-year-old son asked: “Why are the police here? Is it because you work for the government?”

Newsletter: Making Protest Personal; Take It To Their Homes

BXE protest at Norman Bey home by Jimmy Betts

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Protests at homes of public officials and corporate CEOs is a common tactic used widely because it can be very effective. The response of Barrasso shows it is working and should continue. As Saul Alinsky, author or Rules for Radicals, pointed out “any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.” Such protests have to be nonviolent and conducted in a way that does not inconvenience neighbors but educates them about why the protest is occurring. These tactics seek to personalize the issue, to make it less abstract than a federal agency. The campaign should keep their focus on the people responsible, not let up, continue to escalate and make the person isolated and unpopular. The goal is to maintain constant, escalating pressure so the official pays a heavy personal price for their actions.