By John Zangas
Environmental advocates used their bodies to block entrances to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday and called for an end to its so-called rubber stamp polices. The agency issues permits to interstate natural gas pipelines, gas compressor stations and LNG facilities.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dispatched dozens of uniformed officers to manage the crowd, but for over an hour they were unable to remove the hundreds of protesters. There were 25 arrests and no reports of injuries.
Protesters assembled into three groups, spreading themselves between several entrances at the agency. They set up a colorful mock cardboard village, erected 15-foot signs and locked and chained themselves to concrete buckets. One of the protest groups blocked the entrance of FERC’s driveway, tying up traffic.
Kevin Zeese, an organizer from Popular Resistance, said, “The message we’re trying to make today is FERC is destroying families and towns, and that’s why we’re shutting them down.”
All 25 protesters arrested at the FERC were released with misdemeanor charges of obstruction, according to co-organizer Jimmy Betts. “Today’s action was highly successful in causing a disruption with business as usual at FERC,” he said.
Later that afternoon, about fifty protesters marched to Democratic National Committee Headquarters, where they objected to political contributions from the fossil fuel lobby.
The protests today were the first of many planned for this week as environmental advocates highlight the urgent need to convert energy sources from carbon to renewables.