Vibrations from the fiddler’s bow ricochet off the hot concrete canyon walls of First Street near Union Station. About a dozen people lounge on sleeping bags and lawn chairs on the sidewalk under a blue awning, sipping salt water. They toss a few bucks into a pot for a wager on who has lost the most weight since their public fast began five days ago. Fifteen pounds dropped since Labor Day wins the prize.
It’s come to this. Eighteen days of virtual starvation to draw a line under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s intransigence, its refusal to do much of anything to address controversy, protest, and mass mobilization against the stream of permits it issues to greenlight gas. In other words, rubberstamp approval for the infrastructure projects it takes to transport fracked gas from the shale fields.
On day two of a series of protests called “FERCus,” activists played a cat-and-mouse game with police, starting out early in the morning at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, proceeding to the U.S. Department of the Interior and then returning to FERC by midday.
They began with an early morning sit-in at FERC as employees arrived at work. Later, they ducked into the Metro, confounding police who were closely following their movements.
First were the cops. There are always FERC security personnel at the front entrance, but it seemed like there were twice as many yesterday as I’d ever seen before in past visits. In addition, and ominously, there were also a couple of Department of Homeland Security/Federal Protective Services police prominently stationed where they could not be missed. Continue reading Will New FERC Chair Protect People or the Fossil Fuel Lobby?→
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydro-power projects. Since 1935 when it first became an independent regulatory agency it has done little to protect citizens from exploitation. Instead, the agency uses its vast powers to facilitate the expansion of dirty and deadly extraction for export to international markets. FERC ensures that toxic energy projects create greater profits for rich developers while leaving poisoned communities with the lie of so-called U.S. energy independence through fossil fuels. Continue reading The Fight Against FERC: Communities Demand An Accountable Government→