Tuesday, July 15, 2014

24 People Arrested Blocking Entrances to FERC to Protest Proposed Fracked Gas Export Facility


CONTACT: Chesapeake Climate Action Network or Collin Rees, Energy Justice Summer, 630-930-4303 or Steve Norris, 828-777-7816, earthsun2@gmail.com

24 People Arrested Blocking Entrances to FERC to Protest Proposed Fracked Gas Export Facility

Protesters call upon President Obama and federal regulators to reject proposed Cove Point facility and halt approvals on all pending liquefied natural gas export terminals nationwide

WASHINGTON - July 14 - Residents impacted by shale gas infrastructure and their supporters blocked the entrances to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters today in protest of the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility and others proposed around the country.

This is the second consecutive day of action to demand that the Obama administration take the voices of impacted communities seriously in the federal regulatory process, and that FERC reject Dominion Resources’ proposed LNG export facility in Cove Point, Maryland, just 50 miles south of the White House on the Chesapeake Bay. Over a thousand people rallied on the National Mall and marched to FERC yesterday despite scorching heat and high humidity.

Protesters linked arms and blocked the main entrance and a secondary entrance of FERC as employees came in to work this morning. A total of 24 people were arrested for the shut down, including participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C. The protesters were arrested by Homeland Security police and then turned over to the DC Metropolitan Police for processing. They were charged with “incommoding,” or blocking a public passageway, and are being released with a citation and $50 fine.

“People ask what the connection is between Marcellus Shale and Cove Point,” said arrestee Ann Bristow from Garrett County, Maryland. “One connection is the transportation of this product. Compressor stations have been shown to be one of the most toxic sources of air emissions. Pipelines and compressor stations will only increase with more demand from Cove Point.”

If approved, the Cove Point export facility would be the linchpin tying together communities from northern Pennsylvania to central Virginia to southern Maryland that are struggling for a clean and healthy environment free of fracked gas infrastructure.

Alex Lotorto, a resident of Pike County, Pennsylvania, was among the arrestees. “There is a FERC-permitted natural gas pipeline and compressor station about to be constructed in my hometown of Milford, Pennsylvania. The exhaust is equal to over a 100 diesel school buses idling constantly next to homes where children are sleeping,” said Lotorto. “I’m here to let FERC and the company know what’s waiting for them if the permit is issued.”

Michael Bagdes-Canning from Butler County, Pennsylvania was also arrested in front of FERC’s office. “I'm willing to go to jail because my friend Susan wakes up every morning with headaches from the air she breathes from the Bluestone natural gas processing plant,” said Bagdes-Canning. “I'm willing to go to jail for the dozens of battles we are fighting in Butler County, Pennsylvania; battles that will only intensify if the international market is opened up by export facilities like Cove Point.”

Among the arrested people, their supporters, and the 150,000 people who sent in comments to FERC opposing the Cove Point project, the consensus is clear: Now is the time to stop the pollution of communities dealing with the extraction, transportation, processing and potential export of hydraulically fractured—fracked—natural gas. It’s time to get serious about shifting to clean, jobs-producing, renewable energy.

Karen Leu, a resident of Takoma Park, Maryland, was among the arrestees. “The LNG facility at Cove Point does not speak love to rural communities faced with unhealthy drinking water or a world facing a climate catastrophe,” said Leu. “What will we stand up for if not love?”


The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is the first grassroots, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to fighting global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our mission is to build and mobilize a powerful grassroots movement in this unique region that surrounds our nation’s capital to call for state, national and international policies that will put us on a path to climate stability. - See more at: http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&layout=category&task=category&id=7&Itemid=11#sthash.9cgEG60o.dpuf

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Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2014/07/14-0

Published on Monday, July 14, 2014 by Common Dreams
'People's March' Against Fracking Demands Halt to Export Push

Tim DeChristopher: 'We have to resist every new project that would lock us into decades of more dependence on fossil fuels.'
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Over one thousand demonstrators marched to the office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington D.C. on Sunday calling for an end to the "massive expansion" of fracked gas infrastructure under President Barack Obama and calling for a halt to the government-back push for liquid natural gas (LNG) export facilities nationwide.

Hoping to draw attention to the fast-approaching approval of the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal, the protesters called the action a "People's environmental impact statement" on the project, saying that it is time the president prove his commitment to true clean energy solutions.

Following the mass demonstration, on Monday morning roughly twenty four protesters were arrested for holding a sit-in blocking the entrance to the FERC headquarters.

“For far too long, FERC has served as a facilitator for the oil and gas industry, rather than a regulator for the public good,” said Craig Stevens, a sixth-generation landowner Silver Lake Township, Pa., who took part in Sunday's rally. Stevens' property has been subjected to water, air and land contamination as a result of pipeline installation, as well as "disaster blowouts" in his backyard creek. “Private drilling corporations, private pipeline companies, and now private LNG facilities make all the money, while people suffer the consequences.”

“With LNG exports, the only things Americans get are terrifying new health and safety threats, worsening climate instability, and higher heating bills, all so that the gas industry can make bigger profits from fracking us,” noted ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber told the crowd.

Organizers estimate that well over a thousand people from up and down the east coast came to Washington D.C. to take part in the action. The rally began near the U.S. Capitol and culminated with a mile-long march to FERC headquarters, during which demonstrators carried a 100-foot-long “Stop Cove Point” pipeline.

The mounting actions have been called to raise awareness of the environmental threats posed by drilling for shale natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which are sure to increase significantly after the approval of numerous liquid natural gas export facilities. There are 13 such projects currently under FERC review, with Dominion's Cove Point terminal project in Lusby, Md. slated to be the first on the east coast and the only one near the Marcellus shale gas reserves.

"We’ll keep fighting until wind turbines and solar panels crisscross our coastlines, and LNG facilities like Cove Point are defunct monuments to a dinosaur industry.”
—Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus

In May, FERC released their environmental assessment of the Cove Point terminal project saying it can "be built and operated safely with no significant impact to the environment." However, activists note that the assessment blatantly omits such harmful impacts as the expansion of fracking wells, pipelines and compressor stations, and "enormous amounts of planet-warming pollution."

Over 150,000 comments have been submitted in opposition to the terminal. On August 13, FERC is expected to meet with coordinating agencies before submitting their final order for the project, after which construction may commence. At any point after FERC approval, the Department of Energy—which in September 2013 granted conditional authorization—can greenlight the export of LNG to countries without free trade agreements, namely Japan and India.

“We’re here today to deliver a ‘people’s’ environmental impact statement to President Obama and FERC,” Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, declared during the rally. “Any project that makes climate change significantly worse has no place on a livable planet, from Cove Point to Keystone XL. No matter what FERC decides in the near-term, the people will triumph in the long-term. We’ll keep fighting until wind turbines and solar panels crisscross our coastlines, and LNG facilities like Cove Point are defunct monuments to a dinosaur industry.”

"As long as our political leaders continue to fail to offer an energy plan that is appropriate for the climate crisis, we have to resist every new project that would lock us into decades of more dependence on fossil fuels," said climate activist Tim DeChristopher.
Images from Sunday's march and rally can be seen here and below.

The protest was organized by a coalition of regional and national environmental groups including Berks Gas Truth, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Energy Action Coalition, Environmental Action, Earthworks, Food & Water Watch, Greenpeace, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, and 350.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/07/14-5

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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