The Rubber Stamp Rebellion will not be televised
When it comes to the rebellion against fossil fuels and fracked gas infrastructure, in particular, you need to do more than tune in — you need to show up, speak out and get radical to make change. Fortunately that’s exactly what we’ve been doing all week as part of the #RubberStampRebellion in Washington, D.C.
But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), has not made it easy. FERC commissioners closed their regularly scheduled May 19 meeting to the public due to “security concerns,” with less than a day’s notice. They then held their meeting with members of the press and “invited guests,” – including executives from the infamous SoCal Gas who were invited made a presentation about “preparations for LA basin gas-electric reliability and market impacts.”
You probably remember SoCal as the company that brought us the Aliso Canyon methane leak. That disaster at a gas storage facility spewed pollution for months, causing the Governor to declare a state of emergency as residents complained of headaches, nose bleeds and respiratory distress. The spill forced hundreds of families to evacuate their homes and became the single largest source of global warming pollution in California. Mitchell Englander, the city councilman who represents the neighborhood in Los Angeles said it was, “the equivalent of the BP oil spill, except it’s on land, in a populated community.”
And yet, SoCal Gas was an invited guest of FERC at their closed-door special meeting, while participants in the Rubber Stamp Rebellion including Rev Yearwood from the Hip Hop caucus, Jane Kleeb from Bold Nebraska and numerous front line activists were literally barred from entry.
If you’re as outraged as I am at FERC right now, join the rebel alliance of pipeline fighters and by:
- Pick up your phone and call FERC chair Norman Bay at 1-800-571-2435. Tell him that it’s an outrage to ban the public from FERC’s meetings while inviting testimony from one of America’s biggest climate polluters – SoCal Gas.
- Chip in $5 or more right here to keep the calls free for everyone and support the #RubberStampRebellion against FERC.
Our Rubber Stamp Rebellion has been busy all week:
On Monday, seven climate activists were arrested while forming a human blockade at FERC while singing, “Fighting for our health, we shall not be moved. Fighting for our children, we shall not be moved.”
On Tuesday, we visited the Capitol Hill offices of four senators with pipelines proposed in their home states and delivered messages asking them to stand on the side of people and the planet – not the fracked gas industry and FERC.
On Wednesday, we rallied to block the Trans Pacific Partnership – a toxic trade deal that would (among other terrible things) expedite the export of fracked gas from America to other Pacific nations trying to break free from fossil fuels.
But the real main event came yesterday when FERC locked us out of their meeting and we held our own own meeting from 8-10 a.m., on the sidewalk calling on FERC to issue No New Permits and to transition to an agency promoting non-polluting renewable energy and efficiency.
After the rally, three members of BXE tried to get into the building that houses FERC, but were turned away by security guards. They were told that only government employees and invited guests could get into the meeting.
“It’s our understanding,” said BXE member Melinda Tuhus, “that the invited guests from industry were allowed into the meeting and only the public was kept out; that we could’ve pre-registered for the meeting, but of course one would’ve had to know that the meeting was going to be closed to do that, and that fact wasn’t announced until the night before.”
The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, of the HipHop Caucus, criticized President Obama, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for claiming to be climate heroes while backing fracking and fracked gas. “They are not climate leaders,” he said. “Until they realize we must transition to 100 percent renewable energy.”
After listing several fossil fuel projects that have been defeated through public opposition, Yearwood pointed toward the FERC offices and said, “The folks inside are losing. We are winning — for the next generation.”
Mary Wildfire drove from West Virginia hoping to speak out at the FERC meeting. She told the crowd outside that coal, oil and gas all have climate change in common. “The impacts are already severe. The issue is how are we going to prevent catastrophic climate change. [FERC is] permitting well into the twenty-teens because we don’t want to bother changing our habits.”
Jane Kleeb, founder of Bold Nebraska, which played a critical role in defeating the Keystone XL pipeline, said she is now working with people in other states to fight fossil fuel projects. She said that she and others recently planted sacred corn seeds along the paths of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Mountain Valley Pipeline through several mid-Atlantic states. “The seeds of resistance are growing everywhere,” she said.
Lots more photos and links below!