Beyond Extreme Energy
I spent election week in Washington DC with the folks from the Beyond Extreme Energy actions. Many of these brave climate warriors walked thousands of miles across the country to deliver a message that it's time to end fracking and all other extreme forms of energy extraction that are damaging our climate.
For five days last week these activists shut down the offices of the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) every morning. For many, it was a last resort: A desperate attempt to do ANYTHING to get the attention of the agency that has been rubber-stamping fracking projects – from pipelines in Massachusetts, to export terminals in Maryland to storage facilities in New York – without consideration of how those projects impact our planet. I heard stories from every corner of the country where people had tried to fight fracking projects, only to have FERC ignore their concerns and bulldoze their way through another town.
And it was more than symbolic. While the BXE-ers were shutting down and disrupting business at FERC, we got word that several towns and counties had banned fracking – including Denton Texas where the process of hydraulic fracturing was actually invented.
But we also got word that state and federal officials are planning to ignore the will of those voters or in some cases sue the local governments in an attempt to force them to accept fracking and fracking infrastructure. Indicating that we have a lot more fighting to do.
FERC may be the face of our government's over-reliance on fracking, but they're not the source of the policy. FERC gets its mandate from federal law and a policy that says we should develop all the fracked gas and oil we can find in America – no matter the cost to local ecosystems, public health, or the climate.
In the coming weeks, we'll keep fighting FERC on projects like gas export terminals, pipelines and more. But we'll also ramp up pressure on the Obama Administration and the new Congress to make sure we change the policy, as well as the implementation.