BREAKING: Thrown out of FERC

BREAKING: Thrown out of FERC

Ted Glick was one of the leaders of last fall’s Beyond Extreme Energy protest. You might remember that we were there to shut down the offices of the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC). 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.

Ted was on his way back to FERC this morning, this time for a meeting with FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller at the request of allies at Green America. We should be clear, Ted was there by invitation, with a pre-scheduled appointment. Then security, apparently recognizing him from last fall’s events (or other actions, Ted is a leader at CCAN and involved in many fights against fracked gas), told him he had to leave.

Here’s a quick synopsis, you can read Ted’s longer write up at CCAN’s blog here.

We got through front door security OK, I was given a badge to wear, and a security cop took us up to the 11th floor and a conference room there. He went to get Moeller and whoever else was coming with him, and about a minute later he comes back into the room and says I need to leave … he says I “am banned from the building.”

So I go back down the elevator with him and go to the front entrance security desk, where [i asked another, more senior guard] why I was being removed, he said something like, after I pressed him, “we are looking into what we can do legally to deal with people who do not follow FERC procedures,” … He made it clear that it wasn’t just me that they don’t want in their building.

Folks, here’s why this matters: First of all, it’s the latest in a series of public reactions from FERC that indicated they are aware (very, uncomfortably aware) of our growing movement to block fracked gas infrastructure. Perhaps the best news was when FERC chair LaFleur specifically called out our actions on twitter, online, and in the streets at a national press club briefing.

Second, it’s an indication that the security at FERC’s office – which has been the site of several actions and protests in the last few months – are willing to stretch the bounds of the law in order to shut us up. That could be a problem since our argument has always been FERC simply isn’t doing its job (or doing it correctly) – which should include protecting the planet, including upstream and downstream impacts of individual projects like pipelines, export terminals and more. If challenging FERC’s methodology, or criticizing their authority become arrest able offenses, things will get a lot worse before they get better.