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Breaking: 124 Cumulative Arrests in Five Anti-Fracking, Pro-Climate Actions

November 4, 2014
(Source: PopularResistance.org)

Activists arrested while shutting down FERC headquarters in Washington, DC included Michael Zambrano (above) who was part of the Great March for Climate Action. Photo: PopularResistance.org

A cumulative known total of at least 124 people have been arrested in recent days while carrying out nonviolent direct actions to oppose fracking infrastructure. Police arrested 47 activists yesterday alone, in three locations.

UPDATE: Vermont state police said they arrested 64 people in Montpelier on Monday, October 27th. From “Dozens of Vermonters Arrested for Protesting ‘Road to Ruin’ Energy Policy“: 

“The Vermont civil disobedience action followed a mass rally, dubbed Time’s Up, Rise Up! Rally for Climate Justice, during which over 300 Vermont residents converged on the State House lawn to demand that Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, rescind his support for the expansion of a fracked gas pipeline, put an end to new fossil fuel infrastructure, and take ‘real action to protect our communities from the climate crisis.'”

The cumulative total includes the 25 activists arrested at Seneca Lake, in New York; 15 of those arrests took place yesterday. It includes three people arrested Friday sitting in at Senator Jack Reed’s office in Rhode Island opposing the SPECTRA pipeline. It includes the 25 activists arrested yesterday, Monday November 3rd, while shutting down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC. It also includes 7 arrests yesterday at Cove Point, Maryland, where direct actionists blocked construction of a FERC-approved liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility on the shores of the ecologically sensitive Chesapeake Bay.

Activists are showing increased determination right now, the very week the IPCC released its fifth in a series of dire warnings about climate. The IPCC report may be summarized as, “we are out of time.” The IPCC report is here. Bill McKibben’s essay, “IPCC Report Says Climate Change is ‘ Severe, Widespread and Irreversible,” sums it up.

FERC is a particular target because the agency bows continually to industry pressure, rubber-stamping all permits for fracking infrastructure, including pipelines and LNG export facilities, regardless of environmental and public health impacts. Climate impacts are not taken into account by FERC’s permitting process.

Several actions are ongoing, with an action a day this week at FERC headquarters, and protests against TPP arising next week.  Activists are proclaiming: “the movement is moving.”

Twenty-five Activists Arrested Monday While Shutting Down FERC

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Activists erected a symbolic model town. FERC workers had to destroy it in order to enter their workplace. Photo: Erik McGregor

About 100 activists from across the country participated in yesterday’s creative nonviolent direct action at FERC, building an impacted community, using art supplies and their knowledge of the harms from shale gas extraction, storage, and transportation by pipeline. Participants, 25 of whom were arrested, oppose FERC’s approvals for LNG facilities, pipelines and compressor stations which facilitate the climate-change-escalating fracking boom while causing severe environmental damage.

The activists are not alone in their estimate of the shale gas boom’s harms. The November 3rd, 2014 Scientific American carries an article by David Biello, “Fracking Threatens to Crack Politics,” including this excerpt:

Careless companies spill or dump some of the nine billion liters of contaminated water that flows back up fracked wells each day, allowing some of it to foul local waterways. Poorly encasing wells in steel and concrete can also allow fracking fluids to seep into drinking water supplies or natural gas to escape. Sending the undrinkable wastewater back down specially permitted disposal wells has been linked to earthquakes from Ohio to Oklahoma. And methane gas can slowly ad steadily leak from wellheads and pipelines, trashing the atmosphere.

The activists who shut down the FERC office yesterday included among their primary demands, “We demand that FERC withdraw its permit for the dangerous fracked-gas export facility at Cove Point, Maryland.”

On the same day, an activist locked herself down to a piece of equipment to directly block construction at Cove Point, MD:

Activist Halts Construction of Cove Point LNG Export Terminal

Peaceful Protest Highlights Officials’ Disregard of Natural Gas Export Terminal Risks

In a show of opposition to the recent federal approval of Dominion’s Cove Point natural gas export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland mother Kelly Canavan has locked herself to a piece of equipment at a construction site in Solomons integral to the project. Canavan is the president of AMP Creeks Council, a small nonprofit organization that focuses on land use and zoning policy. She is also part of Stopping Extraction and Exports Destruction (SEED), an umbrella group of mid-Atlantic activists fighting energy extraction and exports.

“The AMP Creeks Council has been opposing this project through several lawsuits for about a year,” Canavan said. “Now that FERC is poised to preempt any further victories we might be awarded in Calvert County, and Maryland officials at every level continue to support Dominion instead of residents, we are forced to take this stand. This is a peaceful protest to call attention to the carelessness and injustice that have characterized the course of this project from the beginning.”

Full story at Energy Exports Action Camp.

Fifteen More Arrests at Seneca Lake Monday November 3rd

In New York State, 15 more people were arrested in the protests at Seneca Lake, where a dangerous underground storage facility for methane gas fracked from the Marcellus Shale threatens a large lake that provides drinking water for the surrounding community. In “The Connection Between Global Warming Peril and Grassroots Action, Chip Northrup wrote yesterday:

The UN just issued a dire warning about how greenhouse gases are cooking the planet. Some people at the grass roots are doing something about it . . . 15 more arrests at Seneca Lake. Bringing the number of passive resistor arrests to 25. Where were you when the planet got cooked? Sandra and her crew can proudly say: We were on the barricades.

15  More Arrested as Human Blockade to Protect Finger Lakes Region from Gas Storage Facility Continues Today, Entering Third Week

15 Arrests Today follow 10 Arrests Last Week as Residents tell Crestwood to Go Home!

SENECA LAKE, NY – Entering the third week, starting at 7:00 AM this morning protesters blocked the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake. 15 people were arrested at about 9:00 AM after Crestwood called the police. Last week, ten protesters were arrested in acts of civil disobedience blocking the gates, just as the 15 people did today. Protesters have held blockades at the Crestwood gate since Thursday, October 23; on Wednesday, October 29, they began blocking two of the gates to Crestwood. Notably, the ongoing protests also included a rally with more than 200 people at the Crestwood gate on Friday, October 24th.

Friday, October 24th marked the day that major new construction on the gas storage facility was authorized to begin. The ongoing acts of civil disobedience come after the community pursued every possible avenue to stop the project and after being thwarted by an unacceptable process and denial of science.

The unified action is called ‘WE ARE SENECA LAKE’. More information and pictures of the actions over the previous weeks are available at www.WeAreSenecaLake.com.

Continue reading the full post by Chip Northrup here.

 

The best coverage of the FERC action so far, including all demands, is re-posted here from EcoWatch: “Breaking: 25 Arrested Shutting Down FERC Office in DC”

November 3, 2014

By Stefanie Spear 

Nearly 100 people from across the country participated in a nonviolent direct action protest this morning shutting down the office of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC. Today’s action was led by some of the Great March for Climate Action marchers who arrived at the nation’s capital on Nov. 1 after a 3,000-mile cross country walk from Los Angeles, California to Washington, DC.

Police say 25 people were arrested this morning.

“We walked 3,000 miles across the country and heard firsthand from families and communities the hardships they are facing due to extreme energy extraction,” said Faith Meckley, one of the climate marchers who lives in New York state.

Meckley said she’s participating in these actions because FERC rubber stamped a methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake that allows methane storage in unstable salt caverns that threatens her community.

Other people who took part in today’s action said they have had enough of FERC rubber stamping fracking infrastructure projects in their communities, including pipelines, gas storage under lakes, compressor stations and fracked gas export facilities.

Today’s action used a massive portrait of families from Maryland and New York whose homes and communities are threatened by frackinginfrastructure that has been approved by FERC. A model town was erected as part of the action which blocked the entrance to FERC preventing employees from entering the building.

“The object of the blockade art is to give FERC no other option but to destroy the town and families in order to get to work,” said Kim Fraczek of Sane Energy Project of New York. “The destruction of the art serves a metaphor of reality.”

More than 50 organizations have endorsed this week of action and support the following demands in the face of “ongoing threats to their health, communities, democracy, property values, environment and climate:”

1. We demand that FERC withdraw its permit for the dangerous fracked-gas export facility at Cove Point, as well as recent gas expansion permits at Myersville, Minisink and Seneca Lake. In addition, we demand a stop to the permitting of all fracked-gas export facilities and other fracked-gas infrastructure.

2. We demand that all future FERC permits:

• Consider as the top priority the rights of human beings and all life on Earth;

• Fully assess the cumulative harm from infrastructure projects on public health, local economies and the climate. FERC must consider the damage from fracking–the extreme extraction process that generates the gas for these projects–and from climate change. FERC must reject industry’s practice of disguising major projects by dividing them into separate, ostensibly unrelated ones.

• Adhere to the precautionary principle: in the face of uncertainty and the absence of scientific consensus, the benefit of the doubt will go to public health and the environment. The burden of proof that a project is safe falls with those proposing the project; communities will not need to prove that a project is harmful.

3. We demand that FERC commissioners meet with communities affected by approved and proposed fossil fuel infrastructure, including the Cove Point export facility, Myersville and Minisink compressor stations, and Seneca Lake gas storage project. This is a key step in changing FERC from an agency that protects only the interests of the fossil fuel industry to one that protects the public interest.

4. We demand a Congressional investigation into FERC’s rubber stamping of industry proposals.

Organizers say actions against FERC are planned to continue throughout the week in order to demonstrate that FERC’s actions are “incompatible with all that sustains life on Earth, including our climate system and clean water, air and land.”

Special thanks to Ray Wallace for providing a number of the links in this post, including the ever-popular “FERC is a Rubber Stamp Machine” youtube video.

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