People Over Pipelines

Submitted by tlarsen on September 20, 2017

On September 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) held its first public meeting of Commissioners in months. Activists from around the country who oppose FERC's rubber stamping of pipelines, were there to greet them, and let them know that FERC needs to end its practice of constantly siding with industry over communities in permitting dangerous and destructive pipelines. A new report from Oil Change International, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club demonstrates that new pipelines are not needed, and, under FERC, are just a way to shift costs from investors onto ratepayers.

Green America helped plan and participated in the demonstration, which was followed by activists going into FERC and disrupting the meeting by singing, "We Shall Overcome." Activists then proceeded to a lobby day on the Hill urging Senators to reject the current Dirty Energy Bill (S.1460) that would expand FERC's power and increase the approval of fracked gas pipelines. Senators were presented with a letter signed by over 130 groups nationwide, urging them to privilege renewable energy over dirty energy, and call for hearings into FERC's abuses. The letter was also supported by emails sent by over 25,000 people nationwide.

The movement against fracked-gas pipelines is growing, with local activists pushing back, and even winning victories that are slowing down pipelines nationwide. We need to keep the pressure on FERC and Congress.

Following are comments that Green America Executive Co-Director Todd Larsen presented at the FERC rally:

Protesters demonstrate at FERC
Protesters demonstrate at FERC on 09/20/2017


It’s so inspiring to take part in this demonstration today. FERC knows the public is watching and the majority of Americans don’t support an energy future built on fracking and destructive pipelines.

I’m Todd Larsen with Green America. We’re an organization dedicated to creating a green economy that works for all.

When we look at energy – that means a rapid transition to solar and wind. That means moving away from all fossil fuels and not pretending that natural gas is a bridge fuel, when it really is a dead end.

The rest of the world is quickly shifting gears and moving to clean energy as rapidly as possible. FERC is stuck in the 20th Century, and when it keeps approving pipelines, its condemning us all to a dirtier world and increasing the impacts of climate change.

And FERC is harming people and communities right now. Privileging pipelines over people is immoral. It’s also poor economics – property values go down, communities, farms and businesses are harmed – just by the presence of pipelines. And, when there are accidents in constructing the pipelines, or when pipelines leak or explode – which happens far more than most people know – that really harms communities.

And, that’s why it’s so important that we are all here today. To tell FERC and Congress that enough is enough. Corporations may have all the money, but in the end people power trumps corporate power. This movement is growing, and for every person here today, thousands more have written or called FERC and Congress to say to say no more fossil fuels, no more fracked gas and no more pipelines. It’s time for clean energy.

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