47 arrested in FERC, climate protests

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Forty-seven protesters opposed to a proliferation of gas projects and the use of hydraulic fracturing were arrested today in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at locations in Maryland and New York, according to event organizers.

Twenty-five protesters were arrested by the Federal Protective Service while blocking the entrances to the commission’s headquarters in D.C., said Melinda Tuhus, an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy.

Seven other people were arrested near Dominion Resources Inc.’s $3.8 billion liquefaction project, about 60 miles northeast of D.C. near Lusby, Md., and 15 people were arrested in Seneca, N.Y., where FERC approved a methane storage project, Tuhus said. All protesters have been released, she added.

The demonstration at FERC’s headquarters marked the first event in a weeklong attempt to disrupt the agency’s operations, Tuhus said. Protesters are calling on the agency to block export facilities, gas pipelines and compressor stations.

The agency in recent months has seen an uptick in opposition — from both climate activists and landowners — linked to the country’s gas boom. FERC is tasked as the environmental lead on a wave of proposed gas pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations and other facilities that have triggered pushback from groups opposed to hydraulic fracturing and the use of fossil fuels (Greenwire, Nov. 3).

The rally outside FERC today was led by activists from the Great March for Climate Action. Activists walked, took trains and rode buses 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to D.C. to draw attention to climate issues and FERC’s handling of gas infrastructure.

Sean Glenn, 22, from Simsbury, Conn., said she left Wilmington, Calif., on March 1 to walk to D.C. to raise awareness about climate issues, oppose the Keystone XL pipeline — and eventually protest FERC.