By Beyond Extreme Energy
Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox, Megan Holleran and five others were arrested in the driveway of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today while waiting for commissioners to join them for pancakes topped with the last drops of maple syrup from the Holleran family farm in New Milford, Pennsylvania. They and about two dozen other activists were protesting FERC's approval for the clear-cutting of a wide swath of maple trees at the Holleran farm for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline.
Blocked by guards from entering the FERC building, Fox repeatedly called on the commissioners to come down for “the last dregs of syrup" and a conversation about fracked-gas infrastructure and climate change.
“Everyone I know is fighting a pipeline or a compressor station or a power plant that is in front of FERC for approval," Fox said while wearing a "Pancakes not Pipelines" apron.
“It is clear to me that FERC has to be the most destructive agency in the United States right now. They are faceless, nameless, unelected and ignore citizen input. I think of FERC as the Phantom Menace. The agency's commissioners have been rubber-stamping fracking infrastructure all over country that threatens local communities and the planet by accelerating climate change."
Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, wearing a chef's cap and a “Pancakes not Pipelines" apron, cooked the pancakes on a solar-powered cooktop set up on the sidewalk in front of FERC. DeChristopher said FERC had “cut down life-giving maple trees to make room for a death-dealing pipeline." The agency has been “able to get away with this shameful behavior by operating in the shadows," he continued. "We're here today to invite FERC employees into the open, to engage in a human way with the people whose lives are impacted by FERC's decisions."
Protesters carried banners that said, “Stop the Methane Pipeline" and “Pancakes not Pipelines." Led by singer-songwriter Bethany Yarrow, daughter of Peter Yarrow who was also arrested today, protesters sang songs, including, “We Shall Not Be Moved" and “Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me 'Round."
Holleran said FERC had given approval for the trees to be cleared on her land before the pipeline had all the required permits. “We followed all the rules. We asked them to wait before doing irreparable harm to our farm. This could happen to anyone," she said during the protest.
In addition to Fox, Holleran and Yarrow, others arrested included, Gabriel Shapiro, a Hampshire College student in Massachusetts; Jane Kendall from New York City; Don Weightman, a Beyond Extreme Energy organizer from Philadelphia; and Ron Coler of Ashfield, Massachusetts, who's fighting the NED pipeline and Connecticut Expansion. Also at the action was Karenna Gore of the Center for Earth Ethics.
Beyond Extreme Energy will continue its actions at FERC during the Rubber Stamp Rebellion from May 15 to May 22.
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