On the 25th of June, Beyond Extreme Energy blocked half of 1st st NE, enough to block access to to FERC’s driveway. The blockade consisted of a pair of mock oil rgs with activists sitting inside. The blockade held firm for about 5 hours before the rig sitters climbed down and departed in victory without arrests.
The “drilling rigs” arrived just after 7AM and were quickly set up to block the side of First St NE controlling access to FERC’s driveway before anyone could intervene. For the next five hours, police made no move to attempt to arrest the drill rig sitters or otherwise remove the blockade. In addition, the crowds of FERC employees usually seen during this sort of blockade never showed up. There are only two ways this is possible: either they were told to show up prior to 7AM or they were told to stay home. The latter has happened in the past, and at 7AM there was no sign of police or barricades at FERC. Thus, it appears that Beyond Extreme Energy may have succeeded in shutting down FERC’s rubber stamp machine for the day.
Those FERC employees who did show up were told by police to use commercial paid parking lots, a strong incentive to stay home or go home for the day. One nearby parking lot offered a pre-7AM “early bird special” for $12.50 for the day, there are a lot of downtown parking lots charging in the $24 range to park a car for the day. FERC’s oil and gas barons do not bike, and there was no stream of them arriving from Union Station either.
FERC or the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency has long been infamous as the oil and fracked gas industry’s rubber stamp, approving all but a tiny fraction of projects. Now however, cracks are appearing as the two remaining Democratic commissioners are starting to dissent against pro-industry decisions by the three new GOP commissioners installed by Trump. Thus, the campaign is called “Crack FERC Open.”
During the noon rally Rev Yearwood pointed out that FERC is not “PERC” or the Private(or pipeline) Energy Regulator Commission but instead “Federal” and thus supposed to answer to the people and not to the oil and gas industry whose executives and officials so often find jobs at FERC and vice versa.
Video overview of the five-hour blockade of FERC 3 min 16 sec