Protest Urges Conversion of FERC from Fossil Fuel Industry Rubber Stamp to Advocate for Renewables

Interview with Drew Hudson, a member of Beyond Extreme Energy, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – FERC – has the power to approve or deny permits to build interstate gas pipelines and related infrastructure such as compressor stations and gas export terminals. But in the past 30 years, the agency has turned down just two out of 400 applications. For almost its whole existence, FERC has acted as a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry, and most of its commissioners come from oil and gas companies, which they return to when their terms expire. One Democratic appointee, Richard Glick, has often opposed new projects due to climate concerns, while the other Democrat, Cheryl LaFleur, has most often, but not always, supported them.
Beyond Extreme Energy is a coalition of groups and individuals, mostly along the Eastern seaboard, working to retire fossil fuels. Over the past five years, the group known as BXE, has carried out many non-violent direct actions at FERC. On April 18, two BXE activists scaled a 25-foot wall at FERC headquarters, sat down behind the awning over the building’s front entrance, and dropped a banner reading, “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: NO! Federal Renewable Energy Commission: YES!”

Despite the response of large numbers of police and a fire department hook and ladder truck, the two men, Ted Glick and Drew Hudson, remained in place for five hours. The pair finally came down from their perch on their own, avoiding arrest. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus, who’s a BXE member, spoke with Drew Hudson about his direct action banner drop and what’s next in the group’s campaign targeting FERC.
Learn more about BXE and their clean energy fossil free campaigns by visiting beyondextremeenergy.org.

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