FERC "Pancakes Not Pipelines" Protest Confronts Forces of Destruction with Generosity, Love and Vulnerability
Yesterday I took part in a powerful symbolic action at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters in Washington DC.
A few weeks ago, FERC allowed Megan Holleran’s maple syrup farm to be cut down to make room for the Constitution pipeline, sending in marshals with AR-15s to make sure Holleran and her supporters didn’t get in the way of the guys with chainsaws.
Holleran responded by bringing the very last of the maple syrup from her farm and asking FERC employees to sit down and eat with her. There was some lightheartedness as we made pancakes on the sidewalk, which gave the protest a genuinely inviting feel. But it was radically confrontational with raw vulnerability.
Holleran refused to leave until they arrested her and seven others, including Josh Fox and Bethany Yarrow, forcing FERC to visibly act out their assault on her livelihood. This represents the best of symbolic protest--confronting forces of destruction with a radically different paradigm of generosity, love and vulnerability.
Megan Holleran arrest, photo by Tim DeChristopher
Josh Fox arrest, photo by Lee Ziesche
BXE organizer Don Weightman
Ashfield (MA) Selectman Ron Coler
News coverage says we were protesting the clear-cutting of maple trees on the Holleran family farm for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline. That's the local fight. On a larger scale, this action was part of the growing movement to resist all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
Building new natural gas infrastructure is a commitment to not solving the climate crisis.
- EcoWatch: 7 Arrested at 'Pancakes Not Pipelines' Protest at FERC
- Alternet: 'Gasland' Director Josh Fox Arrested at 'Pancakes Not Pipelines' Protest
Also see our posts compiling photos and videos live tweeted during the action:
- Breaking: Civil Disobedience, Arrests at FERC #PancakesNotPipelines Protest
- Concerned Citizens Serve #FERC Employees Pancakes and Maple Syrup for #PancakesNotPipelines!
Following serving pancakes and maple syrup to employees of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, concerned citizens blocked all traffic into FERC. The following tweets are in reverse chronological order.
Read previous post on serving pancakes and maple syrup to employees of FERC,
This morning Tim DeChristopher, Josh Fox, Megan Holleran, BeyondExtremeEnergy and others are at FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, serving maple syrup and pancakes for #PancakesNotPipelines! We'll share tweets and other coverage here and a full post with details after the action. Thanks for helping to spread the word.
By way of background, Megan Holleran’s family lost a court battle to save their maple trees and from eminent domain seizure for the construction of the interstate Constitution Pipeline. The destruction of 90% of the Holleran’s maple trees ended the associated commercial operation.
On Thursday March 24 at noon, Josh Fox, Bethany Yarrow, Karenna Gore, and Tim DeChristopher, together with Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), and families, concerned citizens and landowners, will cook and serve pancakes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to protest its role in wrecking the Holleran family maple farm in New Milford PA. FERC’s pipeline permit gave the Constitution Pipeline Company and its chainsaw team – flanked by heavily-armed federal marshals – the supposed “right” to clear-cut Hollerans’ the maple tree stand on the family farm, in the middle of the maple sugaring season, despite the pipeline not having all the necessary permits from state agencies.
The pancakes will be cooked using solar power, and served with maple syrup – to honor the Hollerans and their farm – to FERC employees and passersby.
The protest will confront FERC for their reckless and dangerous behavior that helped Constitution seize property by eminent domain and prematurely cut the Hollerans’ trees. BXE will also demand that FERC stop issuing permits for the new pipelines and other projects supporting the expansion of the fracked gas industry, which is ruining our neighborhoods and countryside , threatening the health and safety of all of us, and adding to the climate crisis.
Sunday, March 6, 2016 our panel is presenting on "Climate Disobedience and the Necessity Defense" at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) If you are at #PIELC2016, we hope you'll join us.
Climate Disobedience and the Necessity Defense (LAW 243)
This panel will discuss the recent trend in climate disobedience actions to offer a necessity defense, showcasing the Delta 5 trial in Bellingham this January, and introducing two organizations - the Climate Disobedience Center and Climate Defense Project - recently launched to support this effort. The panel of activists, including leaders of the Shell No! and Lobster Boat Blockade, and legal experts will consider the legal, narrative and political value of the necessity defense and other legal tools, such as pro se defense and barriers to their use.
Ken Ward, Climate Disobedience Center / Lobster Boat Blockade
Tim DeChristopher, Climate Disobedience Center
Abby Brockway, #Delta5 Defendant
Ahmed Gaya, Rising Tide North America
Joseph (Ted) Hamilton, Climate Defense Project
Help us keep fossil fuels in the ground!
We are calling on President Obama to issue an executive order preventing America’s public lands and waters from being auctioned off to oil, gas, and coal companies.
President Obama only has 11 months to secure his climate legacy.
Watch this new 3-minute video to find out how and why -- and then share with your friends to build the power of this rapidly growing movement!
Tim DeChristopher speaks at the end of the video before President Obama's final words.
Sign the Petition Calling for President Obama to Keep Fossil Fuels Safely In The Ground
Click to Tweet: For @POTUS to secure his climate legacy, he must #KeepItInTheGround. A new video shows why: http://ran.org/keepitintheground via @DeChristopher
Share this post on Facebook. You may also use sharing buttons at bottom of this post.
Join the March 23rd Superdome Action
During this action people will encircle the Superdome and call for an end to new drilling and new leases. This action will take place during the Department of the Interior's auction of 43 million acres of our beloved Gulf of Mexico.
(Tempest Exploration opens for business)
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2016
Valerie Love, email@example.com, 510-274-9713
Amanda Starbuck, firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 659-0510
Jason Kowalski, email@example.com, 202.670.5345
Marissa Knodel, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 222-0729
Hilary Lewis, email@example.com, 202-887-1872 x. 101
Lesley Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-821-3882
Shelley Silbert, email@example.com, 970-385-9577
As Part of BLM Fossil Fuel Auction Protest, Author Terry Tempest Williams Buys Parcels
Large-Scale Protest and Activism by Prominent Author Ups the Ante on “Keep it in the Ground” Activism
This morning, over 100 local activists protested at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oil and gas lease auction in Utah and author and activist Terry Tempest Williams attended and purchased several parcels totaling 1,751 acres in Grand County, Utah through a company she formed called Tempest Exploration. The group of activists, representing a broad-reaching alliance of community members, packed and overflowed the auction room. They rallied and marched outside, and then came into the auction, spontaneously singing songs as the parcels were auctioned off until they were forced to leave.
After Williams bought up parcels at $1.50/acre, she was asked by a BLM official if this was “a legitimate bid for energy development.”
“Yes,” she replied. “You can’t define what energy is for us. Our energy development is fueling a movement. Keep it in the ground.”
Today’s protest and Williams’ actions are yet another sign of the growing energy and momentum of the “Keep It in the Ground” movement calling on President Obama to define his climate legacy by stopping new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans.
In recent months, local citizens and activists in Utah and in states across the country have protested outside BLM fossil fuel auctions. Since November, in response to protests, the Obama Administration has canceled oil and gas leasing auctions in Utah, Montana, and Washington, DC, and this strategy has already gained the attention of leaders in Congress, in the Obama Administration, and on the 2016 campaign trail.
“The protests of today's auction are another sign that the days of un-resisted fossil fuel development are over,” said Tim DeChristopher, who was arrested and imprisoned for 21 months for disrupting a BLM auction in 2008. “The public is clearly against the leasing of fossil fuels on public lands, and they are charting a path for political leaders to follow.”
“Terry Tempest Williams is one of the West's most passionate and eloquent voices for wildness and the sublime importance of unspoiled open spaces,” said Amanda Starbuck, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network. “Today, she has taken a powerful stand for all of us by helping to expose the broken and outdated system of leasing our public lands to dirty energy companies for pennies on the dollar. Rainforest Action Network offers our full support to Terry's bold call to keep fossil fuels in the ground in Utah and beyond.”
“The West—and the planet—have no greater champion than Terry Tempest Williams, in her writing, and as today, in her many actions. She’s been decades ahead of the rest of us in her fight for a stable Earth,” said Bill McKibben, 350.org Co-Founder.
“Citizens are our last line of defense against the fossil fuel industry. We salute Terry Tempest Williams for protecting public lands in Utah today, and the citizens of Utah who are speaking out for our health and climate,” said Jennifer Krill, executive director of Earthworks. “President Obama, they are sending a message to you: keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
“All of us at Friends of the Earth commend Terry Tempest Williams for her brave action to protect our public lands from Fossil Fuel Empires and keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Marissa Knodel, Climate Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “The lands being auctioned today belong to all of us and should not be sacrificed for the profits of the oil and gas industry. Williams and the over 100 activists who protested today’s oil and gas auction demonstrated the growing energy of the Keep It in the Ground movement in Utah and across the country. The movement will not stop until our publicly owned fossil fuels are kept in the ground for good.”
“As one of the activists removed from Tuesday’s auction, I applaud Terry Tempest Williams’ action to buy up lease parcels,” said Valerie Love of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have a right to bear witness as the federal government auctions off our climate future by leasing public lands and fossil fuels belonging to all of us. We will continue to rally, sing and protest until President Obama halts these auctions once and for all.”
“Today we saw people spontaneously seize power and take action together. The BLM can expect more of this as long as they continue to jeopardize our future by auctioning off our health and climate stability,” said Sarah Stock of Canyon Country Rising Tide.
“Today our local community flexed our power through spontaneous singing and connected to a global resistance against fossil fuels. Like the rivers we protect, this movement will continue to connect our struggles until we are able to fully recognize how very powerful people are compared to this industry bent on destroying us,” said Lauren Wood, with the Riverkeeper Affiliate, Living Rivers.
“Today we witnessed a groundswell of solidarity from a broad spectrum of local organizers coming together to fight for a livable future. Today we also witnessed thousands of acres of land being sold to the oil and gas industry without the consent of the public. Sometimes we have to stop and name the sorrows, trace them to their root. The Women's Congress for Future Generations calls on those fighting for a livable future to join us in visiting the land, to bear witness, to grieve. Our grief will serve as a compass for the hard, important work ahead to Keep It In The Ground,” said Kaitlin Butler, Program Director with Science and Environmental Health Network and Women's Congress for Future Generations.
“Today's heroic action by Ms. Williams effectively transformed a public process designed to enrich private corporations by giving them cheap access to public resources into one that inspires grassroots action on climate,” said Donna Lisenby, Clean & Safe Energy Campaign Manager with Waterkeeper Alliance. “Waterkeeper Alliance salutes Ms. Williams and all of the activists at the fossil fuel auction in Utah today. Together we will continue to pressure the Obama administration to make good on the U.S. Paris commitments by keeping U.S. fossil fuels in the ground.”
“We cannot continue selling our children and grandchildren’s future to the fossil fuel companies. We stand with Terry Tempest Williams in protest of new energy lease sales on public lands,” said Shelley Silbert, Executive Director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness. “Our Utah Greater Wasatch chapter joined in unison with Terry today to say ‘Keep it in the Ground’ – public lands need to be the solution to climate change, not the problem.”
Please join us in demanding Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura Martin stop prosecuting citizens for reporting police misconduct. CLICK HERE to send a letter calling for an end to this intimidation. For more background, see post below by Rising Tide North America. ~ Tim
An anti-fracking activist in Maryland is being prosecuted for filing a police report.
Last February Heather Doyle and Carling Sothoron, activists fighting the construction of Dominion Energy’s fracked gas export terminal near Cove Point, scaled a construction crane to drop a banner reading “Dominion, go home. No gas exports. Don’t frack Maryland. Save Cove Point.” Calvert County Police responded to the protest with violence and ineptitude, risking Heather and Carling’s lives. Following their court proceedings Heather and Carling filed an official complaint. Now Heather is being prosecuted for filing a complaint about police misconduct.
Dominion Energy is pressuring police and prosecutors to intimidate opponents of their dangerous projects. (1)
For four years the community of Cove Point, Maryland has been fighting Dominion’s export facility, designed to send fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale across the globe. Residents are concerned by the health effects of the the facility, the spectre of fracking in Maryland and the possibility of a catastrophic accident.
Meanwhile Dominion Energy pays the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office to intimidate residents and activists. It’s not illegal to report police misconduct, but Calvert County is conspiring with Dominion to quell any resistance to this dangerous project.
Carling and Heather acknowledge that the police violence they experienced was a result of intentional political protest and understand that their experiences with the criminal justice system are different than those of Black, Brown, and poor folks. But we believe it is important to stand up to these ugly tactics designed to distract us and exhaust our resolve.
Love and Solidarity,
Rising Tide North America
PS - You can donate to Heather’s legal fund here.
Tim is in the San Francisco this week. In the area? We hope to see you at one of the following events. All radio interviews are streamed live via the station links below.
Tuesday, January 19th at 10am - LIVE RADIO
YOUR CALL with Rose Aguilar radio interview
KALW's 91.7FM call-in show: Politics and culture, dialogue and debate.
Join the conversation at 1-866-798-TALK
Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30pm - San Francisco
Tim DeChristopher - Fighting Fossil Fuels All the Way to Prison
Climate One at The Commonwealth Club
555 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-9824
Event Details and Tickets
Wednesday, January 20 at 7pm - San Mateo
Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo
300 E Santa Inez Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401
In Conversation on Ecological Leadership: The Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) extend an open invitation to the general public to join in conversation with climate activist, Tim DeChistopher. DeChristopher will speak at UUSM’s Beck Hall, 300 E. Santa Inez Ave, San Mateo at 7 p.m., 650-342-5946 Suggested donation: $5.
Thursday, January 21 at 6:15pm - Berkeley
Event with Students of the Starr King School for the Ministry
2441 Le Conte Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
Friday, January 22 at 12pm - San Francisco, CA / Radio
The Living Room with Kris Welch radio interview
KPFA 94.1 FM
Friday, January 22 at 1pm - Berkeley, CA / Radio
Project Censored Show radio interview
Friday, January 22 at 7:30 PM - Palo Alto
Tim DeChristopher - Discussion on Ecological Leadership
Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E Charleston Rd, Palo Alto, California 94306
Saturday, Jan 23rd, 6:00 PM - San Francisco
5th Annual Dinner supporting social justice action with Tim DeChristopher
First UU Society of San Francisco
1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco
Wheelchair Accessible - Donation $20
Event Details and Tickets
The Obama administration has announced plans to end all new coal mining leases on public lands. This move comes shortly after a coalition of 400+ organizations launched the Keep It in the Ground campaign in September 2015.
Tim DeChristopher was among those speaking at the campaign kickoff in front of the White House calling for President Obama to stop issuing new leases for all fossil fuel extraction on public lands and oceans.
Tim spoke with Democracy Now! about the campaign following its launch. This interview was replayed today on Democracy Now! in their coverage of Obama's decision.
"So there’s another 450 gigatons that could be kept in the ground by ending fossil fuel leasing. So it’s a major demand, and it’s something that I think is kind of a new step for the climate movement, for a lot of the mainstream groups that were a part of this coalition and are a part of this campaign, that we’re saying we’re no longer operating from a paradigm of deviating from the status quo, or operating from the paradigm of looking at the challenge of climate change and what’s actually necessary, and we’re going to find a way to make that happen."
This morning, before the start of today's historic Delta 5 trial, Tim DeChristopher and defendant Abby Brockway spoke with Democracy Now! about the significance of the case. This is the first time a U.S. court has heard a ‘necessity defense’ in a case relating to climate action.Read more