Sunday, September 20, 2015

15 people on a hunger strike at FERC until 9/25, the day after the people's pope speaks to Congress

15 people on a hunger strike at FERC until 9/25, the day after the people's pope speaks to Congress

The reason they are fasting:

"We are fasting because the movement which we are representing has tried every other means available to get FERC to stop being a rubber-stamp agency for fracked gas infrastructure (pipelines, compressor stations, storage and export terminals)."

Today's update:

September 19, 2015 September 25 th at FERC By Ted Glick
It's the morning of the twelfth day that I haven't been eating. The only things I've been putting into my body are lots of water, salt, potassium and a multi-vitamin.
How do I feel? Weak, very weak, as do most of the others— about 15 as I write—who are also fasting and intend to do so until September 25th, the day after the people's pope speaks to Congress. 11 of the 15 are also, like me, on the twelfth day of water-only.
We're physically weak mainly because of the water-only diet but also because we've been conducting this hunger strike on the sidewalk in the hot sun in front of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, from 7 am to 6 pm every work day. We've been leafletting and talking to FERC employees, including, several days ago, Norman Bay, the chairperson. We've been leafletting and talking to passers-by and people who come to visit, as have Tim DeChristoper, Medea Benjamin, "No Impact Man" Colin Beavan, local high school students, and more.
We've been using white boards to make signs that we change as the days go by. We've been putting up quotes from Pope Francis and Gandhi. Every morning part of our routine is to change the number of the days that we've been fasting on the signs that say, "Day ___ of 18-Day Hunger Strike for No New Permits for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure."
We've also been traveling around DC. We've gone to important local demonstrations, several times to the site of a sister fast being conducted by the Franciscan Action Network, and meetings.
All of these activities are taking a physical toll, adding to the impact of not eating.
Spiritually, however, we're a very strong group. Every day we gather together outside of FERC in the morning and the afternoon to meet and go over everything that has happened or is happening that day. We always begin by going around our sacred circle with each faster reporting on how they are doing. Sometimes individual fasters have reported problems, some pretty serious, as far as how they are doing. So far we have been able to help everyone in those situations to get over them and continue on, sometimes aided by local nurses who have volunteered their services for free.
At the end of each meeting, we join hands for a minute or more of silent breathing together and communal strengthening, and it always works.
Two-thirds of the way through this ordeal, we're seeing the end of it. We're starting to talk about how to come off the fast in a way that doesn't do damage to your digestive system. I shared yesterday my nine-day plan—one day of transitioning back for every two days of fasting-- for how to do so based on my past fasting experiences.
The fast will end this coming Friday, September 25 th, at 12 noon in front of FERC, the day after Pope Francis speaks before Congress. We will end it by breaking and sharing bread together—a very small piece for each of us—and with the many hundreds or more people we hope will join us. We are inviting people who do so who can to bring a healthy loaf of bread to share so that, together, we will break bread together there on First St. NE, affirming life and community and our determination to keep at it until we have won.
We need people to join us on the 25th not so much to support us but to make a strong statement to FERC, and all those who will learn of our action, about the need for FERC to heed our demand: No New Permits for Fossil Fuel Infrastructure.
Some of the fasters got into the monthly meeting of the FERC Commissioners a few days ago, the meetings BXE has been attending and speaking out at for a year. One of them stayed throughout it, and he reported on how t he Commissioners were talking about how electrical power companies need to be making plans to switch to gas as their fuel source going forward. Much of that would be fracked gas. This is consistent with the EPA's Clean Power Plan projections and the very serious economic problems being experienced by the coal industry.
The Commissioners did not talk about the need for power companies to get serious about switching to wind or solar energy as their power source, even though 1) they are price-competitive with coal and gas, 2) they are actually clean and non-polluting, no water contamination, no poisoning of the air and land, and 3) they don't leak methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more powerful than CO2 over a 20 year period.
It has become very clear that a, if not the, central battle to prevent worldwide climate catastrophe is the battle over whether natural gas, increasingly fracked gas, or renewables is going to become the primary electrical power source in the next decade. FERC Commissioners are going all-in on an expansion of fracking infrastructure and exporting the stuff around the world.
This decision must not go unchallenged, and it is not. There is a growing and connecting national movement, centered along the east coast right now, that is taking on FERC, in DC and in the scores and scores, maybe hundreds, of local communities where people are organizing to fight new fracking infrastructure. Many more need to join this fight, and now.
Let's make September 25 th at FERC in DC, following upon the big Climate Justice rally September 24 th on the mall as the Pope speaks to Congress, the next major manifestation of our determination to prevent FERC from continuing to poison local communities and our threatened climate. In the words of Pope Francis, "There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy."
Wake up FERC!
Ted Glick is the National Campaign Coordinator of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

FERC: NEXUS frackers may be too fragile to fulfill the requirements off a new a gas pipeline

This was posted to FERC on Monday.
FERC must consider that NEXUS’ binding shipper agreements were signed over a year ago and that FERC must evaluate the current soundness of these agreements and companies.
NEXUS must present FERC with “legally binding precedent agreements showing that the pipeline will be FULLY or NEARLY FULLY (85%) subscribed for a minimum of TEN YEARS.”
FERC, it is doubtful that many NEXUS shippers are financially sound enough to fulfill this requirement.
Many Marcellus/Utica E&P companies are predicted to go BANKRUPT (unless they sell themselves or otherwise sell off major assets). Here is a “ DEATH LIST” report listing very RISKY companies and their unacceptably high debt-to-earnings ratios:
ANTERO Resources (4.99), EV Energy Partners (6.54), HALCON Resources (7.81), MAGNUM HUNTER Resources (52.29), REX Energy (5.06), VANTAGE Drilling (6.16), and WARREN Resources (5.50).
RANGE RESOURCES and CHESAPEAKE Energy also have very high debt levels and are burning through their cash reserves at unsustainable rates.
Analyst predict CHESAPEAKE Energy is at high risk of bankruptcy because of a high debt-to-equity ratio (1.29) and a poor quick ratio (0.70) indicating an inability to avoid short-term cash problems.

Credit downgrades abound:
“The E&P firms ASCENT Resources-Marcellus LLC, EXCO Resources Inc. and PENN VIRGINIA Corp. were all cut one notch, to SGL-4, indicating increased risk that the companies will violate their debt covenants.”
ASCENT (formerly American Energy Appalachia Holdings) was recently downgraded by Moody’s to the LOWEST (probable DEFAULT) credit rating of Caa2. (See McClendon’s Marcellus Misadventure Exposes Lenders to More Pain )
It is predicted that 5 to 13 gas and oil E&P companies will go bankrupt in the next 12 months and 3 to 7 afterwards.
“In September, banks will make one of their periodic reassessments of drillers' reserves. If the companies' assets are found to be less valuable than their outstanding debt, drillers will be forced to come up with a way to cover the gap between their reserve value and debt load. That could mean asset sales, restructurings and the like—or bankruptcies.”
Low oil and natural gas prices continue to create doubt that some highly leveraged exploration and production companies will repay the billions they borrowed according to Moody's.

Furthermore, oil and gas prices are expected to stay LOW for 3 years. This will put extreme “pressure on credit ratings because of inability to meet COVENANTS, limited availability on revolving credit facilities and unsustainable capital structures.”*
FERC needs to do more evaluation of the Certificates of Need policy:
“The Commission balances the public benefits against the potential adverse consequences. … the applicant's responsibility for UNSUBSCIBED capacity, the avoidance of unnecessary disruptions of the environment, and the unneeded exercise of eminent domain in evaluating new pipeline construction.”
Given that considerable environment, quality of life and billions of dollars are at stake, it would be a travesty for FERC to approve a pipeline that would later be greatly underutilized or ABANDONED because of your neglectful disregard of risky shipper financials.

Bill McKibben: Tomorrow should be sort of fun, and important

From: "Bill McKibben -" <>
Date: September 9, 2015 at 15:21:43 EDT
To: "Tom Wassmer"
Subject: Tomorrow should be sort of fun, and important
To be honest, I'm not much a fan of big climate summits. None so far have done hardly anything to solve the problem, and this year's Paris talks may be no different.
But if they're good for anything, it's that for a few weeks at least, the world tends to focus a little more on the state of the climate and our attempts to save it.
And so with the big Paris talks on the horizon, our job is to focus that attention on what it will really take to get serious: keeping at least 80% of fossil fuels under ground and getting to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
What may be different this time is that getting there is actually quite possible. The cost of solar panels is lower than ever and falling, and a big movement has sprung up to oppose new fossil fuel projects from Keystone XL to the Galilee Basin coal reserves in Australia.
We have a whole plan for the coming months: from local workshops this September, to a global day of action at the beginning of the Paris talks, to a mass action to have the final word after they end. And to cap it all off, April of next year we're planning the most ambitious wave of global action yet.
And tomorrow night in New York City, we're kicking it off with an event co-hosted by Naomi Klein, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, and a ton of activists from around the world -- and we're livestreaming it out around the world.
We're going to try and lay out the road ahead for the climate movement -- how we're going to use mass action and divestment to keep turning off dirty energy, and turn on cheap, clean renewable power all over the world. We'll lay out a roadmap past the Paris talks and straight to one of the biggest days of resistance we've ever engaged in. Also, there will be good music!

So if you can't be there in the room, be in the virtual room on your computer. Just click here at 7 PM Eastern time tomorrow when the show gets underway, and press play:
In short, it's a night not to miss. Oh, and tweet in ideas/comments if you're watching; I'll be trying to monitor them during the show. Just use the hashtag #offandon.
With gratitude for all your work,