This is What Democracy Looks Like! One week ago today (and about 15 degrees warmer), the heat was on at FERC in more ways than one: Approximately 1,5

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This is What Democracy Looks Like!

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One week ago today (and about 15 degrees warmer), the heat was on at FERC in more ways than one: Approximately 1,500 people, from all over the East Coast and beyond, rallied at the Capitol, then marched to FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) headquarters. The protest was focused on the Cove Point, Maryland LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal, and all the pipelines and infrastructure that would enable fracked gas exports. The rally was jam-packed with great speakers, puppets, art, and high spirits, despite the tropical temps. The next morning, 24 activists were arrested for blocking FERC entrances for two hours.
Here's our reportback:

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Monopoly Man pays a visit to the Capitol!

New York was definitely in the house! Our packed bus practiced the Rubber Stamp Song on the way down (because "we all know FERC's a rubber stamp machine!"). Then, the People's Puppets and Occupy the Pipeline took the stage with a giant Monopoly Man (because the gas industry calls the shots for FERC) and a yellow submarine rubber stamp.

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Practicing the Rubber Stamp Song on the bus!

 
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The People's Puppets perform.

Lots of creative artwork brought flair, style and pizazz to the march: Volunteers had fashioned twirling windmills and bright suns for the kind of power we SHOULD be building instead of LNG. A 10' tall sling shot represented our David to FERC's Goliath. (We know how THAT story ended!)

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Rally goers signed postcards to FERC. The post cards reversed to explain the 60' high "vapor wall."

 
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Dominion intends to build the vapor wall to contain the potential fire ball, should an accident occur.

Before marching, the crowd gathered at the Capitol building for speeches and performances. Mothers and teachers from Maryland spoke about how the Cove Point terminal will affect their lives, and made this moving statement to President Obama: "Feel our worry, know that it is real, know that we are coming to you, not looking for a fight. We are coming to you for compassion." We were also honored to hear Sandra Steingraber putting the fight in perspective, connecting the dots to another David vs. Goliath story––the town of Dryden (for a full transcript of her speech, click here). See video of all the speakers here. The People's Puppets and friends perform the "Rubber Stamp Song" at 16:15.

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Some of the rally speakers leading the march: Tim DeChristopher, Reverend Lennox Yearwood, Mike Tidwell, Sandra Steingraber, Wenonah Hauter, and Richard Graves.

“It’s important for people that are fighting these things in their backyard to know they’re not alone in that fight and they’re connected to a much bigger movement, a movement that’s not only fighting natural gas, but a larger climate movement that’s going to stand with them,” said Tim DeChristopher.

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An inflatable pipeline linked Cove Point to the destructive gas infrastructure that would supply it.

What 1500 people marching looks like: Watch this 1-minute video!

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I'm melllllting!

 
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Lots of great artwork throughout the march!

Media coverage of the march from: The Nation, Common Dreams, EcoWatch. The march was even covered on Exxon's Alaska LNG website. The Nation quoted one energy CEO, who quipped that the FERC “process [is] designed to produce a ‘yes’ in the end. You may have to tweak your project; you may have to do a lot of work. It’s designed to get a ‘yes.’”

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Exactly.

 
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The rally ended at FERC headquarters.

24 Arrested at FERC, July 14th

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The next day, a second rally took place at FERC offices.

“I think it’s great that FERC employees had an inconvenience getting to work today, because they inconvenience a lot of people,” said Alex Lotorto, an activist from Pennsylvania, and one of the arrestees (shown in photo, below left, on far right).

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Twenty-four activists blocked the entry to FERC's front door and garage.

 
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Police lead away protestors who refused to move after two hours.

The Chicago Tribune, DeSmogBlog, Reuters, and Eco Watch. carried coverage of the arrests.

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Over 1,500 people showed up at FERC's front door to demand they stop approving dangerous gas projects.

This particular fight is not over yet, and we know we'll be back in the streets again soon to try to stop Cove Point, other infrastructure projects, and climate change. CCAN’s Mike Tidwell noted, “FERC is not likely to reject Cove Point unless it loses in court. This is all headed to court.”

This rally was just one facet of what is becoming the most vocal, well-organized and forward-looking mobilization in a generation. There will be many other events leading up to the People's Climate March on September 21st, and all Fall--stay tuned!

Photos by: Erik McGregor, Robert Chin, Beth Kemier, CCAN, Clare Donohue

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