This is how we win…Thank you

photo by Penn Johnson

It’s not very often that we win doing social movement work. Two weeks ago while the pro fracking senators were taking control of the Senate, the Fracking Movement actually had a winning scorecard for the first time in a long time. We had 8 ballot measures up for a vote and we won 4 of them (California, Ohio, and Texas). Our win in Denton, TX was historic – communities are rising up to protect their health.

During these victories on election day – there was another victory happening throughout election week. One that CNN didn’t cover even though it was happening two buildings down, one that was not covered by the mainstream at all. A crew of as many as 150 concerned citizens focused their collective energy toward FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

A relatively unknown government agency was prevented from functioning through Nonviolent Direct Action for an entire week.

The relatively unknown FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is one of the many responsible parties in the massive expansion of gas and oil infrastructure. FERC approve polluting compressor stations next to our schools, the explosive pipelines that bisect our neighborhoods and farmlands, and the export facilities that prove the falsehood shale gas will create American energy independence. FERC wields a rubber stamp when it comes to issuing permits for fracking infrastructure projects and until now has escaped public scrutiny.

Penni Laine, Maggie Henry, and Alex Lotorto from Pennsylvania help block FERC entrances to protest the agency’s approval of infrastructure for fracked gas. //photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

Our real victory at FERC that week, was not that almost 150 concerned citizens were arrested but that we put FERC on the defensive. TWICE the current executive director of FERC Anton C. Porter, came down to talk to the impacted community members who were blocking the entrances to the FERC offices. On Friday 150 FERC employees ( or about 10% of their workforce – let that sink in for a bit) was prevented from getting to work for over 4 hours. Instead those FERC employees had the opportunity to meet and listen to the communities that their actions impact. (People like Maggie Henry and Michael Badges-Canning)


The national fracking movement is growing – a majority of Americans oppose fracking and a new wave is taking over. We will continue to build on our victories.  And we will continue to use nonviolent direct action in an effective way. We are realizing that our representatives and public servants in Washington need to fear and hear us or they will walk all over us. Although many local election results and the anti-environmental majority of the new Senate is devastating, the power of the people doesn’t stop or start at the election box. Our power starts in the streets – with a PVC pipe in between you and your fellow activist.

Looking forward to 2015,