Agency refuses to acknowledge widespread outrage at role in burgeoning gas infrastructure.
On May 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in its monthly open meeting took up the issue of the electrical grid’s vulnerability to geomagnetic disturbances. But the government agency’s own vulnerability to public disturbance was front and center.
Federal Protective Services took extraordinary measures to prevent disruption of the Commission meeting by planned protests, barring access to about 30 members of the public. FPS also banned the use of recording devices, brushing aside FERC’s own rule expressly permitting it. Two people were escorted out of the meeting room, three arrested and two more detained.
FERC’s actions occurred after the last several Commission meetings were disrupted by protesters who object to FERC’s no holds barred approval of gas infrastructure projects, such as interstate gas pipelines. May’s meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 21, but it was moved up a week to thwart a protest planned by coalition group Beyond Extreme Energy, which has stepped up the pressure on the formerly obscure agency.