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WASHINGTON, DC — Actor James Cromwell, who was arrested in 2015 for a sit-in protest of the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) power plant and who later served two days in jail; and Pramilla Malick, who was arrested with him and also spent a couple of days behind bars, have once again tested the patience of the powers-that-be in the energy industry.
Cromwell and Malick traveled to Washington, DC on November 16 to attend the monthly meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Specifically they wanted to take the commission to task for granting permission for the Valley Lateral Pipeline to begin construction even after the New York State Department of Environmental Protection declined to issue the project a necessary certificate because of an inadequate environmental review.
Malick and Cromwell are members of Protect Orange County, and they were joined in the action by Green America, a green economy organization, and Seeding Sovereignty, an anti-fracking group.
The pipeline project would connect the Millennium Pipeline, which runs through Sullivan County, to the CPV plant, and is at least one of the reasons Millennium wants to install a compressor station on the pipeline near Eldred.
Cromwell and Malick were removed from the meeting after addressing the commissioners. Cromwell said, “FERC is a rapacious and reckless agency which is an existential threat to all sentient beings. They don’t give a FERC about air, water, the law, protected eagles, endangered species, or people. They especially don’t give a FERC about the climate. No single entity is more responsible for climate change than FERC. They have blood on their hands and must be stopped.”
In a reference to the controversial Minisink compressor station, Malick said, “Minisink was the first community to come to FERC six years ago. We engaged the process faithfully only to learn that this agency does not serve the public interest but rather enables an industry with an egregious sense of entitlement… FERC’s current showdown with the State of New York demonstrates the agency’s absolute contempt for state authority and the environmental protections established to protect our air and water.”
FERC has been the subject of several protests in recent years, including one in September at which representatives of more than 100 activist groups turned out to a meeting to object to the agency’s behavior.
To this point, FERC commissioners have not acknowledged the complaints of critics or issued any kind of statement or release about them. Critics have thus far been unable to identify any member of Congress willing to investigate or address the commission’s practices.