|Weiser State Forest, between the underground mine fires of Centralia |
and the ongoing anthracite mining just over the next mountain.
Photo, Wendy Lynne Lee
Here's four very good ways to tell that professional "activists" like Karen Feridun of the politically expedient Wanna-Be Big Green Berks Gas Truth (BGT) and Pennsylvanians Against Fracking (PAF) are simply removed from anything authentically grassroots--and are far more interested in keeping their place at the holy table of the Democrat Party by doing what at this point in history can be described as nothing more than misleading, momentum-deflating busy work:
First--here's the robo-letter I got in my email this morning from the entirely fake "Say No to the Atlantic Sunrise" campaign:
"Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season! I wanted to take a moment to thank you for speaking out on so many important issues this year.
I need to ask your help once again. The Atlantic Sunrise pipeline would cut a 178-mile path through eight counties in Pennsylvania. If it's approved, the pipeline will supply gas to the recently-approved Cove Point LNG export facility in Maryland where it would be shipped overseas. While the fight continues to keep plans for Cove Point from going forward, communities up and down the proposed route of the Atlantic Sunrise are working together to stop the pipeline from being built. Our friends at the Clean Air Council have started a petition on their behalf.
By signing the petition, you're telling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and our state and federal elected officials to say NO to the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Please support our friends fighting to spare their communities and natural resources the permanent scar this pipeline would create.
Here's the url you can copy and paste into your browser if the link above causes you any problems. http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51176/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12086
Thank you so much for your help, as always!
How do I know the objective here is PAF's political fortunes and not putting a halt to this pipeline, that BGT and PAF are little more than devices to advance their operative's careers as professional "activists"?
1. Feridun didn't do any work with those of us on the actual ground in Columbia County--indeed, we weren't even contacted--to (a) organize folks on the pipeline ROW, (b) gain access to township supervisors, (c) organize township meeting with residents, (d) orchestrate signatures. Indeed, most of the folks who actually matter here--the ones who'll live with the consequences of this pipeline--won't even see this petition, and even if they did, their wholly on-the-dollar response is going to be "How will this help me?" Answer: it won't. Many of us have been working tirelessly on opposing this pipeline. Feridun neither consulted with us nor bothered herself to learn anything about how ASP is playing out out here in rural Columbia County, PA. She certainly didn't bother to come and see what ASP means to people on our stretch of the ROW. If she had, she have realized that...
2. Petitions are worthless. As a movement, we have completely, entirely, fully exhausted the value of petitions for anything other than getting names to solicit for--more petitions. Moreover, if Feridun had bothered to consult with any of the many real grassroots organizers in Columbia County along ASP's proposed path, she'd know that we are way beyond the value of a petition. We know who is on the right of way. We have the maps. We have been working on all of this for months. And petitions are now just a really great way for the police and the FBI to surveil us even more effectively.
3. Feridun knows that petitioning to FERC is a complete waste of time energy and momentum. It does sustained damage to this movement to keep up the lie that FERC will do anything other than permit this pipeline. What we must be prepared to do is prevent Williams from building the pipeline after FERC permits it--that is the argument for township ordinances and the commitment to nonviolent but sustained and massive civil disobedience in defense of them.
4. The letter was sent to me--which means that Feridun didn't even look at the list of email addresses on the petitions list. Had she, she'd have known that I'd draft this excoriating response in defense of my neighbors on this pipeline ROW.
So what is the real motive here? To appropriate the campaign to stop ASP for Feridun's own activist career portfolio? To exploit Stop the Pipeline for political gain?
Not going to happen.
The folks who do actual work on ASP get to take that credit--and most of these folks are also holding down full-time jobs. Is it to look like PAF/BGT are actually a part of this struggle against the pipeliners? No--also not going to happen. This struggle does not get to become just one more opportunity for the wanna-be Big Greens to take advantage of the very real struggles of the folks who do the real work and suffer the very very real consequences to pad their fake activist resumes.
Not on my watch--and I strongly encourage the good folks at the Clean Air Council to review their alliances.
Indeed, why did we ever think that petitions, letters to our electeds, pleas to our county commissioners, comments to FERC, appeals to DEP, sparsely attended protests on the steps of the Harrisburg Capitol, or chatting with Governor Elect Wolf, were going to stop this nightmare called carbon extraction at any cost--so long as that can be outsourced to
Our petitions ARE accessible to the gas industry AND to the police/FBI agents that surveil us.
Letters to our electeds fall on deaf ears.
Pleas to county commissioners and township supervisors are heard only by their lawyers--who say "Do not listen to those who elected you! You'll be sued!"
FERC works for the gas industry.
FERC works for the gas industry.
DEP...works for the gas industry.
And Wolf is as in bed with the gas thugs as his predecessor.
When we win a lawsuit against FERC we are instructing the gas and the pipeline companies about how to make their permit applications airtight on the next round of application.
When we let down our guard on the hope that DEP might be doing its job because we finally get to know about contaminated wells, we forget that DEP does nothing about preventing future contaminated wells.
And then we just keep doing the same things over and over--as if tomorrow's petition, protest, appeal, comment, luncheonwith Wolf....will make a difference.
And while we're dithering, THIS happens:
Isn't it time we recognized that for an industry whose counting on making BILLIONS before the boom goes bust--as it will far sooner than BILLIONS can be made--these strategies are less than the tickle of a May Fly?
We must empower our townships one at a time with ordinances that protect their right to self-determination consistent with the rights of all of its members to clean air and water--and then we must be prepared to defend those ordinances with our bodies.
Until we are ready to be water-cannoned like the brave folks of Selma, Alabama;
until we are ready to be arrested like the now 92 people at Watkin's Glen; until we are ready to be pepper-sprayed, hand-cuffed, and jailed for non-violent action in massive numbers, we are not going to turn this around.
The sooner we get clear about this fact, and grow some fortitude, righteousness, and genuine solidarity (as opposed to the "solidarity of political expediency"), the better.
While we're looking for ways to rationalize our cowardice, the planet is burning.
Wendy Lynne Lee