September 14, 2015, Press Release
For more information, call or text Melinda Tuhus at 203.623.2186 (back-up number is Ted Glick, 973.460.1458)
FERC Fasters Enter Second Week; Welcome Franciscans to Fasting in D.C.
The dozen members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) who began fasting on September 8, calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to stop issuing permits for fracked gas pipelines, export terminals and other infrastructure, are entering the second week of their 18-day, water-only fast. They say FERC’s actions exacerbate our climate crisis and devastate communities, since methane (the main ingredient of natural gas) is a powerful global warming gas.
They can be found sitting on chairs or talking to FERC employees and passersby from 7 a.m. each weekday morning until 6 p.m. outside FERC headquarters, 888 First St. NE in D.C.
After they leave the FERC building tonight (Monday), the BXE fasters will head to McPherson Square (15th and K St NW), where a dozen members of the Franciscan Action Network began their own fast today in preparation for the arrival of Pope Francis in the city later this month. Francis, who takes his name from St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order, will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 24. His recent encyclical, Laudato Si, On Care for Our Common Home, focuses on the need to reverse climate change, with its disproportionate impact on the world’s poor.
On Sunday night, BXE faster Steve Norris punched three more holes in his belt, “so my jeans don’t fall off,” said the 72-year-old from Asheville, N.C. Other fasters are pulling the string holding up their pants a little snugger. They are being joined by others every day, some of whom come to FERC, others who fast in their own communities.
They plan to break their fast on Friday, Sept. 25 with a procession around FERC, and leaders from various faith traditions deliver copies of the Pope’s encyclical to the five FERC commissioners.
Today, in addition to the FERC-focused cards they’ve handed out every day, BXE fasters and their supporters passed out cards saying “Black Lives Matter” on the front, with an explanation on the back that climate change – driven in part by all the approvals granted by FERC – impacts low-income communities and communities of color “first and worst.” Hurricane Katrina is just one tragic example.