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Dozens of Anti-Frack Protesters Arrested at FERC Headquarters

A week-long series of protests outside FERC headquarters in Washington, DC, by activists opposed to the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other energy industry practices, resulted in dozens of arrests but drew little attention, according to multiple reports.

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 7, protestors organized under the Beyond Extreme Energy umbrella vowed to "nonviolently sit-in and block" entrances at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headquarters. The protesters planned to spend each afternoon during the week moving from FERC "to other locations -- like the Energy Department and the White House."

In a resolution posted on its website, Beyond Extreme Energy called on the government to drop its "all of the above energy strategy, saying "fracking, tar sands, deep ocean drilling, Arctic drilling, and surface mining and undermining practices such as mountaintop removal and longwall coal mining" result in "ravaged landscapes, poisoned water, and weather convulsions. And it ensures catastrophic global warming for future generations. " They accused FERC of "rubber stamping industry pipelines, compressor stations and export facilities," and called on the agency "to reject the proposal to build a dangerous gas export facility at Cove Point and to place a moratorium on approvals of other export facilities."

A total of 63 arrests for blocking passage had been made by Friday afternoon, according to the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service (FPS), which is responsible for security at federal facilities. In addition, one person was arrested on Nov. 4 for assault and five people were arrested and arraigned Friday for unlawful entry, FPS said.

A FERC spokesperson said the agency would not comment on the demonstrations. "We are here, and work is getting done," the spokesperson said Friday.

Beyond Extreme Energy said its supporters protested at several energy industry locations it opposes during the week, including the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas facility in Calvert County, MD.

Late in the week the group added America's Natural Gas Alliance's (ANGA) corporate sponsorship of National Public Radio (NPR) to its list of grievances. About 20-25 activists were reported to have moved from FERC to nearby NPR headquarters. Beyond Extreme Energy leaders said ANGA's sponsorship on NPR had bought the industry preferential treatment. For example, they said, no NPR reporters covered their protests at FERC.

"They didn't cause any problems; they were peaceful; no arrests were made," an NPR spokesperson told NGI Friday.

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