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Letter to the editor

Duke must know there is a battle for our lives and planet being fought right now. Today, Duke temporarily became a front line in that fight, when Cheryl LaFleur, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was prevented from giving a talk at the university by friends of mine holding a banner and obstructing the podium.

LaFleur was scheduled to speak about "our low-carbon future," which is really intolerable for those of us who have documented how the FERC systematically bends the regulatory process, short-changes it, takes action to undermine public comment, with the express goal of expediting the proliferation of carbon-based energy, to our catastrophe. The FERC is heinously irresponsible and rogue, deliberately isolated from oversight by the DOE. This is not hyperbole, or my opinion. There is a documented pattern of the commission accepting expired safety protocols, incompleted environmental assessments, and outright factual distortions as evidence in key projects that the commission reviews—projects where people's lives are at stake. In every case but one, the FERC has found the risk from the industrial projects it oversees to be negligible, despite the fact that many of those projects have led to environmental disasters, and sickness disproportionately visited upon the most under-represented and oppressed in our society. The commission is now deciding our future for us by foreclosing any chance we have at regulating industrial drivers of climate collapse.

We cannot and will not allow FERC to speak in functions that provide a cloak of decency and decorum to rogues. We cannot allow Cheryl LaFleur to legitimize and promulgate her authority and perspective when she and the FERC have demonstrated incapacity to perform their appointed function with requisite skill. She is unqualified to speak, and it is dangerous to let her do so. Again, people's lives are at stake. This is not academic.

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