I attended the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearing last night at Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County. The purpose of the hearings was for FERC to obtain public comments from citizens based on its latest report for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline.
The hearings are conducted in such a manner that individuals sign up to speak and each speaker is given 3-minutes. The first 20 speakers from Lancaster County were against the pipeline. As part of their 3-minutes speeches, they went at great length to ridicule the representatives from FERC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with each speaker they all concluded at the end of each speech stating that FERC does not decide, but Lancaster does and Lancaster County says, “No.”
After these first 20 speakers, individuals in favor of the pipeline begun to speak and the anti-pipeline attendees started booing and swearing at these individuals. The FERC Chairwoman had to threaten stopping the hearings because of their outlandish behavior. Eventually, the Chairwoman got control of the meeting and more speakers for and against spoke.
When it was my turn, I mentioned my experiences and how the system works between the government issuing regulations and the oil and gas industry adhering to them. I gave examples of how the system works. I guess the facts are hard to take. I was soundly booed and the hearing became so disruptive the Chairwoman terminated the hearings.
I found it interesting how the anti-pipeline group spoke freely and without interruption. The anti’s felt that the pro-pipeline speakers did not have the same rights that they had and tried to prevent them from stating their case. I always thought that both cases are made and the facts speak for themselves. Obviously, the anti’s did not feel their facts were strong enough to stand up to the pro-pipeline facts. Hence, anti’s tried to silence the competitive facts.
If I were a resident of Lancaster County, I would have been thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed by the rude and crude conduct of the Lancaster County residents that participated last night. They went out of their way to alienate every non-Lancaster County attendee.
After last night’s fiasco my opinion of a friendly and welcoming Lancaster County has changed based on those residents representing the county. It will be difficult for me to visit Lancaster let along to say anything positive about Lancaster after their show of behavior last night. And their iconic Shoo-Fly pie, I’ll pass.