Stop it! Just stop it! This isn't the way to increase public transparency or make FERC stop approving pipelines. It only succeeds to make FERC and the rest of society more inclined to dismiss public participation in FERC processes as ignorant and pointless bullying.
The refusal of a handful of gas pipeline protestors to engage in constructive advocacy, and instead simply make pests of themselves, doesn't accomplish anything. Interrupting the monthly meetings (and every other activity underway in the general vicinity) does not make FERC less likely to approve pipelines. Sure, maybe it feels good to the ones doing it for a few minutes. Everyone should join a non-violent protest at least once in life, the crowd-speak high is exhilarating, but that feeling is never shared by the folks on the receiving end. If you want change, create it! It can't be created by a couple hours of non-committal "fun." It takes years of actual education, work, and commitment to a goal to effect constructive change. It can't be accomplished quicker by ignorant mass action. What may have started out as a good idea to urge the public to become involved in the process as a way to effect change has gone too far.
Last week, FERC's fan club went too far with their "week of action." In addition to the usual protests outside the building, these folks cranked it up on a personal level to "camp out" outside the homes of the FERC Commissioners. And they announced that they would send people into the open meeting to interrupt it. And what was the result? A webcast open meeting. Instead of expanding transparency, it actually had the opposite effect.
If you think FERC's rules are designed to give advantage to pipeline companies, change the rules. There's a civilized process in place to do just that. Trying to bully FERC to operate outside the existing rules can only fail.
According to the rules, pipeline opponents may intervene in the established process in order to make their case for disapproval. And thousands of ordinary folks have been encouraged to do so, and have intervened. But it seems to stop there, when it shouldn't. Simply intervening, without actually participating in the legal process, doesn't accomplish anything. No matter how many people passively intervene, the pipeline company will actively participate -- and that may be the only voice FERC hears.
A week? Is that all the commitment these folks have to effecting change? Change is a long-term commitment, not a night on the sidewalk harassing a regulator who is following existing rules. Don't let your message get lost on the messenger.