Extinction Rebellion DC targets Public Service Commission over Washington Gas project

Early morning on the 21st of September, Extinction Rebellion DC showed up in front of the offices of the so-called "Public Service Commission." They painted a street murel renaming it the "Department of Climate Chaos" for failing to shut down Washington Gas's proposed $4.5 billion distribution pipe replacement plan.

It would be rather dificult for DC to first invest four and a half billion dollars in brand new fracked gas pipes, then walk away from them as climate chaos makes continued gas usage untenable. While "sunk costs" are supposed to be ignored in rational decision making, too often they are not. This $4.5 billion however isn't sunk yet.

Extinction Rebellion DC posted this press release:


21st September, 2022, Washington DC - Extinction Rebellion today targeted the government agency that has the authority to stop the construction of $4.5 billion of new fossil fuel infrastructure, marking a new phase in a months-long campaign to end the deadly pipeline project.

Early this morning, rebels with the global climate movement painted a large street mural with the words “End Methane, Electrify DC” outside the headquarters of the Public Service Commission, which it renamed the “Department of Climate Chaos” for its failure to stop Washington Gas’ $4.5 billion death project.

XR, as well as other environmental and social justice groups, want DC’s public utilities regulator to use its authority to stop Washington Gas’ pipeline project, which will lock DC into decades of greenhouse gas emissions, putting the city’s climate targets out of reach while endangering the safety and destroying the health of DC residents.

“The Public Service Commission has been tasked with ‘providing climate leadership,’ not climate chaos. Their hands-off approach to this toxic pipeline project has given the oil and gas industry a key to our city and our future. This obscure, unelected body is failing the city’s residents,” a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion DC (XRDC) said.

XRDC wants the PSC to use its regulatory authority to immediately start working with the city’s administration on a just transition plan that prioritizes DC’s most marginalized people and ends the city’s reliance on gas. This transition is not only possible, but necessary for the health and well-being of current and future generations.

Quick facts about the PSC:

The PSC is an obscure, unelected, unaccountable body that is supposed to regulate utility companies like Washington Gas. Despite the egregious errors in Washington Gas’ climate business plan, the PSC has remained silent.

The PSC receives its funding from the same utility companies it is supposed to regulate. Little wonder it is allowing Washington Gas to spend $4.5 billion on new fossil fuel infrastructure that will devastate the health and safety of residents in our beloved city.

The Council of the District of Columbia requires at least 1 of the 3 PSC commissioners to have experience with renewable energy and grid modernization. Both current commissioners have legal backgrounds and are not qualified to lead on climate. With the final seat vacant, the third commissioner may as well be Washington Gas itself.

Photo by Extinction Rebellion DC

Photo by Extinction Rebellion DC

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