24 arrested protesting natural gas exports in DC

Opponents of a proposed natural gas export facility in Cove Point, Md., were arrested Monday after blockading two entrances to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

At least 24 of the protesters, which included residents from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, were arrested for blocking the doors and turned over to D.C. Metropolitan Police for processing.

FERC is responsible for signing off on the on location placement of onshore and near-shore export facilities. Last year, the Energy Department approved the Cove Point facility after finishing its environmental review of the project.

Now, getting approval from FERC is one of the last steps the facility must go through.

Monday's protest came after a weekend rally that involved over 1,000 people urging the Obama administration to reject the Maryland export facility by the Chesapeake Bay.

Protesters argued that building facilities like Cove Point would only spur further natural gas extraction, which they claim pollutes drinking water in communities and harms the climate.

Debate over more natural gas exports has gained momentum on Capitol Hill this year as lawmakers have pressed the administration to speed up shipments to countries like Ukraine, which are dependent on Russia's energy supply.