FERC’s unfair practices and procedures need to be made public

 

If you’ve dealt with FERC, you have no need for us to explain to you how unfair it is.  Likely, you’ve had a natural gas project impact your home or community.  You’ve written letters, gone to public meetings, tried to engage the help of elected officials, maybe acted as an intervener.  You may have scraped the funds together to hire a lawyer, maybe taking your case all the way to the Court of Appeals.  You’ve likely played by rules that were laid out for you and, in the end, you’re left with a pipeline, a compressor station, a storage facility, LNG facility or other type of natural gas infrastructure.

And, as fracking goes full steam ahead, power plants are being converted to natural gas, and LNG export facilities are being approved, you’re aware that the number of projects before FERC has mushroomed.  And you realize that all these other communities are going to have a very uphill fight to avoid going down the same path of research, fund raising, letter writing, coming out to public meetings and intervening only to have the project approved by FERC anyway.

By segmenting various projects, each community is forced to play catch-up.  We do not have the privilege the gas industry does of three day conferences with FERC to teach us how to navigate the process, we aren’t familiar with NEPA regulations and the Natural Gas Act jurisdiction, and we don’t have high-powered attorneys at our beck and call.

While as communities we may fight separate projects, we must unite to take on FERC.

So, we are asking you to help us do something about this.  We would like to gather a comprehensive, detailed list of how FERC has failed in its duties.  We want specific instances of when FERC has segmented projects, violated NEPA, wasn’t responsive to stakeholders, problems with the FOIA or CEII process, or whatever else your experience may be.

Our hope is to gather a very detailed and damning list that explains clearly the FERC failed process.  We would then all be able to use it as we felt best. We’d definitely get it to friendly press. We could publicize it during actions this spring at FERC (http://beyondextremeenergy.org). We could demand a meeting with the new, incoming chair of FERC, Norman Bay. We could compose a sign-on letter to Congressional representatives, asking for a full-out investigation and review of FERC. A couple of Senators have already requested a DOE investigation of FERC. What if we take this comprehensive compendium to our Senators in MD, PA, NY, NJ, OH, WV, VA, MA and elsewhere?  We want to give responsive Senators more ammunition.  We want Congressional members from across the region to have the information necessary to hold FERC accountable.

By uniting various groups in a broad region, we have more power to demand that action be taken. We are no longer just one community but many communities joining together.  Too long the industry has been able to segment projects and disempower us.  If we are to win, we must unite.

Thank you for your consideration, and please, let us hear from you with your specific examples of FERC’s unfair practices and processes. Please get back to us by March 15th by sending them to Ann at gascompressornews@gmail.com.

Ann Nau, Myersville Citizens for a Rural Community
Ted Glick, Chesapeake Climate Action Network