In February 2022 , the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued two new rules updating how the commission reviews and approves new pipelines, Liquefied “natural” gas (LNG), gas export facilities and more.
The first rule updated the 1999 rules on Natural Gas permitting to, for the first time, include environmental justice impacts. The second rule focused on the Commission’s assessment of the impact of a project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These were the first revisions in more than 20 years to FERC’s policies. Neither rule was perfect, but both were encouraging steps toward finally reviewing the real impacts of pipelines and fossil fuel projects at FERC.
Then, in March, Joe Manchin and the fossil fuel industry got involved. And on March 24th, FERC’s Democratic commissioners capitulated, and reversed both policy statements.
We have just days left to demand FERC, and especially the majority of Democrats on the Commission, listen to climate science, common sense, and the public and do not roll back their only rules on climate and environmental justice. Can you join us and partners at Beyond Extreme Energy to submit a comment today?
Manchin held a hearing specifically to yell at FERC commissioners over the new rules. Fossil gas companies claimed (inaccurately) that even talking about changing the rules was illegal. And, of course, the war in Ukraine sent global fossil fuel prices soaring, and increased political pressure on the Biden administration to ramp up production and export of fossil gas (LNG).
A few weeks later, FERC folded like a bunch of cowardly cheap suits. And just after that, they gave another permit to the failing Mountain Valley Pipeline without any consideration of the climate or environmental impacts of the project. This is nothing more than an act of political cowardice, and an utter betrayal of climate and environmental justice.
Everyone – from the courts, to the International Energy Agency, to climate scientists, to millions of Americans calling for change – EVERYONE knows that to protect communities and the climate from catastrophic pollution and climate chaos, FERC has to at least consider the impacts of projects they permit on climate and environmental Justice.
Recent court rulings have specifically ordered FERC to take action, and found that Commissioners have fallen short of their legal duties to consider environmental justice and climate impacts. As recently as March 15, a federal appellate court once again reprimanded FERC for inadequate environmental assessment analysis of the downstream effect of greenhouse gasses.
FERC is choosing to remain a rubber stamp agency for the fossil fuel industry. But if we send them thousands of comments on these two dockets, they cannot ignore the stark choice before them.
Tell FERC not to back down on Climate and Environmental Justice – we will make sure each and every letter is filed in the appropriate Dockets, and cc your message to FERC’s feckless Office of Public Participation.