Bad news about FERC & Jordan Cove

As we feared, and warned only yesterday, in the midst of the global pandemic the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved the Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline today.

The approval is conditioned on Pembina, the Canadian fossil fuel corporation behind the project, qualifying for critical permits from the state of Oregon, three of which have already been denied or withdrawn. But it’s still an incredibly disappointing decision from a rogue, rubber stamp agency.

It was only last Thursday that Senate Republicans rammed through a vote on James Danly to be a new commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Danly is the first totally partisan nominee – traditionally one Democrat and one Republican are nominated together. While a handful of Senators commented on the unusual decision to stack a supposedly bi-partisan commission with three Republicans and one Democrat.

And more than 14,000 of us wrote demanding changes at FERC, and we delivered all your signatures to each Senator before the vote. But Danly is a fossil fuel industry darling, and Senators Murkowski, Manchin, and McConnell were eager for him to secure their majority on FERC, which oversees all inter-state pipelines and fossil fuel export facilities. Hours after Danly was confirmed FERC fast-tracked the application to build the Jordan Cove gas export terminal proposed in Oregon, which was denied a permit by one vote in February.

I’m not sure which is more frustrating: The fact that Senate Republicans stacked the commission so they could ram through a fossil fuel project, or that the Republican FERC majority took the time to meet during a pandemic to approve a project that the Oregon communities, their elected officials, and local environmental agencies already oppose.

For now, the good news is that Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline can’t be built unless and until local permits are issued — and three of them have been rejected in the last few months. As for what’s next, I’ll re-iterate our request to keep your eyes on the frontlines. You can do that by staying in touch with our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy about next steps on FERC, and you can sign on petition in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.

You can also call on the Senate not to repeat their mistake this week by telling them to focus Corona virus response on people and communities, and not corporations and polluters. The Senate is starting debate tonight on a potential trillion dollar relief package for the corona virus. Initial bad ideas included direct bailouts of the fracking and fossil fuel industries. The more recent bad ideas have included a big bailout of the airline industry (who needs help to support workers, but doesn’t deserve a bailout without strings and scrutiny). Click here to tell your Senators to make sure any economic recovery bill helps workers and communities – not corporations and polluters.

Sign now to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been binging on fossil fuel approvals again. In the last few months they’ve voted on party line to make ratepayers pay more money to subsidize fossil fuels, tried to influence the outcome of court decision in favor of fossil fuels before the trial, and called the fight to stop tolling orders a “losing the PR battle badly”.

At the same time, a growing number of elected officials and candidates are seriously considering our proposal to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC) as part of a Green New Deal. Leading presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have signed on, and Congress held a hearing last week on potential reforms to the Natural Gas Act.

FERC’s next meeting is February 20th, and our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy and many other groups will be making our presence felt. Sign on to this statement to support them, and consider their invitation to join us in DC as well!

What’s FERC been up to that’s so bad?

That is why 198 methods, BXE and 220 other organizations are campaigning for FERC to be replaced by FREC, a new Federal Renewable Energy Commission. As part of a Green New Deal, FREC would be charged with ending all fossil fuel use and regulating utility markets as they transition to 100% clean and renewable power over the next few years.

We urge you to consider taking part with us in our nonviolent action on February 20th. Click here to learn more and sign up to join us in DC.

As a first step, please sign our petition to turn FERC Into FREC. We’ll deliver all the signatures to leaders in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Trump’s newest FERC nominee is just as corrupt as you think.

We’ve written before about how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rubber stamps new pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure, locking us into decades fo climate chaos. And in particular how Trump’s FERC has acted again and again to prioritize fossil fuel profits over the health, safety and civil rights of American citizens.

So, in context, Trump’s latest FERC nominee James Danly doesn’t look all that surprising. But in this case, dangerous things come in bland packages:

Danly, who currently serves as the general counsel to FERC claims to be a “humble regulator.” But what he actually means:

Danly’s credo draws on core tenets of the Federalist Society, an influential group of conservatives and libertarians … said several attorneys who practice before FERC

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060534923

That’s right, Danly wants to take control of America’s energy infrastructure the same way Brett Kavanaugh and Trump’s other wildly unqualified, super-conservative, almost-always-white-male judges are taking over the judiciary. And, not surprisingly, he wants to get there in a similar way to how Kavanaugh got on the court.

Our best chance to stop Trump’s latest ultra-conservative nominee is to bottle up his nomination in a committee hearing. Can you sign here to tell the Senate Energy Committee to vote no on James Danly, Tump’s latest climate-denying FERC nominee?

Here’s the short version of how we got here: FERC has seen record turnover since Trump was elected. With the departure of Democratic Commissioner Cherly LaFleur earlier this summer, there are only three commissioners left, two Republicans and one Democrat). That’s barely enough for a quorum, and gives the last remaining Democrat, Richard Glick extra leverage to block votes or halt projects by refusing to participate.

At the same time, there’s been an explosion in protests and opposition to pipelines. Inspired by campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, activists have been rising up to resist fossil fuel infrastructure from coast to coast. We’ve been part of a number of those campaigns and I know you have been too. At the same time, our allies have been suing every pipeline they can to slow them down and stop the approval process. And in a few very important instances, the combination of those tactics – the lawyers suing and the people protesting – have combined to stop big projects like Keystone and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

So the fossil fuel companies are getting nervous. They’ve been enthusiastically backing Trump’s attempt to pack the court, and are betting billions of dollars that the Supreme Court will back them where lower courts have consistently sided with landowners, the environment, and climate action.

And that’s where Danly comes in: Fossil fuel profiteers and their cronies in the Trump Administration can only win in court if they have regulators who ignore the lower courts. They’ve succeeded in firing or driving out thousands of civil servants at the EPA and Interior Department, and replaced them with lifelong fossil fuel cronies like Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt. Those guys were put in charge because they were corrupt, but not cartoonish, as their predecessors Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke had been.

Just like Wheeler is a less-ridiculous but equally-evil alternative to Pruitt, Danly is a less flamboyant version of Bernard McNamee – the Republican FERC nominee who drew unanimous opposition from Senate Democrats just about 1 year ago. Danly claims to be more moderate, but he’s the legal mind behind FERC’s refusal to even consider the climate impacts of pipelines and projects it reviews.

And, just like Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Danly’s nomination follows a Republican campaign to stack FERC with their preferred commissioners. FERC commissioners are usually nominated in pairs – one Democrat and One Republican – to maintain the legally required balance on the commission. But Danly marks the third Republican nomination in a row, and comes even as a Democratic Nominee to replace LaFleur is waiting for consideration. It’s part of a continuing trend to pack the FERC with Trump-style fossil fuel allies.

Danly’s first hearing is tomorrow, but he wont get a vote in the full Senate for a few weeks. So sign now and we’ll deliver your name to the Senate ASAP!