Call U.S. Senate Energy Committee about Sabal Trail and FERC violations

Update 2017-08-03: The Senate already confirmed those two nominees. But there are more nominations to oppose and other things you can do.

Update 2017-06-15: On 6 June 2017 the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee forwarded two FERC nominees, but the full Senate has not voted on them, so you can lobby your Senators to vote no.

You can follow up after five people were arrested Thursday protesting confirmation hearings for FERC nominees in the U.S. Senate Energy Committee. The committee hasn’t made any decisions yet, so there’s still time to tell your Senator or members of that committee what FERC or its rubberstamped pipelines have done, so they can refuse to confirm any nominee who does not vow to turn FERC away from more pipelines and towards sun, wind, and a smart grid.

Photo: Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered the nominations of (left to right) Dan Brouillette to be deputy Energy secretary and Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to fill vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

They’re also considering a nominee for deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy, which department’s Office of Fossil Energy rubberstamped half a dozen LNG export operations in Florida. You can tell the Senators that you don’t want him, either, unless he will turn to the sun.

You can ask the Senate Energy Committee to go beyond that: it can hold hearings on reforming FERC to promote clean, renewable, profitable sun and wind power instead of obsolete 20th century dirty fossil fuels.

Contact the Senators

Follow the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources link for the hearing to see video of the meeting and testimony documents by the three nominees.

The purpose of the hearing is to consider the nominations of Mr. Dan R. Brouillette of Texas to be Deputy Secretary of Energy, and Mr. Neil Chatterjee of Kentucky and Mr. Robert F. Powelson of Pennsylvania to be Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Everybody with a reason why FERC should not approve Sabal Trail going in service can send their reasons not only to FERC but also to members of that Senate committee, as examples of FERC’s pipelines damaging people, water, ecology, and economy, and why FERC should be promoting solar power instead? If you need some examples, see WWALS asks FERC to deny Sabal Trail’s in-service request and to revoke its permit or WWALS adds evidence, again asks FERC to stay Sabal Trail, revoke its permit, plus do a SEIS 2017-06-05.

Ditto anyone with objections to the many LNG export operations approved by the U.S. DoE Office of Fossil Energy. See Sabal Trail and LNG Export by truck, rail, and ship.

None of the members the Committee lists, are from Florida or Georgia. Only one is from the other state invaded by Sabal Trail: Senator Luther Strange (R-AL), recently appointed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to replace Jeff Sessions. Strange claims he is for “energy independence” and “our nation’s abundant energy resources”. Perhaps he can be convinced solar and wind power fit that bill, not offshore drilling or pipelines.

Most of the AL,GA,FL Senators have taken campaign finance funds from pipeline PACs, so going to Senators from elsewhere probably is a good thing.

Here’s how to reach each U.S. Senator.


+ Likely helpful; – Likely unhelpful ; ? Hard to say

+ Ranking Member Senator Maria Cantwell (R-WA): 202 224 3441
+ Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT): 202 224 5141
+ Senator Al Franken (D-MN): 202 224 5641
+ Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR): 202 224 5244
+ Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): 202 224 4822
+ Senator Angus King (D-ME): 202 224 5344
+ Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI): 202 224 6361
+ Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL): 202 224 2854
+ Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV): 202 224 3542
+ Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV): 202 224 3954 says he’s for coal, but apparently he is not for drilling or pipelines.
+ Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM): 202 224 5521


+ Likely helpful; – Likely unhelpful ; ? Hard to say

– Senator Committee Chair Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): 202 224 6665
– Senator Rob Portman (R-OH): 202 224 3353
* Senator John Barrasso (R-WY): 202 224 6441
– Senator Jim Risch (R-ID): 202 224 2752
– Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): 202 224 5444
– Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ): 202 224 4521
– Senator Steve Daines (R-MT): 202 224 2651
– Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) : 202 224 5941
? Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN): 202 224 4944 says climate change is real and he does not appear to explicitly advocate more drilling or pipelines.
? Senator John Hoeven (R-ND): 202 224 2551 actually said he thinks North Dakota went too fast in exploiting oil.
– Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): 202 224 5824
* Senator Luther Strange: 202 224 4124

If you want a script to follow when calling, you can modify one from APPPL (Alliance to Protect Our People and the Places We Love).

Help us call on Congress to push for what we really need—congressional hearings that lead to needed reforms and an agency dedicated to facilitating a just transition to an exploitation-free energy system based on locally controlled and distributed renewable sources.


Some Senate Energy Committee members can be expected to be unhelpful, but even they should be concerned about property rights and destruction of agriculture and Florida’s tourism economy.

* Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), found an alleged conflict of interest that caused former FERC Chair Jon Wellinghoff to resign shortly after Wellinghoff predicted in 2013 that more U.S. electric energy would come from solar power by about 2023 than from any other source.

Still, it could be worth pointing out to Barrasso how wrong were his predictions in a speech to ALEC about China emissions, economy, energy, and solar power. Who knows? Maybe he can be convinced the world has changed.

Kate Winston, Platts, 26 May 2017, Protests punctuate Senate hearing on US FERC, DOE nominees,

Senator Al Franken, Democrat-Minnesota, who was filling in for the ranking member of the committee, hailed the economic opportunity for the US to pursue clean energy technology.

“Both [DOE] and [FERC] can play a key role in this clean energy revolution or they can hold us back while our international competitors reap the rewards,” Franken said. “That is the prism through which I will consider the nominees that we hear from today.”

Franken asked the FERC nominees what should be done to integrate distributed energy technologies into the electric grid.

Chatterjee answered, “I think we need to look at our grid infrastructure to make sure that it’s prepared to deal with this transformation, as different technologies and renewables come into the marketplace.”

Powelson pointed to his work on the issue at NARUC. “The first thing I did as NARUC president was to implement an innovation task force to bring all these new technology providers into a working conversation with NARUC commissioners,” he said.

Hannah Northey, E&E News, 25 May 2017, Protests interrupt hearing, but DOE and FERC picks on track,

“I am not a climate denier,” said Robert Powelson, a former Pennsylvania regulator nominated to fill a Republican seat on FERC. Powelson said carbon emissions are central to public policy discussions and noted that for the first time since the 1970s, the U.S. power sector had lower emissions than transportation.

Throughout the hearing, Powelson repeatedly called for building out the gas pipeline system in the United States, and he credited gas as a “huge driver” in lowering his state’s emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and mercury by 32 percent. Natural gas, he said, accounts for about a third of the state’s power.

While increasing leaked methane, which is a far worse greenhouse gas, taking lands through eminent domain, gouging rights of way through fields, forests, and neighborhoods and under rivers, and risking water, ecology, economy, and lives. No new pipelines. Let the sun rise!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

One thought on “Call U.S. Senate Energy Committee about Sabal Trail and FERC violations

  1. Pingback: Florida on front lines against Sabal Trail –Truthout 2017-06-08 | WWALS Watershed Coalition (Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®)

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