Update 2017-08-03: The Senate already did it. But there are more nominations to oppose and other things you can do.
FERC could suddenly get a quorum. Another FERC nominee went to the Senate Wednesday: Richard Click, general counsel to the minority party, the Democrats, on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Even the two nominees already forwarded to the full Senate June 6, 2017 if confirmed, added to the one still at FERC, would produce a quorum of 3 out of 5. So please call your Senators now and ask them not to vote to confirm any FERC nominee who does not vow to turn the agency to solar and wind power on a smart grid.
No, this won’t stop or turn off Sabal Trail. But it could stop further pipeline boondoggles from being confirmed. That’s good in itself, and could also erode the credibility of Sabal Trail with its creditors.
Here are telephone numbers for Georgia and Florida Senators, and there’s a script farther down.
888-671-4091 toll free in Florida
239-334-7760 Fort Myers
561-514-0189 West Palm Beach
(866) 630-7106 toll free in Florida
(407) 254-2573 Orlando
(305) 418-8553 Miami
(904) 354-4300 Jacksonville
(850) 433-2603 Pensacola
(850) 599-9100 Tallahassee
(561) 775 3360 Palm Beach
The first two nominees have already been forwarded to the full Senate, but this new nominee, Richard Click, presumably would have to go through confirmation hearings in the same Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Yes, the same Committee for which he is general counsel to the minority: could that be a sufficient conflict of interest? Details of which Senators are on that Committee and how to contact them are in a previous post.
Here’s a sketch of how we got to the current FERC nominee situation.
- 2017-01-26: Cheryl A. LaFleur promoted to be Acting Chairman again, over the head of incumbent Chairman Norman Bay. Bay resigned from FERC that same day.
- 2017-02-03: Norman Bay’s resignation effective end of the day, leaving FERC with only two Commissioners out of five, which is not a quorum. The Commission hasn’t met since then.
- 2017-05-09: Two FERC nominees: Robert Powelson, a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and Neil Chatterjee, a senior energy policy advisoer to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
- 2017-05-25: Activists attempt to disrupt FERC nominee confirmation hearings in Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
- 2017-05-28: WWALS asks everyone to call that Committee.
- 2017-06-09: Same day FERC lets Sabal Trail turn on gas, Waterkeeper Alliance passes resolution to oppose FERC
- 2017-06-15: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee forwarded the two FERC nominees to the full Senate.
2017-06-19: Larissa Liebmann, Waterkeeper Alliance, Fight for a Fairer FERC! | Dive Into Democracy, includes this script for your call to your Senators:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today to urge you to vote against Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee [or Richard Click] joining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, otherwise known as FERC. FERC already unfairly prioritizes fossil fuel profits over the best interests of the public, and these nominees will only make this worse. They have shown a clear bias for fossil fuel interests. FERC should not act as a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry — it must require that any new interstate gas infrastructure is truly in the public interest. This should involve looking at many factors, including the impacts on communities on pipeline routes, the environmental impacts of leaks and spills, and whether the gas is really vital to meet our energy needs. Approving Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee [or Richard Click] to FERC would move the agency in the exactly wrong direction. When their nominations come to a vote, I ask that you please vote against their confirmations.”
I added the mentions of Richard Click. You may also want to mention that Sabal Trail didn’t even manage a week of being in service before it alarmed the public with its stink leak at the Dunnellon Compressor Station site, and it took a dozen days to get an answer out of the pipeline company or the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which said it wasn’t notified. No local emergency responders were notified, yet they had to spend tax dollars going out to the site to see what was going on. FERC has made no response at all. This is the kind of shoddy work and lack of response that new pipelines mean.
- 2017-06-30: Collette D. Honorable left FERC, which since then has had only one Commissioner.
- 2017-07-16: Sabal Trail Dunnellon Compressor Station leak: less than a week after Sabal Trail notified FERC its fracked methane pipeline was pumping gas, locals reported a very strong odor of gas starting Sunday morning and continuing for several days, as well as seeing emergency vehicles at the site all day Sunday and also Monday.
- 2017-07-27: 19 Questions from WWALS about Leak at Sabal Trail Dunnellon Compressor Station Site
- 2017-07-28: Enbridge about Sabal Trail stinks: it was an “odorant” leak, not a natural gas leak. Enbridge didn’t mention that it happened on more than one day, and only after 12 days did Enbridge or Sabal Trail bother to tell anybody this much.
2017-07-28: State and local responses to Dunnellon Sabal Trail stink
Sabal Trail did not notify state or local officials about their “odorant” leak at the Dunnellon Compressor Station site, and Sabal Trail’s response to WWALS failed to mention local people called the same stink in to 911 two days in a row. FDEP said there’s no need so long as Sabal Trail follows various permits, but gave no indication of who is checking to see if Sabal Trail does that. Apparently we the people have to keep doing what the state and federal agencies still aren’t doing: watch Sabal Trail like a hawk.
2017-08-02: S&P Global Platts, 3 August 2017, White House sends key FERC nominations to Senate,
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may be on the verge of regaining its quorum. In a move that bolsters prospects for fast floor action on two nominees to FERC that have stalled in the Senate, the White House late Wednesday sent over the formal nomination of the pick favored by Democrats, Richard Glick, general counsel to the minority on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
President Trump had announced his intent to nominate Glick in late June, but a holdup on sending over his paperwork was complicating efforts to get agreement between the parties to clear for floor action the two nominees already advanced out of committee: Neil Chatterjee, a long-time energy staffer to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Robert Powelson, a Pennsylvania utilities commissioner.
Many more organizations are involved in opposing FERC and FERC nominees; the above timeline just hits some high spots involving WWALS and Waterkeeper Alliance.
Remember, even two more FERC Commissioners would give FERC a quorum, which would let them approve more pipeline boondoggles. Please call your Senators now.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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