FERC Chairman running scared of pipeline opposition

Especially scared of Sierra Club’s DC Circuit Court win against FERC and Sabal Trail. He said the “sea change” in sophistication of the opposition reminded him of the No Nukes movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe he forgets: we won! And solar and wind power are already winning against pipelines.

John Siciliano, 30 November 2017, Washington Examiner, FERC chairman takes a break from discussing coal plan to slam pipeline protesters,

FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee

There has been a “sea change in the identity, volume and goals of stakeholders participating in our proceedings, as well as in the nature and tone of the rhetoric of those who oppose pipeline projects.”

Adding to the national activist groups are the “political branches” of state and federal governments that “these pipeline opponents” now possess, alluding to members of Congress and state attorneys general that look to block fossil fuel development.

“Possess” is an add way to put it. Well, maybe not when viewed by the Chairman of an agency that brags about being 100% funded by fees and charges from the industries it supposedly regulates. Maybe he can’t distinguish that from elected officials standing up for the people they represent.

He referred to “clever” legal strategies that slow down pipelines even if they do not win, while “emboldening” opposition by states.

The FERC chairman also said it has become increasingly “evident that these folks are growing more confident in their chances in taking those challenges to the D.C. Circuit, in particular, and other federal appellate courts.”

Congratulations, Sierra Club, Flint Riverkeeper, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper! FERC is running scared of your U.S. DC Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 16-1329 case against FERC, Sabal Trail, Transco, and FSC. Not as scared as FERC and Sabal Trail will be if the judges issue a mandate to shut it down.

He said much has changed from when pipeline decisions might have been held up by local interests, such as a landowner or community, which focused on avoiding pipelines being built on their land. But anti-fossil fuel activism has turned pipelines into a much bigger issue that is slowing the agency’s work.

“But what’s new is this: increasing anxiety about carbon emissions has given rise to a national ‘keep it in the ground’ movement resisting any natural gas project as a matter of principle,” Chatterjee said.

It’s interesting how when FERC drives pipelines through landowner property all over the states that many landowners decide to help keep it in the ground.

He does seem to have a sense of humor, though:

Chatterjee used his remarks before the Natural Gas Roundtable to slam what he called the well-funded and legally savvy campaigns by climate change activist groups to significantly delay the natural gas pipeline approval process at FERC.

Pipelines have billions of dollars, yet their regulatory-captured rubberstamp Chairman says the opposition is “well-funded”. Very funny.

He says FERC is reacting:

Chatterjee said that affects FERC by forcing the agency to become “even more deliberate in its review processes to ensure that they will withstand judicial review.”

He said the commission is looking for ways to help speed up the pipeline approval process even as outside forces are increasing their opposition.

Well, at least he admits its an approval process, as in rubberstamping, not really a review process.

He also admitted this:

The FERC chairman said the movement is reminiscent of the nuclear power plant protests of the 1970s and ’80s, but with “greater” financial backing and legal sophistication.

Maybe he doesn’t realize something about the No Nukes movement: we won!

President Richard Nixon promised thousands of nuclear power generating units by the year 2000. Do you see thousands? That number peaked a bit above 100 and has been going down for years now. A growth spurt of nukes in the late 1970s and early 1980s fizzled, due to investors backing away because of Three Mile Island and, yes, organized opposition.

Pipelines have had so many Three Mile Islands it’s hard to count. Investment firms and insurers are urging governments to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. Renewable energy got 80% of all funding for electriciy in 2016. Solar and wind power will win. The more pipelines we stop, the faster that will happen.

On the same date: American Gas Association, Event of the Month,

The Natural Gas Roundtable is pleased to announce that FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee will be the guest speaker at the November 30, 2017 luncheon.

Chairman Neil Chatterjee was nominated by President Donald J. Trump to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in May 2017 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 4, 2017. Prior to joining the Commission, he was energy policy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Chairman Chatterjee has played an integral role in the passage of major energy, highway, and agriculture legislation. Prior to serving Leader McConnell, Chairman Chatterjee worked as a Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH). He began his career in Washington, DC, with the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Maybe some of we the opposition should invite FERC Chair Chatterjee to speak at a luncheon and charge like AGA did:

$40.00 per person for government

$60.00 per person for the private sector

$80.00 for Non-members of the Natural Gas Roundtable to be paid at the door

I don’t see anywhere in the AGA event any guarantee that he would actually show up, nor any offer to refund if he didn’t.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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One thought on “FERC Chairman running scared of pipeline opposition

  1. Margaret F Gray

    So did he show up? And they are just now being more deliberate in the review process, now that there are effective legal challenges- what an ignoramus. It’s one thing to be thought a dolt, another to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. These guys haven’t figured out yet that the citizens are using the laws (and the internet!) to our advantage- imagine…
    True, they have all the lawyers and politicians money can buy. But we have economics and intelligence. And the Fourth Estate.

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