The first of these is today at 1PM: “listening sessions” about the formation of FERC’s new Office of Public Participation (OPP). They are voice dial-in only.
Here is the invitation the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sent on March 9, 2021:
On Friday, March 5, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a notice of a series of listening sessions and soliciting comments regarding the creation of the Office of Public Participation within the Commission (Docket AD21-9-000). The notice can be found on the Commission’s website and eLibrary.
The sessions will give individuals an opportunity to provide their thoughts and ideas on how the Commission should create the OPP to encourage and facilitate participation. Following a brief introduction from Commission staff, each session will be open for 3-5 minutes of comment per participant. The Commission plans to hold the following sessions:
- Landowners and Communities Affected by Infrastructure Development, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
- Environmental Justice Communities and Tribal Interests, Monday, March 22, 2021, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
- Tribal Governments, Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. (session 1); 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. (session 2).
- Energy Consumers and Consumer Advocates, Thursday, March 25, 2021, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Pre-registration for speakers is highly recommended. Speaking priority will be provided to members of the public or representatives of Tribal governments who pre-register for a listening session. Participants who have not pre-registered will be invited to speak after pre-registered participants, time permitting. To pre-register for a listening session, please visit the Commission’s website.
To be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this proceeding, you may register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp. For assistance, contact the Commission at FERCOnli…@ferc.gov or call toll-free, (866) 208-3676 or TYY, (202) 502-8659.
I suppose “Community Member” is maybe better than the notorious “Stakeholder” FERC used in pipeline Scoping Meetings. But will FERC listen any more in these “listening sessions”?
Here is the dial-in information for today’s Landowner session. While FERC recommends pre-registration, apparently that is already closed. I tried calling all of the telephone numbers FERC lists for help, and got a combination of leave a message, this mailbox has not been set up, and send email. Typical FERC listening.
Ah, I did get a call back from Stacey Steep of the Office of General Counsel at (202) 502-8148. She says pre-registration is closed for today’s session, however, they plan for the session to go on until 5PM, so she thinks people will get to speak. They are, however, dropping the per-speaker time limit from the stated “3-5 minutes” to 3 minutes. Pre-registration for the following sessions closes the night before.
Pre-registration for speakers is highly recommended. Speaking priority will be provided to members of the public or representatives of Tribal governments who pre-register for a listening session. Following a brief introduction from Commission staff, each session will be open to the public for 3-5 minutes of comment per participant. Participants who have not pre-registered will be invited to speak after pre-registered participants, time permitting. Participants on the call have the option to listen only and can submit though eComment.
Dial-in: 1- 888-810-8156
After joining the conference line, any member of the public or representatives of Tribal governments wishing to provide comment must press *1 to identify themselves as wishing to speak. Speaking priority will be provided pre-registrants. Participants who have not pre-registered will be invited to speak after pre-registered participants, time permitting.
In advance of the listening sessions, participants may wish to consider the issues listed below:
- Section 319 of the FPA states that the OPP will be administered by a Director. (16 U.S.C. § 825q–1(a)(2)(A)). In addition to the Director, how should the office be structured?
- Should the Commission consider creating an advisory board for OPP? If so, what role would the board serve and who should be on the board?
- How should the OPP coordinate assistance to persons intervening or participating, or seeking to intervene or participate, in a Commission proceeding?
- To what extent do you, or the organization you represent, currently interact with the Commission? What has hindered or helped your ability to participate in Commission proceedings?
- Have you engaged with other governmental entities—such as local, state, and other federal agencies—on matters involving your interests? If so, how did those agencies engage in outreach, and what practices improved your ability to participate in their processes?
- How should the OPP engage with Tribal Governments, environmental justice communities, energy consumers, landowners, and other members of the public affected by Commission proceedings?
- Section 319 of the FPA allows the Commission to promulgate rules to offer compensation for attorney fees and other expenses to intervenors and participants who substantially contribute to a significant Commission proceeding if participation otherwise would result in significant financial hardship. (16 U.S.C. § 825q–1(b)(2)). How should the Commission approach the issue of intervenor compensation? What should the OPP’s role be with respect to intervenor compensation? How should the Commission establish a budget for and fund intervenor compensation? What lessons can the Commission learn from the administration of similar state intervenor compensation programs?
The sessions will be open for the public to attend, and there is no fee for attendance. Listening sessions will be audio-only. Call-in information details, including preregistration, can be found on the OPP website. Information will also be posted on the Calendar of Events on the Commission’s website, www.ferc.gov, prior to the event. The listening sessions will be transcribed and placed into the record approximately one week after the session date.
The listening sessions will be accessible under section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For accessibility accommodations, please send an email to email@example.com or call toll free 1-866-208-3372 (voice) or 202-502-8659 (TTY), or send a FAX to 202-208-2106 with the required accommodations.
The public may also submit written comments on these topics to the record in Docket No. AD21-9-000 by Friday, April 23, 2021. Please file comments using the Commission’s eFiling system at https://ferconline.ferc.gov/FERCOnline.aspx For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY).
Yes, we complained to FERC about FERC illegally burning materials back in March 2017, and heard nothing back.
But who can say? Maybe with new Chair Richard Glick FERC will turn over a new leaf.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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