Enviros Turn Their Sights On Agency Regulating Pipelines

Josh Fox

Environmentalists have moved away from opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline to working against the regulatory agency responsible for approving energy projects.

A group of environmentalists will announce a campaign Wednesday to stop the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from gaining new members needed for approving new natural gas pipelines and other projects. One of the activists spearheading the coalition is the well-known anti-fracking campaigner, Josh Fox.

He and other activists want to “spotlight the growing national opposition” to new FERC appointments by the Trump administration, according to a media advisory explaining the new campaign.

FERC, which regulates the country’s natural gas pipeline projects, lost a key commission member, essentially preventing the agency from acquiring a quorum on contentious pipelines like DAPL.

President Donald Trump elevated a member to head FERC, causing the demoted member to retire and leave the committee with only two panelists. The White House has yet to land on a nominee to replace the outgoing Obama-appointed chairman.

Trump’s decision to approve the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota prompted environmentalists to attack nearly every ongoing pipeline project under discussion. They’ve now turned their ire toward the short-handed agency.

“Currently, only two out of five commissioner positions are filled at FERC, which means the administration would greatly impact FERC’s direction with new appointments,” the group’s memo notes. “Activists will outline the push against any new FERC commissioners and highlight the concerns with FERC’s regulatory oversight.”

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