Make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Accountable to Americans

Senators Warren and Markey Send Letter to FERC
June 13, 2016

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  1. Robert Godfrey

    Conflict if interest is a common thread in FERC’s Environmental Impact Statement contractor history. Applicants nominate FERC Contract Staff for the applicants’ projects, and that FERC Contract Staff is paid directly by the applicants. Applicants typically nominate contractors that are friendly to their projects. Those contractors typically have close ties to the industry FERC regulates. Applicants pay the staff that end up being contracted by FERC. Resultant EISs — as certainly was the case with FERC’s Downeast LNG import terminal Final EIS — can intentionally omit data that reflects badly on the applicant, and otherwise skew the results.

    The biased EIS is then read by FERC legal staff, who write two decisions for the Commission — one decision in favor of certificating the project, and one decision denying certification, upon which the Commissioners make their permitting decision. But, since the EIS can be missing critical data, the legal team’s results do not reflect the actual conditions of the project. EISs typically indicate that the projects do no significant environmental harm — conclusions based on interest-conflicted EISs written in large part by FERC Contract Staff who are in the pocket of the applicant.

    Conflict of interest, intentional FERC Contract Staff skewing of EISs, and cozy relationships between FERC staff and its contractors and applicants corrupt the FERC permitting process. FERC is well aware of this problem; but, since FERC is an independent agency within the Department of Energy, since it sees itself as facilitator for the energy industry, and since it is answerable only to Congress and the courts, the public, environment, and world pay the price.

    The public is justified in its frustration and anger with FERC; FERC will do nothing to correct the corruption. It is way beyond time to Fix FERC.

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