Make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Accountable to Americans

Citizens, NGOs Put Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Trial


November 28, 2016

Media Contacts:
Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper,, 215-801-3043
Courtney Williams, Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG), 609-468-7080
Susan Van Dolsen, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) 914-525-8886

Citizens, NGOs Put Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Trial
Community representatives to testify to FERC’s history of bias and abuse

Washington, D.C. – Following a recent letter to Congress calling for an investigation and review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), representatives from across the country will hold a People’s Hearing to testify to FERC’s extensive history of bias and abuse against the environment.

In the first-ever in-person compilation of this scale of FERC’s abuses, witnesses will share stories about their personal experiences, documenting the many instances in which FERC has skirted critical regulations and laws, infringed on states’ rights by approving pipelines before state regulators have fully considered an application, and hired biased consultants. Individuals will recount how FERC ignored requests for transparency, interfering with the public review process and holding “public” hearings behind closed doors.

The Hudson Valley will be represented at the hearing by residents challenging FERC’s approval of Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Expansion Project. The project, plagued by delays, environmental violations, and strong local, state, and Congressional opposition would run only 105 feet from critical safety infrastructure at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Peekskill, NY resident Courtney Williams, PhD will be giving testimony during the day’s segment “Ignoring Facts, Science & Law.” Williams, a cancer researcher with a doctorate in Molecular Biology who lives 400ft from the AIM Pipeline said, “I will be presenting evidence tomorrow that FERC ignores science to the detriment of the public and the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. Their environmental impact statements do not meet standards for scientific rigor, nor would they pass peer review, as a result the public health and the environment suffer.”

Others from the Hudson Valley testifying at the hearing include Suzannah Glidden, Amy Rosmarin, and Susan Van Dolsen from Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), nuclear safety expert Paul Blanch, and Nancy Vann of SEnRG. Their statements, along with dozens of others, will demonstrate to Congress the need to reform this notoriously opaque agency. Commissioners have only rejected one pipeline project in the past 30 years, allowing many others to continue no matter the environmental and human consequences. The collection will substantiate what is already clear from FERC’s approval record: this unsupervised agency, funded by those it regulates, is unfit to serve. Nancy Vann states, “I hope that this will bring these issues the national attention they deserve. The AIM project, for one, could have catastrophic national impacts.”

Susan Van Dolsen will delivery testimony on behalf of SAPE and Food & Water Watch that exposes conflicts of interest that compromise the entire pipeline review process. “FERC’s conflict of interest policies are vague and contradictory and the Commission has demonstrated an egregious lack of transparency regarding the contractors hired to conduct the assessments on which the projects’ approvals depend. The Commission has not complied with its legal obligations under NEPA to conduct an independent environmental review, yet Spectra continues to move ahead with projects that put millions of people at grave risk.”

WHO: Community activists from across the country
Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG)
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)
Clean Water Action
Berks Gas Truth
Beyond Extreme Energy
Food & Water Watch
Catskill Mountainkeeper

WHAT: People’s Hearing and Testimony on FERC

WHERE: National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

WHEN: December 2, 2016, 9:30am to 4:30pm

(Time may be adjusted based on incredible response rate from folks wanting to testify.)


Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is a nonprofit membership organization working throughout the four states of the Delaware River Watershed including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. DRN provides effective environmental advocacy, volunteer monitoring programs, stream restoration projects, public education, and legal enforcement of environmental protection laws.

Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) is a group of engaged citizens working together to protect communities in the Northeast from unsafe energy development and infrastructure. We employ our experience and professional expertise to assist those impacted by harmful fossil fuel projects in exercising their rights to safe, sustainable energy. Our goal is to provide credible information and support to ensure that communities of all sizes can protect their health and safety. To this end, we assist citizens in taking social, legal, and political action as they demand meaningful dialogue and adherence to the law from elected officials and permitting agencies.

Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) is a grassroots organization with a mission to educate our fellow citizens and elected officials about the negative impacts associated with Spectra Energy Corporation’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project. SAPE opposes the AIM gas expansion project because it may exacerbate climate change, endanger our safety and quality of life, contaminate water, air and soil, cause harm to domestic animals and wildlife, and threaten farmland and property values.

Berks Gas Truth is a grassroots organization fighting for a ban on fracking and related infrastructure.

Earthworks is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of mineral and energy development, while seeking sustainable solutions. Based in Washington, D.C., Earthworks advocates at all levels of government for an end to the oil, gas, and mining industry’s damaging practices and pushes policy reforms to improve the health and environment of communities.

Beyond Extreme Energy is people taking action to retire fossil fuels. Our immediate demand is for no new permits for fossil fuel infrastructure. Our vision is a world powered by consumer-controlled renewable energy.

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