FERC: Enemy Of The People


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is one of the most destructive agencies in our government. In Pennsylvania, the Holleran family’s North Hartford Maple Syrup Farm in New Milford was destroyed. FERC allowed Williams logging to obliterateLetter to the Editor Featured Image their sugar bush trees which were outfitted with lines for maple sugar production. How? The right of eminent domain was cited and approved by FERC. Thus, a maple forest and a family’s livelihood were lost. So, too, another small family business has been destroyed in the name of big profit.
Holleran’s loss, however, resulted in a public outcry against corporate greed and what the public needs and wants. We here in New York State are listening and are lucky so far that Governor Andrew Cuomo is responding to our needs. In the last year he vetoed the Port Ambrose LNG Facility, and finalized the high volume fracking ban. He helped delay the Spectra Lake gas storage facility. This pipeline is 150 feet away from the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, which is replete with violations, not fixed nor addressed. Indian Point is an accident waiting to happen. Finally, Gov. Cuomo recently rejected the Constitution Pipeline.

The Constitution Pipeline would’ve covered 124 miles and connected the fracking fields of Susquehanna County, PA, with this planned natural gas export infrastructure starting in Schoharie, NY. This would have maimed the Catskills, so that the trees, wetlands, streams and mountain slopes would be devastated/or polluted. No more hiking and smelling the fresh air there.

The point is that the FERC is the enemy of the people. All it does is hand corporations a gift like the permission to give companies such as Williams the logging rights over people’s rights. We, the people of New York and everywhere else, must halt this chainsaw destruction and halt unnecessary pipelines when the renewable industry of solar and wind is at our fingertips. And they keep our energy at home! To do better, we must fight the oil and gas companies, tell FERC that enough is enough and stop this mismanagement. The pathway to progress should not enrich the few, but help the many.

—Elaine Peters

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  1. Thank you, Elaine, for calling attention to several of the recent fracked gas pipelines and other projects that have been rubber-stamped by FERC and halted by citizen opposition. Robert Kennedy Jr. agrees with you, calling FERC a “rogue agency.” (FERC was not involved in the Port Ambrose LNG project that Gov. Cuomo vetoed because it was a marine facility, however, they have approved several land-based LNG projects that will put dense suburban neighborhoods at grave risk).

    FERC is corrupt on so many levels: There a revolving door with employees coming from and leaving to take industry jobs. Because their budget is paid for by energy builders, they are predisposed to approve dirty energy, and until last year (when they declined one project), have signed off on 100% of pipeline proposals. Recent investigations have shown that the companies hired to produce environmental impact studies have serious conflicts of interest with the pipeline builders.

    FERC does not have the public interest in mind, something that is made clear by their support of the Spectra AIM pipeline, currently being constructed adjacent to the aging Indian Point nuclear plant. An accident at Indian Point would affect a radius that reaches halfway across Long Island, as far west the Delaware Water Gap and as far north as Kingston. Adding a high-pressure 42″ diameter gas pipeline to an area that includes 2 fault lines exponentially increases that risk.

    (One note: Neither the AIM pipeline nor the Seneca Lake Gas Storage projects have been delayed –YET–though both face well-organized grassroots opposition, with hundreds of advocates arrested at both sites.)

    Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have called on FERC to halt construction on the AIM pipeline but it remains to be seen if FERC will continue their obstinate support of the gas industry and ignore the public demand for an independent safety analysis.

    Anyone who would like more information or to support the call to shut down AIM can go to: https://resistaim.wordpress.com

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