Washington DC, March 8, 2017 —Over 130 organizations across the country announced today that they will oppose nominees made by the Trump Administration to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The move reflects the growing resistance nationwide from residents, farmers, business owners, physicians, and environmentalists to FERC’s practice of recklessly permitting pipelines that put hundreds of communities and the drinking water of millions of Americans at risk, in addition to the global climate.
The 135 groups, of which Fossil Free Rhode Island is one, range from dozens of local community organizations and activists to national nonprofit organizations (Beyond Extreme Energy, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and Green America). At a time when citizens are increasingly calling on senators to oppose appointed officials that support the fossil fuel industry, the pledge signers, representing over a million people nationwide, pledge to work against each nominee to FERC made by the Trump administration, and to call on U.S. senators to use the nomination process to highlight FERC’s rubber stamping of pipeline projects and refusal to listen the legitimate concerns of community groups. For the group sign-on statement and full list of signers follow this link.
FERC is the agency primarily responsible for reviewing applications for pipelines and conducting environmental assessments, and the agency has been increasingly criticized by local communities impacted by pipelines for its failure to take into account community concerns and independent environmental impact analyses documenting the risks. FERC is the agency that approved the pipeline expansion in Burrillville and is responsible for the fracked gas that the Invenergy-Raimondo power plant will burn, if it is ever built.
Awareness of the dangers of pipeline construction has been heightened with the opposition to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. These are just two of the dozens of pipelines nationwide that are being planned and constructed. The risks are clear: Over 1,000 pipeline accidents occurred between 2010 and 2015 across the U.S. Yet, FERC has rejected only one gas pipeline in 30 years, and relies extensively on the industry’s chosen experts for environmental impact data.
Beyond Extreme Energy, one of the groups coordinating the campaign to oppose Trump’s nominations to FERC, says they are exploring different ways to stop or delay the nominations, including through petition, call-in days to senators, senate office visits and rallies, and nonviolent civil resistance.
“FERC serves the industry it supposedly regulates instead of the American public, and its rubber-stamping of pipelines nationwide puts millions of people at risk,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Green America. “It is imperative that all Americans voice their opposition to business as usual at FERC and oppose any Trump nominees to the agency.”
“Five days ago, Pruitt’s EPA cancelled all the regulations on venting methane and dumping coal ash in streams,” said Maggie Henry, an anti-fracking activist from Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. “Something must be done to stop the insanity and hold polluters accountable for devastating impacts on people lives and the environment.”
“If even the former FERC chairman Bay recognizes that FERC is set to cause even more economic and environmental damage unless a different path is chosen, ‘… analyzing the downstream impacts of the use of natural gas and to performing a life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions study …,’ then we must insist on waiting for new commissioners who will manifest a much higher standard of environmental care,” said B. Arrindell, director of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability along the Delaware River
Follow this link to read the pledge.
[Based on a BXE press release.]