Energy. Environment. Economy.

Enviros ask Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren for FERC investigation

Twenty-four protesters were arrested for blocking a public passageway outside the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in July, 2014.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

As the shale boom leads to an expansion of pipeline infrastructure, the once-obscure Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been targeted by environmental activists. In July 2014, 24 protesters were arrested for blocking a public passageway outside its Washington D.C. offices.

Dozens of environmental groups and activists from the Northeastern U.S. sent a letter to Democratic Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren this week, asking for an investigation into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The agency is charged with siting and approving much of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure.

“We’re asking for an investigation of FERC and their process because it’s shady,” says Tim Spies of Lancaster Against Pipelines. “They’re rubber stamping everything.”

In the letter, the groups call FERC “a demonstrably biased agency that has become a partner with, rather than a regulator of, the pipeline companies it purports to oversee.”

The letter asks presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to request that the Government Accountability Office conduct an investigation. The two Democrats serve on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

A FERC spokeswoman declined to comment.

Industry groups have countered that pipelines are needed to unleash a bottleneck of gas that has developed in the wake of the shale boom. For example as New England has become increasingly reliant on natural gas for its electricity, the region has seen volatile prices in recent years, partly due to uncertainty around its gas supply.

Sanders’ office says it has received the letter and is reviewing it. Warren’s office did not immediately respond.


  • karen orlando

    Wow. Marie you should watch we all know
    Ferc’s a rubber stamp machine song on youtube. See if you recognize anyone. I wonder why Deleware Riverkeeper and friends don’t just send the video to sanders and warren. Also what’s the FERCus?

  • Fracked

    F-facilitate E-energy A-at any C-cost= FERC FERC, EPA or DEP have nothing to do with protecting the environment. They are simply tools or fools for the gas industry. At least FERC does not use the words environment or protect in their name. Almost gives them the appearance of honesty?

  • crystalpoint

    Does any of the above organizations know how much work and careful planing goes into designing and building the infrastructure for transporting NG, Oil or gas? I doubt it! Why don’t all of you go plant a tree, or do something beneficial for society, instead of trying to destroy life as we know it?

    Ray P. Smith, Sr, a true down to earth, environmentalist!

    • wehl3318

      Reading your past posts I see that you are a global warming denier. Over 95% of scientists who have done research and written peer reviewed academic papers on global temperature changes agree that the warming is caused by human activity.

      Unfortunately, this means I don’t take what you have to say about physical reality very seriously.

      Best of luck to you though. I’m sure you’re making lots of money. That sounds nice,

  • Kimberly Cummings Kann

    Clearly “crystal point” has spoken without any knowledge of the involvement of LAP and other groups concerned with the FERC rubber stamp process. We have spent 18+ months studying this issue. We have taken classes, brought in a pipeline feasibility expert, consulted energy industry analysts, organized bus tours of affected sites, brought classes on the US Constitution to our communities, run for office, held rallies, gone door to door, earned petition signatures against the proposed Atlantic Sunrise project from 74% of voters on or township, and read and studied until or eyes blur and our heads spin. The “I doubt it.” response to your own question comes from ignorance of what we actually do know. While these proposed infrastructure projects risk huge, irreversible environmental destruction, they also will destroy the largest concentration of significant Native American sites in Eastern US, raise domestic gas prices (their words), weaken US energy independence (these pipelines are largely for exportt), and violate the rights of landowners. Thousands of citizen’s are having rightfully owned property stolen from them so private corporations can export, and redistribute the wealth they make doing so, to their shareholders. It is wrong on levels not even touched upon in this article.

    Please contact Lancaster Against Pipelines if you want to fully understand the issues associated with the proposed natural gas build out, or at least have a better understanding of what we actually do know.

    • karen orlando

      Hello kimberly, I have spent going on 4 years now researching both a specific pipeline proposal, participating in a FERC docket and much more. What classes did you take? Because you sound to me like you are confused and blurring the lines between a great many distinct and separate things.

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