Background

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed properly quantify greenhouse gas emissions linked to a pipeline expansion project in the southeastern U.S.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was originally an agency created to coordinate hydroelectric projects.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity, and regulates natural gas and hydropower projects. It also oversees wholesale electricity markets, to insure a reliable and affordable power grid.

Its predecessor, the Federal Power Commission (FPC), was created in 1920 to coordinate federal hydroelectric projects. Over the years, the FPC’s mandate grew to include oversight of electricity and natural gas. In response to the energy crisis, Congress reorganized the FPC as FERC, with a mandate to increase access to energy.

FERC is led by a five-member commission, comprised of up to five commissioners appointed by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners serve five-year terms, and have an equal vote on regulatory matters.

FERC has come under criticism for its approval process for natural gas pipelines

Critics have long called FERC a “rubber stamp” for the pipeline industry because it approves virtually every pipeline application that comes before it. Claims of overbuilding in the pipeline industry were fueled in November when a report for the Natural Resources Defense Council said that over the last 20 years, FERC has approved more than twice as much natural gas pipeline capacity than gas consumed in 2016.

FERC has also weighed in on controversial plans to bail out coal and nuclear plants from financial insolvency. The commission voted unanimously to terminate a Department of Energy proposal to guarantee profits for power plants that can store 90 days of fuel on-site. Only coal and nuclear plants can do that.

Latest Posts

FERC, called a ‘rubber stamp’ by critics, begins policy review for approval of natural gas pipelines

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed properly quantify greenhouse gas emissions linked to a pipeline expansion project in the southeastern U.S.

The federal government has opened a review on whether its policies governing approval of interstate natural-gas pipelines should be revamped, an issue often raised by critics of the rapid expansion of industry infrastructure in New Jersey. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week launched an inquiry into whether its policies, unchanged since 1999, dealing with its oversight [...]

FERC’s critics, and two commissioners, say new comment policy will hurt landowners

FERC's headquarters in Washington, DC. The agency said it will review its longstanding policy on certification of natural gas pipelines.

FERC says it will limit public interventions in its pipeline review process if they are submitted outside the prescribed time, in a new policy that’s being attacked by the agency’s critics as an attempt to stifle comment. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on March 15 that it won’t be so flexible with “untimely” interventions [...]

FERC order effectively denies appeals of PennEast approval, critics say

A sign protesting the proposed PennEast Pipeline route in Carbon County, Pa. FERC issued an order which critics say effectively denies appeals against its approval of the project.

Federal regulators have effectively denied a request to reconsider their approval of the planned PennEast Pipeline, the agency’s critics say. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday issued a “tolling order,” which gives it more time to consider requests for a rehearing of its “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” for the pipeline. But the [...]

Landowners brace for eminent domain loss in PennEast pipeline cases

From the porch of her Palmerton farmhouse, Albertine Anthony looks out on the rolling hills of lower Carbon County. She believes the PennEast pipeline's proposed route through her 124-acre farm threatens her water supply.

Albertine Anthony has been living in the same picturesque Carbon County farmhouse since she was born 93 years ago, and she’s not going anywhere even if PennEast builds a natural gas pipeline across her land. Anthony, a tiny figure with a slight stoop and a shock of white hair, was offered $37,000 by the company [...]

FERC approves PennEast, saying it would supply needed natural gas

FERC

Jon Hurdle / StateImpact PA Roy Christman (left) and William Kellner protested plans to build the PennEast natural gas pipeline at a FERC ‘listening session’ near Jim Thorpe, Pa. in 2016. FERC has now approved the project. The PennEast pipeline project took a step forward late Friday when federal regulators decided the company could start [...]

Federal commission kills Trump’s plan to save coal plants

-A Norfolk Southern freight train hauling coal makes it way through downtown Pittsburgh Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. The Department of Energy has proposed subsidizing coal and nuclear power in the face of competition from natural gas and renewables.

An independent federal commission terminated a Trump administration proposal that would have propped up struggling coal and nuclear plants. On Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — an independent body with both Republican and Democratic members – unanimously rejected the Department of Energy’s “Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule.”

Dominion’s Cove Point plant preparing to export LNG

A once idled natural gas import terminal along the Chesapeake Bay — which had become a haven for gulls feeding on scraps from a nearby dump — completed its $4 billion transformation to a liquefaction plant and export facility this month by taking its first shipment of natural gas. Marcellus Shale gas flowing through pipelines [...]

FERC, saying ‘much has changed’, will review natural gas pipeline policy

The top federal regulator for the pipeline industry said Thursday that it will review its 18-year-old policy on the certification of natural gas pipelines. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave no specific reason for the review but issued a brief statement saying that “much has changed” in the energy world since the agency began the [...]

Federal regulators won’t reconsider approval of Atlantic Sunrise pipeline

Federal regulators won’t revisit their decision to approve a major natural gas transmission pipeline through Pennsylvania. In a December 6 order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a rehearing request by landowners, anti-pipeline activists, environmental groups, Native American tribes and the public service commissions of North Carolina and New York. They were challenging FERC’s [...]

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