The new omnibus spending bill that Congress has just approved (and which the President may or may not sign) includes among its 5,000+ pages language establishing an Office of Public Participation at FERC.
The package would also direct FERC to establish an Office of Public Participation, marking a major win for consumer advocates who have long pushed for a greater say in the commission’s oversight of electricity markets and major natural gas infrastructure projects.
“For too long, public interest organizations have lacked the resources to meaningfully participate in important FERC proceedings,” Tyson Slocum, energy program director at watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a statement.
“Providing intervenor compensation to consumer groups, environmental justice organizations and other members of the public interest will revolutionize public interest representation and democratize policy making at FERC.”
Slocum called the requirement to set up the office the biggest development at FERC in 20 years.
If Trump signs the package into law, FERC will have 180 days to inform Congress about how it will design, fund and operate the office.
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 authorized FERC to create such an office — and authorized more than $7 million over four years — but it was never created, and Congress never set aside more funding.