Last September, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 4673, “Reaffirming Property Rights Through The Natural Gas Act Modernization Act.
This bill has a number of noteworthy provisions that provide needed protections for landowners nationwide facing increased and unfair use of eminent domain for pipeline development.
If you have not already reached out to your senators to encourage them to consider this bill, please do! The bill has been referred to the committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The best way to keep the bill moving forward is to encourage a hearing!
Please reach out to your Senators today, particularly if they are members of the Commerce Committee.
Provisions included in the bill are outlined below;
- Sec 2 -Establishes that there is No Presumption of Public Interest in the export of Natural Gas.
- Sec. 4 Ensures Notice to Landowners occurs in a clear and uniform way, and that all impacted
persons have the information needed to intervene in the process.
- Sec. 5 Lays out Requirements for Exercise of Eminent Domain, stipulating that pipeline
companies obtain all other required state and federal approvals and permits before construction
- Sec. 6 is a Requirement to Execute Project Only for Certain Purposes – that is, according to
the plans provided to FERC with its application. This prevents a bait-and-switch.
- Sec. 7 ensures that companies cannot “sit” on undeveloped confiscated land for more than one year without proceeding, or if a project does not go ahead as planned, this provision also ensures that property reverts back to the previous property owner.
- Sec. 8 Ensures that in the event eminent domain is exercised, property owners are more fairly compensated
- Sec. 9 eliminates FERC’s historic practice of using “tolling orders,”
From Utility Dive. Glick named FERC chair, promises ‘significant progress’ on energy transition.
January 21, 2021
Commissioner Richard Glick was named chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Joe Biden Thursday morning.
Glick has said that on the electric side he would prioritize transmission reform, reassessing capacity markets, and continuing efforts to lower barriers to clean energy resources in regulated markets. On gas, he believes the commission should rethink how it assesses greenhouse gas emissions and more seriously review environmental justice impacts when approving gas infrastructure. “I’m eagerly anticipating the chance to work with my colleagues to forge compromises on issues like how the commission handles greenhouse gases when it evaluates certificates,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll be able to craft a path forward.”
From The Roanoke Times. In a rare rebuke, FERC fails to approve Mountain Valley Pipeline’s proposal. January, 20, 2021.
Federal regulators deadlocked and reached no decision on Mountain Valley Pipeline’s proposal to bore under streams in a rushed meeting ahead of the Biden administration’s inauguration.
The pipeline company had hoped to skirt permitting issues for trenching through streams for a section of the pipe. Approval would have allowed the first 77 miles of the pipeline to be put into service while the rest of the project still lacks permits. Since work on the pipeline began in 2018, three sets of federal permits have been set aside by the courts.
Despite the latest setback, Mountain Valley still plans to have the $6 billion project completed by the end of the year. But with the stream crossing issue still unresolved, and other legal battles brewing, opponents say there is still a chance of stopping the pipeline.
For decades FERC has held meetings on the 3rd Thursday of every month, but FERC Chair James Danly has moved the FERC meeting to Tuesday January 19th. This move of the meeting was likely made in order for James Danly to push through Trump’s energy agenda, before Danly is removed from his position by incoming President Biden.
Danly’s last stand is marked by an agenda that includes approval of certificates for a dozen gas pipelines and gas export terminals around the country.
This includes: New Fortress Energy, Sabal Trail Transmission, Rio Grande LNG, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, Iroquois Gas Transmission, Penn East Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline, Golden Pass LNG, Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, Jordan Cove Energy and Spire STL Pipeline.
According to an article by Arianna Skibell in Energy Wire on Friday, ‘the agenda also features a proposal to expand a contested capacity market rule, which opponents say harms renewable resources, to New York state.’ This is a transparent attempt to advance the regressive pro-fossil fuel agenda of the Trump administration. Help stop Danly from pushing through these last minute approvals! Call the FERC commissioners and demand they oppose this rushed effort by Chair Danly to do the bidding of twice-impeached President Donald Trump. We demand that the FERC meeting be rescheduled and that Commissioners take a stand against fossil fuel expansion.
Chair James Danly: (202)-502-8338
Commissioner Neil Chatterjee: 202-502-6477
Commissioner Richard Glick: 202-502-6530
Commissioner Allison Clements: 202-502-6300
Commissioner Mark Christie: 202-502-8110
“Request a Meeting With Danly”
from Beyond Extreme Energy
From The Roanoke Times. The pipeline gained another 17 miles Thursday in its quest to complete construction of the natural gas pipeline by the end of next year. December 17, 2020.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the company’s request to resume work on a stretch of the 303-mile pipeline that passes through Giles and Craig counties, between two sections of the Jefferson National Forest.
In 2018 FERC issued a stop-work order on an approximately 25 mile section of planned pipeline following an appellate court throwing out a U.S. Forest Service permit for the pipeline to cross 3.5 miles of national forest.
But, in a 2-1 decision Thursday, the commission ruled that Mountain Valley had presented sufficient evidence to show that resuming work on a 17-mile segment of the pipeline on private land would not harm the forest. The decision was not without dissent however, with Commissioner Richard Glick writing ‘That is a serious mistake’.
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.