Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
[Editor’s Note: Pipelines are under attack now by FERC, the agency designed to make sure they happen. It is pipeline injustice via playing of the race card.]
We are so sick of the left and their twisted view of everything! For years we’ve covered a recurring claim from the left in their misguided attempt to smear natural gas and the pipelines that flow it. The left claims every time a pipeline runs near or through an area where the population is African American, or Hispanic, or rural poor (in other words, just about everywhere), that pipeline is automatically assumed to be racist.
The left says builders of pipelines route pipelines through “disadvantaged” neighborhoods because the people living in those areas don’t have the power or money to defend themselves against the rich white folk who won’t build pipelines through rich white folk areas because they can hire high-priced lawyers to defend their land against a dreaded pipeline.
The presumption is that nobody wants a pipeline anywhere, that pipelines are always evil and always pollute, and at best, pipelines must be tolerated (in a few select circumstances). This twisted view of the world by the left is called “environmental justice.”
With dementia Joe in the White House (controlled by leftists), and with his appointment of Richard “Dick” Glick as the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that oversees permitting of interstate natural gas pipelines, FERC is now pushing so-called environmental justice. It’s nothing more than an excuse for Glick and other leftist regulators to deny pipelines a permit to build. From JD Supra/Holland & Knight LLP:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently invited public comment on environmental justice matters it may consider in future natural gas pipeline certificate proceedings, reopening a three-year-old notice and comment process with new social justice issues.
On April 19, 2018, the FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (Original Notice), inviting stakeholders in the natural gas industry and interested parties to comment on revising the 1999-issued Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities – Statement of Policy (Policy Statement).
On Feb. 18, 2021, almost three years and more than 3,000 public comments later, the FERC issued a second Notice of Inquiry (2021 Notice), seeking to refresh the record with supplementary information and raising environmental justice issues for the first time.
Significance of Policy Statement
The Policy Statement is a pivotal component in the process of developing interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act, an interstate natural gas company must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) from the FERC before it can 1) construct, operate or acquire a natural gas facility or 2) transport or sell natural gas in interstate commerce. Moreover, the Policy Statement provides the framework for the FERC to evaluate and grant a CPCN to an interstate natural gas company.
The Original Notice, the 2021 Notice and the Public Good Addition
In the Original Notice, the FERC requested comment in four areas related to proposed projects:
1. Determination of Need: the process for examining project need, including reliance on precedent agreements
2. Eminent Domain and Landowner Interests: the potential exercise of eminent domain and of landowner interests
3. Environmental Impacts: its analysis of environmental impacts
4. Review Process: the efficiency and effectiveness of the certification cycle, including pre-filing, post-filing and post-order issuance
In the 2021 Notice, however, the FERC requested comment on an additional topic concerning public good and, specifically, environmental justice:
5. Environmental Justice: the approach for 1) identifying environmental justice communities potentially subject to disproportionate adverse health impacts or environmental effects and 2) mitigating the negative effects.
The 2021 Notice proceeds to define an “environmental justice community” as any group of people, such as 1) populations of color, 2) communities of color, 3) Native communities and 4) low-income rural and urban communities, exposed to a disproportionate level of negative health and environmental impacts. The 2021 Notice also references President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14008, which instructs federal agencies to develop “programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities, as well as the accompanying economic challenges of such impacts.”
The request for comment on environmental justice demonstrates an interest by the FERC in gaining perspective on a topic that has gained significant traction in the recent decade. Under the Biden Administration, it appears the conversation surrounding environmental justice is here to stay, but whether comments on the 2021 Notice will garner any revisions to the Policy Statement remains to be seen.
As a good MDN friend observed to us on this very topic: “The U.S. is rotting from within and will be conquered by leftist bureaucrats. Countless empires have fallen this way.”
Editor’s Note: I could not agree more with Jim’s observations. Pipelines are critical infrastructure that every community, regardless of race, needs. We all want to be warm. We all consume energy. We all desire to economically prosper. Richard Glick and other proponents of phony “environmental justice” are posers, looking to tell those they consider beneath themselves what’s good for them and simultaneously signal their superior virtues to those they view as worthy peers. If environmental justice were real and not some tool of the left, FERC would be trying to extend pipelines and ensure natural gas service wherever it could to spur economic revitalization and meet basic human needs. Playing the race card with Pipelines pipelines is nothing but a condescending dismissal of the right of the affected communities to speak for themselves and have what their “protectors” already enjoy.
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