US House Subcommittee Examines FERC’s Disregard for Landowner Rights

by Duane Nichols on December 8, 2020

Subcommittee on Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

PRESS RELEASE — Oversight Subcommittee to Examine FERC’s Failure to Protect Landowner Rights

CONTACT: Aryele Bradford, (202) 226-5181, December 7, 2020

Washington D.C. (Dec. 7, 2020)—On Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will hold a hearing to examine the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) failure to protect the rights of landowners whose properties are affected by natural gas projects, and to follow up on the investigation and video report the Subcommittee released earlier this year.

FERC is the primary federal permitting agency for the construction and operation of all major interstate natural gas pipelines. Landowners face obstacles from FERC at every stage of the natural gas pipeline process: FERC rubberstamps natural gas projects without fair consideration to landowners, favors pipeline companies, and provides insufficient options for landowners to seek recourse against pipeline companies.

On February 19, 2020, the Subcommittee launched an investigation into the use of eminent domain in the construction of natural gas pipelines. FERC routinely grants pipeline companies “certificates of public convenience and necessity,” allowing them to take possession of private land under the right of eminent domain.

On April, 28, 2020, the Subcommittee released preliminary findings of the investigation revealing that the natural gas pipeline approval process used by FERC unjustly trampled on the rights of private landowners.

On June 11, 2020, following the Subcommittee’s investigation, FERC announced it would no longer authorize construction activities for natural gas pipelines until the agency acts on the merits of challenges from private landowners and other stakeholders.

On November 20, 2020, the Subcommittee expanded its investigation by requesting information about procedures used to resolve conflicts between landowners and energy companies.

WHAT: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Hearing:

“Pipelines Over People: How FERC Tramples Landowner Rights in Natural Gas Projects”

WHEN: Dec. 9, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. EST

1. David L. Morenoff, Acting General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

2. Terry Turpin, Director, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

..... “NO Eminent Domain for Private Gain” ..... No MVP on Me or Thee

WATCH: A livestream will be available on YouTube and the Committee on Oversight and Reform website.
#####. #####. #####. #####.

U.S. Senate Confirms Two New FERC Commissioners, ABRA Update 297, December 4, 2020

The U.S. Senate on November 30 confirmed the two nominees for outstanding vacancies on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The two new commissioners are:

Mark Christie, Republican, who has been a longtime member and most recently Chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission
Allision Clements, Democrat, now with the Energy Foundation and formerly with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

FERC will now have a full-complement of five commissioners, 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats. The FERC Chairman, James Danley, a Republican, was named by President Trump to that position on November 5, replacing Neil Chatterjee. The Chairman of FERC serves at the pleasure of the President, so Danley will presumably be replaced as Chair by President-elect Biden after January 20 by a Democrat, expected to be Commissioner Richard Glick. The present term of Commissioner Chatterjee expires in June 2021, affording Mr. Biden the opportunity to replace him with a third Democrat.

Among issues that the new FERC Commissioners will be addressing will be consideration of the forthcoming restoration plan of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route, which is due to be filed with FERC by December 26.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn Godfrey December 8, 2020 at 4:54 am

STOP THE PIPELINES — The MVP is Polluting our Streams

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.” And to this we can add environmental justice.
Quote from MLK, Jr. – 1967

Lynn A. Godfrey, Sierra Club
Community Outreach Coordinator, Virginia Chapter
Stop the Pipelines
801 Boush Street, Ste. 200
Norfolk, VA 23510
757.305.8284 (m)

Important Notice: All Sierra Club offices are closed due to concerns with COVID-19. Staff are scheduled to work remotely until June 10. Please learn more about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.


Jim Kotcon December 8, 2020 at 5:32 am

Don’t Let the Mountain Valley Pipeline Build Another Inch!

FROM: WV Sierra Club, December 6, 2020

Protect clean water from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) before December 18. Tell Federal Regulators to deny MVP’s latest scheme to work around environmental protections!

Why This Matters — Now more than ever, communities, the planet and the climate can’t take any more polluting, unnecessary fracked gas. If completed, MVP would cross and damage 1,000 water bodies and would be a climate bomb; resulting in the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 36 coal fired power plants every year.

Don’t let them get away with it. Tell Federal regulators to deny MVP’s request for special treatment to rush construction, now!


Freeda Cathcart December 8, 2020 at 5:49 am

Join the Twitter Storm DEQ Stop Work NOW on MVP this Tuesday December 8 from noon-1:00 p.m.

The VA Department of Environmental Quality is allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s construction to pollute the waterways of endangered fish. Go to @StopPipelines to retweet memes with text or go to this toolkit to create tweets.

Encourage your family and friends to join you by sharing this Facebook event Twitter Storm DEQ Stop Work NOW on MVP.

Why storm the DEQ with tweets?

The State Water Control Board is meeting on Wednesday and MVP isn’t even on their agenda! The Twitter Storm will alert the Gov. Northam and A.G. Mark Herring that the DEQ isn’t protecting our water and endangered species.

DEQ has ignored the requests from localities and the Blue Ridge Soil and Conservation Board to work with FERC and MVP to reevaluate and revise MVP’s erosion and sediment controls (ESCs) before allowing MVP to resume construction. After a year of MVP’s ESCs continuing to fail in Elliston, MVP continues to pollute waterways of the endangered Roanoke logperch November 11, 2020.

Unfortunately, FERC and DEQ allowed MVP to continue construction resulting in MVP polluting the headwaters for the Roanoke River watershed in Bent Mountain, the habitat for the endangered Roanoke logperch. After reports of MVP’s new construction ESCs failing in Bent Mountain, DEQ “redlined” intense land disturbance similar to what MVP did in Elliston last year that continues to fail to protect our water.

Thank you, Freeda Cathcart
“Stop The Pipelines WVVANC”


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