Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
A recent FERC review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline application provides a perfect illustration of how the agency works and it’s anything but rubber stamp.
One of the oft-repeated lies we hear from anti-fossil fuelers against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is that the agency “never” rejects a pipeline proposal, and “hasn’t in 20 years.” The conclusion, according to liemeisters like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, is that FERC is simply a “rubber stamp” for “big oil and gas” — not to be trusted and (preferably) shut down.
“Rubber stamp” is the kindergartenish meme fractivists pedal to unthinking, enviro lapdogs (their followers), who believe them. But, you and I know the truth. This is that truth: FERC picks over pipeline projects with a fine-tooth comb. When FERC finds something they don’t like, they respond back to the project builder with “suggestions” about route changes, construction guidelines, request for more information, etc. If the project builder decides to disregard FERC’s “suggestions,” the builder runs the risk of having the project rejected. So they change it. It is an ongoing negotiation.
What if FERC demands something really wacky? The project builder will push back, but in the end, what FERC wants, FERC gets. Period. And so it is with Dominion’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Atlantic Coast is winding its way through the FERC regulatory process.
Last week was the deadline for filing comments on FERC’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project. On Tuesday, FERC sent Dominion a 36-page letter regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, identifying 100 areas of concern with the “suggestion” that minor route changes and workspace reductions would button up most issues. You can bet your bottom dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline will bend over backwards to make those adjustments.
This is how adults handle things:
FERC has asked Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) to provide additional information on its proposed natural gas pipeline within 20 days, after taking note of more than 100 items or inconsistencies that raised concerns with federal regulators.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is preparing a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project [CP15-554], which would transport 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales to satisfy heating and electric generation demand in the Southeast.
In a 36-page letter to the pipeline’s backers — Dominion, Duke Energy and Southern Company Gas — FERC said it had identified seven geological areas of concern. Among them, it found numerous locations along the pipeline’s route that contain known and suspect closed depressions within the project’s current workspace. The locations were listed in an updated karst survey report filed last February.
“It appears that many of these features could be avoided by small route variations and/or potential workspace reductions,” FERC said, adding that ACP and Dominion should clarify whether they “propose to incorporate route and/or workspace design revisions to avoid or minimize impacts to these features.”
Editor’s Note: Jim gets to the root of fractivist lying here. The Delaware Povertykeeper a/k/a Riverkeeper and its ilk want the world to believe any result they don’t support must be a “rubber stamp,” when the truth is just the opposite. This is what they’re paid to do to harass FERC and, especially, applicants. It’s what trust-funder elitists with their guilt assuaging agendas, along with wealthy investors sucking off the government solar and wind subsidy teat, do to advance their very special interests.