NRDC lap dog Eric Schneiderman was given a dog’s breakfast by FERC last week when the agency dismissed his ridiculous request for a tree-cutting hearing.
No, I’m not talking about that Napoleon, the Emperor produced by the French Revolution, but the famous pig from George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The character was seemingly created with Eric Schneiderman in mind, given his tactics. The Cliffs Notes description of the pig focuses on “his blatant lust for power…a ‘fierce-looking’ boar ‘with a reputation for getting his own way'” which involved “a combination of propaganda and terror that none of the animals can resist.” That is Eric Schneiderman, of course, and, in the 1999 film version, the pig self-destructs. Schneiderman, too, is self-destructing, with a little help from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Eric Schneiderman, as we’ve noted here many times, is a NRDC lap dog when he’s not playing Napoleon the pig. He does whatever is asked of him by the gang, from hassling tiny rural municipalities for daring to welcome natural gas development, to promoting their programs and attacking the Constitution Pipeline. Perhaps his most ludicrous effort was going after Constitution Pipeline for allowing tree-cutting by private landowners along the right-of-way they’re proposing to use for the pipeline.
Readers will recall FERC permitted tree-cutting in Pennsylvania by Constitution Pipeline itself, but held off in New York, as the state was contending the whole project. Some of the landowners in New York, though, decided they would cut the trees themselves and get the revenue. Schneiderman demanded FERC make Constitution Pipeline stop them, as if that were possible. He tried to intimidate everyone involved by demanding an “investigation” by FERC and then rejecting the results. FERC answered him once and, now, they’re doing so again, only harder, and it’s fun reading as the nasty little pig is taught some manners.
FERC succinctly states the issue at hand with one its footnotes:
The NY Attorney General does not assert that Constitution engaged in any tree clearing. Nor does the NY Attorney General’s May 13 Filing state who engaged in the tree clearing and other construction-related activities; rather it only states that tree cutting activity occurred which Constitution was aware of and was obligated to stop.
The agency then proceeds with the etiquette lesson for the pig (emphasis added):
The NY Attorney General asserts, but provides no supporting evidence, that Constitution and the Commission were aware that “extensive clear-cutting and other activities have occurred on the project right-of-way” over which the Commission has jurisdiction and Constitution has control, and that Constitution did not act to stop those activities…
The Certificate Order’s environmental conditions apply to the certificate “applicant” and its agents. The Commission’s Upland Erosion Control Revegetation and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures, which prescribe certain construction and restoration techniques for particular situations, apply to the “project sponsor” and its agents. The Commission’s jurisdiction and these legal requirements do not extend to private landowners or other third parties taking action in a project right-of-way…
Even if we were to accept the NY Attorney General’s alleged facts, it cites no authority making Constitution vicariously liable for the ground-disturbing activities of third parties in the project right-of-way, and so fails to explain how Constitution’s inaction to stop third parties’ ground-disturbing activities “violates applicable statutory or regulatory requirements,” as required for a complaint by Rule 206 of our Rules of Practice and Procedure. Therefore we will reject the NY Attorney General’s argument…
We will exercise our discretion to deny the NY Attorney General’s requests both that the Commission issue an Order of Investigation and that the Commission require disclosure of investigative information to the NY Attorney General or other interested entities.
That should be pretty clear, even to a lap dog or a narcissistic pig with delusions of grandeur.