FERC Confirmations Threaten to Continue Agency's Status Quo as Rubber-Stamp for Pipelines
The Senate voted to confirm Donald Trump's nominees on Thursday for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson.
Chatterjee has a long track record of advocating on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. In his time working for Sen. Mitch McConnell, he spearheaded the push for Senate approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, sought to undermine U.S. leadership on the Paris climate accord, led McConnell's campaign to convince states to oppose the Clean Power Plan, and worked to lift the ban on crude oil exports.
As a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, Rob Powelson has at times been supportive of clean energy policies. However, he has shown a deep allegiance to the gas industry throughout his tenure, and has recently compared anti-gas activists to terrorists.
"It is disappointing to see the Senate confirm FERC Commissioners who have lengthy track records of prioritizing the interests of the fossil fuel industry over those of the American people," Lena Moffitt, senior director of the Sierra Club's Our Wild America Campaign, said. "As the gas industry is threatening a massive expansion of fracked gas projects, it is more important than ever that our FERC Commissioners put the health and safety of the public and our climate first, not rubber stamp any project the industry puts in front of them."
"Based on their records, we remain concerned that Chatterjee and Powelson will continue FERC's status quo, approving unneeded fracked gas pipelines that take private land for corporate gain and lock Americans into higher electricity rates while increasing our dependency on fossil fuels for decades to come," Moffitt continued. "While they may have moved through the confirmation process with ease, these nominees will be met with firm resistance from communities across the country who have fought against the buildout of fracked gas."