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January 20th, 2016:

Environmental Groups Seek Probe of Natural Gas Regulatory Agency

American Energy Coalition - January 20th, 2016

Massachusetts environmental groups are among 165 nationwide calling for a federal investigation into the agency that oversees the approval of interstate natural gas pipelines, according to a recent article on MassLive.com.

One of the groups (the Delaware Riverkeeper Network) recently referred to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as a “rogue agency that is blatantly biased towards the pipeline companies it purports to regulate,” according to the article.

The Riverkeeper Network, which announced its list of supporters last week, has asked U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to seek an investigation of FERC by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), according to MassLive.com. (Sanders and Warren serve on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.)

The group claims FERC has never denied an application for a natural gas pipeline. It describes the Commission as “100 percent funded by the industry it regulates” and says it shares a  “party-like atmosphere” with the industry it regulates.

“It’s time to transform FERC into an agency that protects and serves the public — not the natural gas pipeline industry,” wrote Riverkeeper director Maya K. van Rossum. “The GAO must take immediate action to ensure that FERC’s malfeasance does not go unchecked.”

FERC is currently reviewing the proposed Northeast Energy Direct, a 400-plus-mile interstate gas pipeline that would impact Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. The project proponent is Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a Kinder Morgan subsidiary.

FERC is composed of up to five commissioners appointed by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate. Under the Natural Gas Act, FERC is responsible for permitting interstate gas pipelines.

To read the MassLive.com article, click here.

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