Building people power for
climate & energy justice

Outgoing Energy Regulator Urged his Agency to Improve its Review of Gas Pipelines — News Release from NC WARN

Critics of Atlantic Coast Pipeline call for FERC to Heed the Warning

Today NC WARN’s attorney notified the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of a statement we found that was written by Commission chair Norman Bay as he left FERC in February.

Chairman Bay questioned the way the agency assesses the need for gas pipeline projects because it assesses the need for each pipeline based solely on contracts for use of the pipeline.  He also criticized FERC’s lack of attention to analyzing environmental impacts of the infrastructure and specifically urged the agency to analyze lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

Bay’s statement applies to the proposed Atlantic Coast (fracked gas) Pipeline, a 600-mile, $5 billion project of Dominion Resources and Duke Energy that’s being hotly contested in North Carolina, Virginia and other states.  As NC WARN attorney John Runkle wrote in today’s letter to FERC:

The use of natural gas, and the resulting methane releases from venting and leakage, is now the primary driver of the increasing climate crisis. Rather than increase the development of natural gas infrastructure, the Commission should take the lead in reducing it significantly.

 Dr. Robert Howarth of Cornell University states “the climate responds very quickly to methane, so if we reduced our methane emissions from shale gas now, we will slow the rate of global warming . . . in fact that is the only way to avoid irreversible harm to the climate.” 

FERC cannot shirk its responsibility by ignoring methane impacts. We urge the Commission to review Commissioner Bay’s recommendations for revaluation of the need for specific projects, and for a programmatic EIS on the upstream impacts in the Marcellus and other fracking plays. 

The showing of need made by the Commission should be based on more than the contracts between two parties who are, in the case of the proposed ACP, two of the owners of the pipeline. The impacts of fracking, and venting and leakage of methane throughout the natural gas infrastructure, should enter into every decision made by the Commission. 

NC WARN is a member of NC APPPL: Stop the Pipeline

 See updates on the 2-week Walk To Protect Our People And The Places We Live at 

Daily reports at

Donate Now