Think back over the last six years and our fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). As you know, the agency that oversees the certification and construction of interstate natural gas pipelines is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). That agency, established by Congress in 1978, is supposed to weigh the need and necessity of a pipeline against the negative impacts that such a project would have on individuals and communities as well as natural and historic resources.
As we know all too well, that fair assessment never happened. You stood in line for hours to speak, you wrote letters that went unanswered, and quite frankly, we all felt like no one was listening to our concerns about the ACP as decisions were made and the project ramrodded through the certification process. Transparency? No! Accountability? No. Fairness? No way!
Well, a new day has dawned. Back in 1978 when FERC was created, the agency was supposed to also create an Office of Public Participation. That never happened…until now. For the first time ever, FERC seems sincere in wanting to improve its deeply flawed pipeline certification process! Moreover, the agency wants to hear from the people!
To kick things off, FERC is hosting a series of listening sessions on a variety of topics, starting with one tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17 between 1 and 2:30 p.m. (EST), for LANDOWNERS and COMMUNITIES. Speakers will have about 3 minutes to present their concerns.
If you’re not sure where to start, our friends at Appalachian Voices have compiled some questions to help you frame your comments here.
Whether you speak or submit written comments or both, your voice is important in this reform process. The voices of the people in the paths of these pipeline projects must be heard, respected, and used to guide future decisions made by this regulatory agency.