Eight AGs Submitted Comments to FERC Urging Stronger Economic, Environmental Reviews for New Pipelines

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of eight attorneys general in filing comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in support of a stronger review process for new natural gas pipelines, raising concerns that FERC’s decision-making process is too narrowly focused on the concerns of industry. The AGs’ comments recommended probing the relationship between utilities and gas pipeline proponents, evaluating regional energy needs and a more comprehensive environmental analyses including the evaluation of potential climate impacts. FERC has approved 180 billion cubic feet of new interstate natural gas pipeline construction per day in the 18-year period between 1999 and 2017, a total that the attorneys general noted “exceeds current national peak demand.” New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood joined in submitting the coalition comments and also submitted separate comments noting that FERC often finishes its approval process too quickly, overriding New York’s ability to complete its own assessment of the environment impacts of new pipelines, and harming the state’s policy priorities with regard to clean energy.