Florida and Georgia members of FERC’s House Subcommittee

Cathy Castor (FL-14) and John Barrow (GA-12) are on the oversight committee for FERC that had all the FERC Commissioners testify 5 December 2013: the Subcommittee on Energy and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Shouldn’t they be interested in hearing about the Sabal Trail pipeline? Each time someone files a comment with FERC, the filer could also send it to that subcommittee or their member of it, or their own member of Congress or Senators.

Unlike the other subcommittee that held a hearing pushing LNG exports, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power has the appropriate jurisdiction:


National energy policy; fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; nuclear facilities; the Department of Energy; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; synthetic and alternative fuels; energy conservation; energy information; utility issues; interstate energy compacts; energy generation, marketing, reliability, transmission, siting, exploration, production, efficiency, cybersecurity, and ratemaking for all generated power; pipelines; the Clean Air Act and air emissions; all laws, programs, and government activities affecting energy matters, including all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.

Not only fossil energy, also renewable energy, such as solar and wind. Not only utility issues, but also interstate energy compacts. Not only pipelines, but also the Clean Air Act and air emissions.

Here’s the subcommittee membership:

Chairman: Ed Whitfield (KY)
Vice Chairman: Steve Scalise (LA)
Ralph Hall (TX)
John Shimkus (IL)
Joseph R. Pitts (PA)
Lee Terry (NE)
Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (TX)
Bob Latta (OH)
Bill Cassidy (LA)
Pete Olson (TX)
David McKinley (WV)
Cory Gardner (CO)
Mike Pompeo (KS)
Adam Kinzinger (IL)
Morgan Griffith (VA)
Joe Barton (TX)
Fred Upton (MI)
Ranking Member: Bobby L. Rush (IL)
Jerry McNerney (CA)
Paul Tonko (NY)
John Yarmuth (KY)
Eliot L. Engel (NY)
Gene Green (TX)
Lois Capps (CA)
Michael F. Doyle (PA)
John Barrow (GA)
Doris O. Matsui (CA)
Donna M. Christensen (VI)
Kathy Castor (FL)
John D. Dingell (MI) (non-voting)
Henry A. Waxman (CA)

There’s nobody from Alabama, but one each from Florida and Georgia.

Kathy Castor (FL-14)

She wrote on her House website about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster,

The Gulf Coast’s economy and environment were hard hit by the BP oil disaster. Though no oil reached the shores of the Tampa Bay area, our small businesses, hotels and tourism industry suffered. I am committed to restoring our environment and making sure our businesses recuperate from the devastation.

That is why one of my top priorities this congressional term was to direct 80 percent of the fines and penalties to be paid by BP for violations of the Clean Water Act to restoring the Gulf Coast….

Drilling too close to shore imperils our economy, environment and security. This disaster in the Gulf of Mexico proves that oil drilling should not be allowed even one mile closer to the west coast of Florida. It is simply not worth the risk.

And the Sabal Trail gas pipeline is simply not worth the risk when Florida can move directly to solar power.

Here’s contact information for Cathy Castor (FL-14):

Washington, D.C. Office
205 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3376
Fax: (202) 225-5652
Office Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tampa Office:
4144 N Armenia Ave
Suite 300
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: (813) 871-2817
Fax: (813) 871-2864
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
St. Petersburg Office:
University of South Florida — St. Pete
Williams House
511 Second St. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 873-2817
Office Hours: Please call in advance.
Note: Please mail items to the Tampa District Office.

John Barrow (GA-12)

On his House website his energy platform does have some promising points:

There’s no question that folks in Georgia are worried about energy issues, from rising power bills, to reducing greenhouse gasses, to lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil. That’s why I’ve hosted Energy Expos in Augusta, Savannah, and Statesboro and had town hall meetings in every county in the 12th District, so I have time to listen to the folks I represent….

While I believe that global climate change is a huge concern, and we need to do everything we can to create new sources of energy that are clean, cheap, and abundant….

…investment in research and development for clean energy and lower-emission automobiles….

He’s very behind the times about solar power and offshore wind:

This is difficult for states like Georgia, where there isn’t an abundance of wind or solar power.

But this could be an opportunity for him to learn more, and at least he doesn’t explicitly say he’s for gas pipelines.

Here’s contact information for John Barrow (FL-12):

Washington, DC 2202 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-2823 Open every Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 1-866-890-6236

He also has offices in 19 Georgia counties, four of which are open more than once a week.


For those who are interested, the IRS says:

The first regime, which applies to IRC 501(c)(3) public charities, permits these organizations to lobby so long as they do not devote a substantial part” of their activities to attempting to influence legislation.

An opinion of clarification by Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum Esq., Venable LLP for The Center for Association Leadership, May 2002, Top Ten Myths about 501(c)(3) Lobbying and Political Activity,

501(c)(3) organizations can, and often should, lobby at all levels of government. Federal tax law has always permitted some lobbying by nonprofits. The 1976 lobbying tax law passed by Congress made that expressly clear. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) followed with implementing regulations. The federal government clearly supports lobbying by 501(c)(3) organizations. Together, the law and regulations provide wide latitude for 501(c)(3) organizations to lobby.

The law makes it very clear how much a 501(c)(3) organization can spend on lobbying—up to $1 million depending on the size of the organization—if the 501(h) election is made. The law also makes it clear which activities are lobbying and which are not. For example, lobbying occurs only when there is an expenditure of money by the 501(c)(3) for the purpose of attempting to influence legislation. Where there is no expenditure by the organization for lobbying (such as lobbying by members or volunteers), there is no lobbying by the organization.

The right of citizens to petition their government is basic to our democratic way of life, and associations, including 501(c)(3)s, are one of the most effective vehicles for making use of citizen participation in shaping public policy. Fortunately, the legislation passed by Congress in 1976 makes it possible for 501(c)(3)s to lobby freely for the causes, communities and constituencies they serve.

Generally, organizations that make the 501(h) election under the 1976 lobbying law may spend 20% of the first $500,000 of their annual expenditures on lobbying ($100,000), 15% of the next $500,000, and so on, up to $1 million dollars.


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