FERC: regulatory agency or marketing firm for pipeline companies?

Its name is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but lately it’s been sounding more like a marketing firm for pipeline companies. You can help fix that.

Bill Thompson wrote for Ocala.com 11 December 2013 about a meeting in Dunnellon, Florida, At open house, Sabal Trail presents plans for natural gas pipeline,

About 50 people attended an open house meeting held by Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, the energy firm that will construct the roughly 465-mile line for two of America’s biggest energy companies. The line will go through Alachua and Marion counties, among others….

John Peconom, project manager for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will have final approval over the pipeline, described Sabal Trails efforts at this point as “shaking the bushes.”

The company, he said, is attempting to identify — and mitigate, if necessary — as many issues as possible before filing its application with the government, which should come in about a year.

Peconom told me in Moultrie, GA 27 January 2014 that that last was FERC’s role. I wonder why FERC’s role is not to examine the big picture of whether any purported benefits of the pipeline outweigh its many hazards, whether Florida even needs all that energy, and whether there’s a better way to get it? Maybe it’s partly because the energy world is changing so fast even FERC is having trouble keeping up.

Sabal Trail began conducting open house meetings last week, and the company is hosting them in Georgia and Florida through the middle of next week. The pipeline is planned to extend from Tallapoosa County in east central Alabama to the Orlando area.

Peconom said the process should yield a better project and a more efficient review of it, once the application is filed.

Why is FERC promoting a better fracked methane pipeline product instead of evaluating whether the pipeline is a good idea in the first place? How about promoting a better product for the American people, namely safe, clean, solar and wind energy?

John Peconom told me he was willing to accept information from the public to help FERC do its research, especially on topics such as solar and wind power with which he is not yet thoroughly familiar. You can send such information and your opinion about that directly to FERC.


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