Local governments can fight pipelines, even though FERC is funded by the companies it regulates and basically acts as a marketing firm for them, which is why FERC has only denied two pipelines. Pass a community bill of rights. And dare Spectra or FPL or Williams or whoever to challenge it in court.
John Trallo wrote for Sane Energy Project 7 July 2014, FERC and the Regulatory Trap
That is not to say that citizens should not get involved with the FERC regulatory process. You should, to get on record. You just have to also act outside the FERC process on the local municipality level to zone it out, or make it too expensive for the operator.
The ideal way to stop pipelines is by establishing a Community Bill of Rights that essentially “zones out” this kind of activity, or restricts it and establishes safety standards and set-backs in such a way that it is no longer economically worthwhile for an operator to build. The concept of a Community Bill of Rights has been championed by CELDF (the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund), a non-profit, public interest law firm providing free and affordable legal services to communities facing threats to their local environment and quality of life. CELDF has assisted more than 150 communities across the country to establish such ordinances.
Myself, along with other members of the Shale Justice Coalition are now working with communities along the 176-mile path of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project by Williams Midstream. So far, we’ve gotten three municipalities to begin enacting community bill of rights ordinances.
Now, the industry, and most local solicitors, will claim that these ordinances “will be challenged, inspire law suits, and be overturned,” however, in the communities in PA, TX, LA, where Community Bills of Rights have been established, this has not happened. The reason is that the ordinance brings into question “corporate personhood:” Under the Constitution all people [persons] are equal under the law, which means that no “person” can claim to have more rights than another, and the rights of one can not take precedent over the rights of another. The legal challenge to corporate personhood would mean that if any corporation were indeed a “person,” then they would have to explain why they believe that they have more rights, or why their rights should matter more than actual citizens.
And that is a can of worms that industry does NOT want to risk opening.
And that Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project is owned by the same Williams Company that owns half of Gulfstream with Spectra Energy, and that owns Transco, whose Hillabee Expansion Project is the first in the Transco -> Sabal Trail -> FSC triple pipeline path to the sea where are are at least three already-approved LNG export operations in Florida. If Community Bills of Rights will work in Pennsylvania to stop that Atlantic methane Sunrise, why not in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida to stop that frack path to LNG export?