FERC recovers cost of operations through charges and fees from the industries it regulates –FERC FY14 Budget

Don’t believe FERC is funded by the industries it regulates? Well, let’s look beyond FERC’s own About web page to its actual funding request to Congress. Maybe that will motivate you to ecomment to FERC right now, and to contact your local, state, and national elected and appointed officials.

Acting Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur, FEDERAL  ENERGY  REGULATORY  COMMISSION, FY 2015 Congressional Performance Budget Request,

Full Cost Recovery

The Commission recovers the full cost of its operations through annual charges and filing fees assessed on the industries it regulates as authorized by the Federal Power Act (FPA) and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. The Commission deposits this revenue into the Treasury as a direct offset to its appropriation, resulting in no net appropriation.

Clear enough that FERC is 100% funded by the industries it regulates?

That may seem like a win for the taxpayers. But is it a win for you the local landowners who are threatened with eminent domain? Or for you the neighbors within the blast radius of a pipeline? Or for the local and state taxpayers who will have to pick up the tab for leak or explosion emergency response, hospital, etc.? Or the tab for sinkhole remediation? Or for irremediable aquifer contamination?

What is this funding for, anyway?

MISSION

RELIABLE, EFFICIENT, AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR CONSUMERS

Assist consumers in obtaining reliable, efficient, and  sustainable energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means. 

It’s all about “consumers”. Which is economic jargon for profit by “producers”, in other words the very same utilities and fossil fuel companies that fund FERC.

Nothing about your private property rights in fee simple to your land. Nothing about the public welfare or public benefits. Nothing about protecting the environment.

FERC rubberstamping pipelines, compressor stations, and LNG export is taxation without representation by plowing through your property or your local and state taxes having to deal with disasters for pipelines or compressor stations your local and state representatives never approved in the first place.

Fulfilling this mission involves pursuing three primary goals: 

  1. Ensure that rates, terms, and conditions of jurisdictional energy services are just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory or preferential. 
  2. Promote the development of safe, reliable, secure, and  efficient energy infrastructure that serves the public interest. 
  3. Achieve organizational excellence utilizing resources  effectively, adequately equipping FERC employees for  success, and executing responsive and transparent processes  that strengthen public trust.

Parts in yellow were added since the previous annual FERC budget filing.

  1. The added clause actually limits the parts about “just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory or preferential”. So if a pipeline takes your land or taxes or water or air or wetlands or wildlife unjustly, unreasonably, or with preference or discrimination, that’s explicitly not FERC’s problem. You and your family and your neighbors are just economic externalities to FERC. Maybe you should say Come and Take It!.
  2. If FERC really wants to promote the public interest with secure energy infrastructure, it can cancel all the new pipelines and tell its sugar daddy fossil fuel companies it’s time to convert to solar and wind power.
  3. FERC added a whole third marketing clause this year, so as to better sell its fossil fuel patrons’ products. With still nothing about protecting property rights, the environment, reducing enemy targets, or protecting the country from climate change while promoting local jobs for the actual general Welfare.
Who is the real enemy? As the Georgia Water Coalition wrote in Dirty Dozen #9 this year,

Southwest Georgians are fighting an invader—one every bit as worrisome as the boll weevil that destroyed cotton harvests in the 1900s, except this one takes farmers’ land as well as crops.

We the People have spoken repeatedly at the sham Open Houses held by the pipeline companies and at the farcical Scoping Meetings held by FERC and at the meetings organized by local governments from Gilchrist County, Florida to Dougherty County, Georgia: we don’t want your pipeline! Not On Our Planet Ever (NOOPE)!

Not to mention the patriots repeatedly getting arrested in front of FERC, the 40,000 people who marched on the White House in February 2013, or the 400,000 people who marched in New York City a few months ago, all demanding an end to fossil fuel tyranny and real clean energy now.

If you, like Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation, have had enough of these spoiled pipeline brats stealing off of our land, you can ecomment to FERC right now. You can tell your local county commission or city council to grow a spine and stand up for their citizens, like Hamilton County, FL and Dougherty County, GA have already done. That got Sabal Trail to say it will move off the Withlacoochee River in Florida, but it still would cross Withlacoochee River in Georgia, and every proposed route would the Suwannee River in Florida. It’s time for the Lowndes County Commission and the Suwannee County Commission and all the other county commissions to stand up for their people.

-jsq

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