The end of October is the beginning of the formal FERC filing process, at least if Sabal Trail files October 31st as Andrea Grover has predicted. FERC not only takes comments during a formal filing, which usually lasts about a year, but as that process begins your group also can become an intervenor, which provides additional legal capabilities. Follow the link for details about FERC’s pre-filing and formal filing processes, with graphical and textual timelines.
Commenting with and watching the FERC process, or filing as an intervenor, is a great way to keep up with what’s going on. But depending on FERC alone would be foolish, since the same day Albany and Dougherty County citizens overwhelmingly opposed the pipeline in a public meeting, FERC approved Cove Point LNG export in Maryland, despite massive public opposition.
Fortunately, it’s not just FERC that decides about pipelines. State agencies have to consider air and water permits, and state transportation departments have to consider certificates of convenience. Local governments can pass land-use or other ordinances. Albany and Dougherty County, have you had enough talk? Will you pass an ordinance now? Lowndes County? Suwannee County, through which all seven proposed pipeline paths pass?
Plus federal agencies such as EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife, NOAA< etc. Here's a list of non-landowner stakeholders Sabal Trail filed with FERC.
The Alabama and Georgia Public Service Commissions might want to speak up, because they could end up deputized to investigate pipeline leaks, like PHMSA did to Oregon’s PUC.
And as Massachusetts has demonstrated, a governor can slow down a pipeline. Maybe the current governors of FL,GA,AL wouldn’t do that, but a new one might. And given that governors of all three states either owned stock in Spectra or took campaign contributions from Spectra’s PAC, there could be a new governor.