Washington DC//July 25, 2017// A coalition of organizations (The FERC Vacancies Coalition) opposed to natural gas pipelines and the restoring of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) quorum due to its rubber stamping of natural gas infrastructure is urging a “no” vote on The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (S 1460). Reports indicate that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will rush S 1460 to the floor this week, which activists have dubbed the Dirty Energy Bill because it will accelerate climate emissions and threaten communities as well.
The 850-page bill could be voted on as early as today, and despite never having been heard or debated in committee, it will lock the US into fossil fuel dependency for decades. This bill is a dream come true for the fossil fuel industry, and a disaster for our climate, which is why members of the FERC vacancies coalition oppose it.
The bill will:
- Hasten approvals for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities in the US. These facilities increase the demand for fracked natural gas, and then send that gas oversees. This would result in more communities harmed by natural gas fracking, pipelines, and other facilities, and create a devastating increase in climate emissions.
- Make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the lead agency in authorizing natural gas projects. FERC is infamous for always approving the fossil fuel industry’s proposed pipelines at the expense of local communities and the environment. Congress needs to curtail the power of the commission and replace it with one dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels, not increase its power.
- Increase funds for extraction of fossil fuels in coastal waters, which will increase the risk for repeated incidents like the Deepwater Horizon debacle. We need to put a moratorium on off-shore drilling for all fossil fuels, including natural gas, not expand it.
- Expedite the process for allowing fracking on federal lands.
At the same time, this legislation does absolutely nothing to increase wind or solar power in the US. While the US needs to shift rapidly to clean energy sources, this legislation would hold us hostage to decades more of reliance on fossil fuels and continue to raise the threat of climate change impacts across the nation and planet.
Despite the Democratic Party’s general support for reducing climate emissions, most Democrats in the Senate have not raised their voices in opposition to this energy bill. Just last week, activists representing a national coalition of affected community and environmental organizations harmed by FERC and fracked gas, walked the halls of the U.S. Senate buildings and met with more than a dozen Senate offices to oppose S1460. They are also protesting an upcoming vote that would restore a quorum at FERC. These climate activists urged senators to delay any votes that will expand or re-instate FERC’s power, until Congress holds hearings into the agency’s abuses of power and law and institutes needed reforms.
On July 20, Senator Sanders put out a strong statement in opposition to the S1460, but other Democrats have not joined Sander’s opposition to this bill that would increase threats to communities coast to coast. So far, no members of the Democratic leadership caucus have publicly opposed the bill.
On behalf of our members and constituents, our organizations call on every senator, and especially senators who voice support for our climate, clean water and environment, to vote “no” on S1460, and “no” on any FERC nominees that come to the floor.
About The FERC Vacancies Coalition. The coalition consists of over 200 groups nationwide, representing over a million people, who are calling on senators to not restore FERC’s quorum, and instead hold hearings into FERC’s abuses of power in permitting pipelines and natural gas infrastructure nationwide.
Contact: Todd Larsen, Green America, 202-872-5310, firstname.lastname@example.org