Senate Must Reject FERC Nominees and Spotlight Abuses

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Organizations Nationwide Taking Part in Lobby Days, Call-ins, and Senate Hearings to Send the Message That FERC’s Rubber Stamping of Pipelines Nationwide Must End.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 22, 2017 – Over 200 organizations from across the country will be taking part in a week of actions as the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee gears up for hearings on President Trump’s two nominees to be FERC commissioners. Representatives from organizations nationwide that are opposing pipelines and natural gas infrastructure projects approved or under review by FERC will be taking part in lobby days with senators on Monday and Tuesday. Those lobbying in Washington, D.C. will be joined by people nationwide calling their senators. Activists will also make a strong showing at the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearings scheduled for Thursday.

The week of actions highlights the growing national movement of residents, farmers, business owners, physicians, and environmentalists that are opposed to FERC’s reckless permitting of pipelines and infrastructure projects nationwide. Participants will be highlighting the abuses of power, law and people’s rights routinely exhibited by FERC. Those abuses strip people of their legal rights, undermine state legal authority, and ignore the tremendous harmful impacts of pipelines, which include drastically reduced property values; destruction of farmland; polluted water, air, and land; and methane emissions exacerbating the swift advance of climate change. Just this past month, the Rover pipeline, under construction and recently approved by FERC, resulted in two million gallons of drilling fluids leaking into Ohio wetlands.

“We have been calling for congressional investigation into FERC’s abuses of power and law for over a year now,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and among the lead organizers of this week’s efforts. “It is beyond distressing that Congress continues to side with the pipeline industry over the people. This is the Senate’s chance to change that. By using Congressional hearings into Trump’s FERC nominations, they can shine a spotlight on FERC’s abuses, demonstrate the need for serious reforms, and vote against any new FERC Commissioners until reforms have been instituted. Senators can demonstrate with whom they stand: corporate fossil fuel interests or the people.”

“This week will begin to reveal how many U.S. Senators get it on the seriousness of the problems with FERC,” Ted Glick, organizer, Beyond Extreme Energy. “The appropriate response to Trump’s nominations of Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson is not just to reject them but to oppose all of FERC’s rubber-stamping practices for the gas industry. The last thing the country needs is a rubber-stamping Senate confirmation of Trump nominees for rubber-stamping FERC.”

“Americans in red and blue states are increasingly feeling the impacts of pipelines and fracking,” said Green America Co-Executive Director Todd Larsen.“That’s why people across the country will be calling and visiting their senators this week to give the strong message that FERC’s abuses in permitting pipelines needs to be reined in.”

"The Senate has the opportunity to raise the many abuses of power occurring at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission we have documented,” said Karen Feridun, founder, Berks Gas Truth. “If they take a hard look at the facts, they will see that Powelson and Chatterjee are candidates who have no interest in putting the public first and would only exacerbate a situation crying for reform."

Contact: Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, 215-801-3043

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Green America is the nation's leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides economic strategies and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org