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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was going to include climate change in their evaluations. Until they stepped back. Who do I condemn for this action?

Amid pushback from industry and lawmakers in both parties, federal energy regulators on Thursday scaled back plans to consider how natural gas projects affect climate change and environmental justice. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said a plan to consider climate effects will now be considered a draft and will apply to future projects. FERC on Thursday also approved two natural gas pipelines that will help power Venture Global’s proposed Plaquemines LNG export terminal in Plaquemines Parish. The agency will allow Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC to expand its pipeline system to move 2 trillion British thermal units per day of natural gas to the facility. Tennessee Gas Pipeline runs a web of pipelines that run through Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Houston-based TC Energy was granted permission to build 8 miles of pipeline to move 182 billion Btus a day of natural gas to the LNG terminal. Industry groups and key lawmakers had criticized a proposal approved last month to tighten climate rules, saying it was poorly timed amid a push for increased natural gas exports following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


We know who has the most sway in this commission and it is not us.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the climate policy “baffling,” while Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the agency’s “reckless decision to add unnecessary roadblocks” to approval of natural gas projects “puts the security of our nation at risk.” “At a time when we should be looking for ways to expedite the approval of these important projects, the (energy) commission has chosen on a purely partisan basis to do the exact opposite,” McConnell wrote in a letter Thursday, hours before the panel backtracked on the climate proposal. Climate activists accused FERC of bowing to political pressure, a claim FERC Chairman Richard Glick denied. “I’m not going to do anything for political purposes,” he told reporters, adding that he and other commissioners have had discussions with numerous pipeline and natural gas companies since the panel approved the climate policy last month. Industry leaders told them the policy changes “raise additional questions that could benefit from further clarification,” Glick said.

Anti climate change voices speak and they do anti climate change. That is not bowing to political pressure?

At a Feb. 17 meeting, the energy commission approved policy statements directing officials to consider how pipelines and other natural gas projects affect climate change and environmental justice. The statements were approved on a 3-to-2 vote along party lines, with Glick and two other Democratic commissioners supporting the policy changes and two Republicans opposed. The panel said at the time that the new guidance would take effect immediately and apply to pending and future gas projects. The panel voted unanimously Thursday to step back from that commitment, which is now labeled as a draft and would apply only to projects filed after FERC finalizes the policy statements. The commission said it will seek further public comment before making a final decision. The U.S. sharply increased LNG exports to Europe in the runup to the Ukraine war and is looking for ways to “surge” LNG supplies to Europe to help reduce the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas, said Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser.

The European need is a valid consideration but it needs to be discussed and not put on the front burner.

The EU imports 90% of the natural gas used to generate electricity, heat homes and supply industry, with Russia supplying almost 40% of EU gas and a quarter of its oil. The American Gas Association said FERC’s action to delay the climate policy was “encouraging,” adding that without changes, the plan would “actively discourage the development of pipeline infrastructure, reduce reliability and raise consumer costs.” The industry group filed a legal challenge to the climate plan last week. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, said FERC “must go back to the drawing board and start over on these harmful proposals.″ But Kelly Sheehan, senior director of the Sierra Club’s energy campaigns, said the draft policy was a small step toward meeting the commission’s legal requirements to protect the environment and guard against climate change. “The fossil fuel industry and the politicians they finance are pitching a fit because they’re worried FERC’s modest proposed policy changes might mean they no longer have free rein to build as many polluting pipelines as they want, with no regard for the impacts on communities or the climate,″ Sheehan said.

There are those who see this action as bad.

Former FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, a Republican who supported a compromise proposal on climate change last year, decried the panel’s actions. “Today’s result exposes that @ferc is now a political body more than a quasi-judicial one,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter. “Should more emphasis be placed on ‘lobbying’ commissioners than focusing on arguments in (court) pleadings?” Chatterjee, a former McConnell aide who was elevated to chairman by former President Donald Trump and later demoted by Trump, called the panel’s decision to delay the climate rule “a big-time win” for pipeline companies. Any company considering a natural gas project “should expedite and move forward ASAP before the commission finalizes the statements,” he wrote.

The battle continues and renewables are still winning but there are setbacks. This was a major one.

Federal Energy regulators step back
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