FERC has approved construction of the PennEast Pipeline, rejecting objections ginned up through an organized campaign funded by the William Penn Foundation.
Although it will still need approvals from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delaware River Basin Commission or DRBC (which has no actual authority over pipelines but to which PennEast agreed to submit), the PennEast Pipeline now has FERC approval. It came despite a parade of ridiculous objections raised by project opponents, many of whom, just like the DRBC, have been funded by the detestable trust-funders at the William Penn Foundation. The Delaware Riverkeeper’s assertions got particularly short shrift, in fact.
The significance of PennEast FERC approval is explained in this news release, but I found the order itself more interesting. It’s full of interesting tidbits. Three of the FERC Commissioners, for example, issued individual opinions. One of those was a dissent by Commissioner Richard Glick. It’s at the tail end of the order and well worth perusing for its lessons in incoherence, a sample of which is offered here:
I recognize that part of the reason that the record in this proceeding is incomplete is that landowners have denied PennEast access to their land for the purpose of conducting the necessary studies and assessments. However, the question whether landowners should be required to provide pipeline developers with access to their property for the purpose of determining whether it is suitable for a proposed pipeline is one that is and should be left to the states to decide. The Commission should not use the pipeline certification process as an end run around states and landowners that choose not to grant access to their property before a certificate is issued.
What Glick is arguing is that every pipeline project automatically be placed in a Catch 22 situation where it needs FERC approval to access land for environmental studies, but cannot secure such FERC approval without the information those very studies of land to which it is denied access would provide. This policy, if employed by FERC, would stop every new pipeline project, as no company would risk investing in a project where a handful of NIMBY landowners or anti-gas states could halt everything by simply denying access to critical information. This is the idiocy Flick proposes.