Is FERC’s Focus on Environmental Justice Going to Further Limit Pipeline Projects?

What’s the issue?

Within a month after assuming his position as chair, Chairman Glick announced an initiative to “better incorporate environmental justice and equity concerns into the Commission’s decision-making process.”

Why does it matter?

Pipeline projects are already required to demonstrate that they do not impose an undue burden on environmental justice communities. If this announcement represents a change in philosophy at FERC, it could create more problems for projects, which already face difficult siting choices and challenges by opponents.

What’s our view?

Chairman Glick has been a prolific dissenter on pipeline certificate orders -- over 100 times -- but FERC’s current environmental justice review process has not generally formed the basis for his dissents. The current FERC method for evaluating environmental justice appears to be a rare area of agreement across party lines, but there are forces both external and internal to FERC that could lead to different standards that may further limit pipeline development.

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