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IEEFA comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on new fossil gas pipelines

May 25, 2021
Suzanne Mattei and Tom Sanzillo
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Key Findings

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is responsible for deciding whether to certify proposed interstate gas pipeline projects for construction, has been basing its pipeline necessity determinations on the applicant’s business contracts rather than on an independent analysis of actual energy needs or the public interest. In doing so, it neglects to analyze the sweeping energy market changes that should inform its decisions.

Executive Summary

FERC has invited public comment on its guideline for deciding whether an interstate pipeline project qualifies for a “Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity” under the Natural Gas Act. The current policy allows FERC to rely solely on precedent contracts between a pipeline owner and a utility or other receiver to justify the need for a pipeline to be built. IEEFA’s report— FERC’s Failure to Analyze Energy Market Forces—details how over-reliance on the mere existence of business contracts for gas prompts FERC to approve pipelines that don’t make financial sense for the public and investors.

 

Press release: FERC neglects energy needs in pipeline decisions

Suzanne Mattei

Suzanne Mattei is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in public interest law and policy. She has analyzed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies related to interstate pipeline approval. She has also conducted research on blue hydrogen, petrochemical projects, gas flaring and fossil fuel extraction on public lands.

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Tom Sanzillo

Tom Sanzillo is Director of Financial Analysis for IEEFA. He has produced influential studies on the oil, gas, petrochemical and coal sectors in the U.S. and internationally, including company and credit analyses, facility development, oil and gas reserves, stock and commodity market analysis, and public and private financial structures. He also examines such areas as community and shareholder activism, institutional investment, public subsidies and Puerto Rico’s energy economics.

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