A month ago, we discussed how oil and gas pipeline construction can be devastating to the environment and communities and can lead to long-lasting damage and the continued risk of spills. We also explained how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency in charge of approving interstate natural gas pipelines, unfairly prioritizes fossil fuel profits over private property rights, community safety, and environmental health.
Even though FERC often acts as nothing more than a “rubber stamp” for fossil fuel interests, Congress is now considering giving FERC even more power over the construction of pipelines. Last week, the House of Representatives approved two bills that seek to streamline the federal permitting process for oil and natural gas pipelines and give FERC even more power.
The goal of H.R. 2910, the “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act,” is faster and easier natural gas pipeline construction by streamlining the approval process. Increased and expedited pipeline construction will mean more private and tribal land seized using eminent domain and less time for owners to fight back. Additionally, the way that H.R. 2910 seeks to expedite natural gas pipeline approval is by giving FERC more power over the environmental review process. Already, the process of reviewing the environmental impacts of proposed pipelines is deeply flawed and fails to fully account for the impacts that the pipeline will have on waterways and communities, and ignores the climate impacts of building out fossil fuel infrastructure. H.R. 2910 would allow FERC to exclude input from other federal and state agencies from the environmental review process, sets an expedited review timeline, and allows conditional approvals based on remote surveys. This will lead to pipelines being built without an adequate consideration of the risks.
H.R. 2883, the “Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act,” is fossil fuel companies’ response to the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. During the Obama Administration, the pipeline project was stopped because the State Department denied an application for a Presidential Permit for the pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canadian border. H.R. 2883 seeks to assure pipeline projects will not be stopped in the future by putting FERC in charge of approving border crossings of both natural gas and oil pipelines.
Both of these bills have one goal – to prioritize the profits of fossil fuel and pipeline companies above the interests, safety, and health of communities and the environment. There are already many fossil fuel pipelines crisscrossing the United States, leading to decades of spills and other incidents throughout the country. But fossil fuel companies want to be able to build more to make moving their products easier and increase their profits.
H.R. 2910 and H.R. 2883 have already passed the House of Representatives, so this week, we are asking you to reach out to your Senators and tell them why we don’t need to make it even easier for Big Oil and Gas to recklessly build more pipelines:
“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of ZIP code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling today to express my concerns about two bills that have passed the House of Representatives and may soon be taken up by the Senate. H.R. 2910 and H.R. 2883 aim to expedite the approval of fossil fuel pipelines at the expense of communities and the environment. Pipelines have long-lasting impacts on waterways and pose a continual risk of spills and explosions. I believe that making it easier for pipeline companies to get approval by weakening the environmental review process is not in the best interests of our country. I also think that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should not be given more power over the pipeline review process, as this agency has proven its extreme bias in favor of fossil fuel industry profits. I hope that you will keep my concerns in mind if bills similar to H.R. 2910 and H.R. 2883 are introduced in the Senate. Thank you.”
Tip: Personalize your message with what concerns you most about building more fossil fuel pipelines.