Antis Attempt to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Pipe by Attacking FERC Order

Sometimes this regulatory stuff gives us a headache. Like today. A common practice by anti-fossil fuel nutters when opposing a pipeline project at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is to request a “re-hearing” on a decision FERC has made to authorize a project. It’s just standard operating procedure. If the antis can get FERC to agree to a re-hearing, it effectively slows, even stops, an active pipeline project. So in an effort to prevent important projects from being slowed or stopped, FERC developed something called a “tolling order”–which grants FERC more time to consider whether or not a full re-hearing is justified. During the time of the tolling order (which can last up to six months), work on a pipeline continues. Sometimes the work even gets completed! Which of course drives the antis bonkers. Antis claim FERC uses tolling orders to avoid lawsuits. You see, antis can’t take their frivolous cases to a court until FERC has officially denied a re-hearing request. So by using a tolling order, FERC can drag out the process of deciding to deny a re-hearing, avoiding the inevitable frivolous lawsuit that comes with it, and work on important projects gets done. This is how things must operate in our litigious society that tolerates the antics of anti-fossil fuelers (with seemingly bottomless pockets of money to litigate every project). New wrinkle: When FERC Commissioner Norman “cry baby” Bay resigned in a huff effective Feb. 3, it left FERC without enough Commissioners (without a quorum) to vote on tolling orders, re-hearing requests, etc. So on Feb. 3, before Bay left, the existing three Commissioners delegated their authority over re-hearings and tolling orders to FERC staffers–until a new Commissioner is appointed and sworn in. Antis against Atlantic Sunrise are using the delegated tolling order issue against FERC in their attempt to stop commencement of construction on Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, claiming they are being deprived of their “due process”…

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