Virginia Governor Moves to Bypass FERC in Regulating Pipe Projects

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Not until a few years ago when the corrupt Andrew Cuomo decided to block federally approved pipeline projects like the Constitution, and then Northern Access, did the issue of states rights verses the rights of the federal government come into sharp focus with respect to pipeline projects. At its core, it is an age-old issue. During the founding of our country the early leaders wrestled with how much control a federal government should have. We have a Bill of Rights (and a Constitution) specifically to LIMIT how much control the federal government exercises over the individual states. We support a very limited federal government. However, the founders recognized there will be times when the interests and “rights” of states clash with the federal government, and with other states. How to break a tie when deciding competing interests? Perhaps not in their wildest dreams would the founders have foreseen things like interstate highways, high tension electric lines, and yes, natural gas pipelines. Through the years our country has innovated a system based on the original founders’ vision, using agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to oversee the permitting and permissioning of infrastructure projects like pipelines. What happens if several states want and need gas from a pipeline, but a single state stands in the way and blocks it, denying the citizens of other states the benefit of that gas? That’s why FERC was created–to referee such “wisdom of Solomon” situations. New York plunged us down the slippery slope of overturning long-established law with their lawless action in blocking FERC-permitted pipelines. Other states noticed and are now trying it themselves (like Massachusetts). The latest state to take a stab at assuming powers it doesn’t legally possess is Virginia, under a Democrat governor who plans to pass legislation that can willy nilly stop construction of federally approved pipelines like Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline…

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