FERC’s EJ drive

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022

FERC’s Democratic majority is upping its rhetoric around the importance of environmental justice considerations when approving new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. But the path forward remains unclear, with resistance from the right over potential impacts on market certainty and skepticism from environmentalists on the administration’s progress executing its EJ goals.

The tensions were highlighted during the commission’s open meeting last week , where the Democratic majority agreed that greater environmental justice considerations should have played a part in permitting a compressor station in Weymouth, Mass. The station is located in an area “burdened by multiple industrial facilities,” Commissioner Willie Phillips said. “And sadly, this pattern of consolidating industrial activity in such communities is neither isolated nor unique.”

Still, the project didn’t meet the legal threshold for its license to get revoked, the commission decided, disappointing advocates and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) , who said the people of Weymouth were “living right now in the shadow of this dangerous fossil fuel facility.”

But that doesn’t mean fossil fuel interests are resting either, with industry backers watching in earnest how the Democratic commissioners’ rhetoric will be acted on in future cases. And the partisan split is adding to the market uncertainty, with commissioners generally aiming to present a united front to offer them stability.