Fully 135 organizations have issued a statement to Senators urging them to rebuke President Donald Trump’s (R) nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The statement letter represents the interests of over 1 million people and urges members of the US Senate to put the health and clean water of millions of people ahead of the fossil-fuel industry’s profits.
Representative organizations, like The Center And Library for the Bible and Social Justice, People Over Pipelines and Exact Solar, contend that Trump’s appointees will continue to recklessly approve oil pipeline development. They also argue that FERC’s decisions are made without the input of local communities affected by such projects. This process ultimately overlooks and complicates the potential of developing sustainable energy sources like solar and wind.
“FERC serves the industry it supposedly regulates instead of the American public, and its rubber stamping of pipelines nationwide puts millions of people at risk,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Green America. “It is imperative that all Americans voice their opposition to business as usual at FERC and oppose any Trump nominees to the agency.”
As an example of FERC’s lack of services, the pledge highlights the more than 1,000 pipeline accidents that occurred in the five years between 2010 and 2015, despite it only rejecting one project in the last 30 years. They criticize the agency for “rubber stamping” project approvals in favor of the fossil-fuel industry by relying on data provided by industry-chosen experts for environmental impact data rather than evaluate potential risk analysis from independent groups.
“The evidence is clear: fossil fuels put the health and well-being of workers and many communities at risk,” said Maureen McCue, Iowa Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Extraction sites involve serious environmental damage and occupational risk. The health of those living along transport routes and pipelines, like those living near refineries is adversely affected; health impacts associated with fossil fuel induced climate change are complex and widespread. Fortunately, there are cleaner, healthier alternatives. Efficiency and clean fossil-free fuels like wind and solar bring well-paying jobs and minimal to no health or adverse environmental impacts. It's time to consider the real costs and benefits of our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Indigenous and environmentalist protests against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines raised awareness of the risks of pipeline construction and oil transportation. Those protests led to President Barack Obama’s (D) rejection of Keystone XL, which ultimately was a symbolic gesture, but was recognized as indicative of his administration’s progressive renewable energy legacy.
Trump has been extremely vocal about his goals to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), deregulate the coal and fossil-fuel industries and expand the development of transcontinental oil pipelines. Trump already cut the Stream Protection Rule that prohibited coal companies from dumping waste into rivers and streams citing that the regulations were too “costly” for the industry. Additionally, Trump appointed former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt, who today (March 9) said he didn’t believe carbon dioxide contributed to global warming on national television, has an extensive history of supporting fossil-fuel companies by suing the EPA numerous times over regulations imposed on the natural-gas fracking industry.Tweet