Kuster Helps Introduce Legislation to Support Public Engagement in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Proceedings
Kuster’s remarks and questioning about the bill at the Energy Subcommittee Hearing on FERC oversight can be viewed here.
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Joseph Kennedy III (MA-04), and Stephen Lynch (MA-08) to introduce the Public Engagement at FERC Act. The legislation would give the public an opportunity to play a part in forging our nation’s energy future by creating an Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy at FERC. This office would support public engagement in FERC proceedings and advocate for residential and small commercial energy consumers.
“I’ve heard from many communities in New Hampshire who have serious concerns that FERC has not adequately taken their viewpoints into consideration when planning or developing energy projects,” said Kuster. “We need to ensure that local communities have a meaningful opportunity to weigh in on the impact of any new energy project that comes through their backyard. I’m proud to support this bill, which will fund the Office of Public Participation within FERC and require the agency to better give constituents a voice in the review process of projects.”
Kuster has long fought for greater community input at FERC, calling on the Commission and Kinder Morgan to include impacted communities in the planning and approval process of the proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline in 2015.
As one of the lead agencies responsible for developing energy infrastructure and ensuring reliability of the electric grid, FERC has ultimate jurisdiction over rates and services of the wholesale electricity markets, licensing of non-federal hydropower, and natural gas pipeline siting and permitting. While FERC’s decisions significantly impact the energy prices consumers pay as well as energy infrastructure siting, participation by consumers in FERC’s complex proceedings is currently extremely challenging.