Announcement of Commissioner Bay’s resignation will lead to lack of quorum necessary to hear public challenges to pipeline
Washington (February 1, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling on it to immediately rescind the order authorizing Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge pipeline project in light of the announcement from Commissioner Norman Bay that he will resign from FERC on February 3, 2017, which will leave FERC without the quorum needed to be able to hear challenges of this pipeline approval. The absence of a quorum at FERC could prevent opponents from challenging FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Bridge pipeline project for as long as the vacancies persist. FERC’s authorization of the pipeline will allow for the construction of new and expanded compressor stations, larger pipelines and the potential for natural gas to flow north out of New England to Canada, which could pave the way for the exportation of natural gas out of our region as liquefied natural gas.
“Given the announced resignation of former Chairman Bay following the approval of this pipeline project, we ask that FERC immediately rescind the order authorizing Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge Project until a new quorum can be reconstituted at the Commission,” write Senators Markey and Warren to FERC Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur. “Only by rescinding this pipeline approval until that time can the American people be assured that their voices will be properly heard and that this pipeline will not be permitted to go forward while opponents are silenced.”
A copy of the Senators’ letter to FERC can be found HERE.
Senators Markey and Warren have previously sent three letters since the summer of 2016 on the potential conflict of interest between Spectra and a third-party contractor on this project and FERC’s process for evaluating whether a conflict of interest exists. FERC has not yet responded to the Senators’ most recent request in January 2017 for more information.