Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) is expected to introduce legislation to toughen Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) oversight by requiring it to apply more comprehensive procedures to its review of proposed pipeline applications before granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
The legislation that Watson Coleman will propose aims to strengthen oversight of proposed pipelines like PennEast by requiring FERC to conduct either a full evidentiary hearing or a cumulative review of major energy infrastructure projects that are planned throughout a region to determine if there is need for a project.
The new legislation would mandate that before granting a certificate for a proposed pipeline project, FERC consider:
- An analysis of demonstrated regional need for additional gas,
- the inefficient use of existing pipelines and underutilized pipelines,
- the effect of proposed pipelines on the customers of existing pipelines,
- a proposed pipeline’s compliance with clean power plans and state and federal renewable energy goals, and
- a region’s ability to meet any energy deficiencies with economically viable and less environmentally disruptive alternatives to pipelines.
Watson Coleman’s legislation will also require a fuller examination of cumulative regional impacts on the environment from pipelines, and a five-year monitoring program for approved interstate pipelines to ensure that identified environmental impacts are mitigated.