Thursday, October 16, 2014

FERC's Illegal abuse of NEPA -- EA Fast Track vs. full EIS

Here is the lowdown on the FERC a priori EA vs EIS decision
made prior to NEPA scoping!
They seem to decide before they have all the facts.

I credit Maya van Rossum of DRN for bringing this issue to my attention.

I think this is extremely damning.

May take a legal challenge, but we would
expect to see a lot of projects presently being
fast-tracked slowed down.

  • Dominion Cove Point LNG Export (CP13-113)
  • Dominion New Markets Project (CP14-497)
  • and the Arlington Gas Storage at Seneca Lake (CP13-83) 
  • ...and likely many others
... are all being fast-tracked with the illegal EA process.

You can actually see this illegal process on FERC's website, in their flowchart.

Note well there is no path to convert an EA into an EIS.

Now read the NEPA Handbook!! You will see that after an EA, there should be a FOSI or FONSI determination. If a FOSI, then there MUST BE an EIS. However, this path is missing from the flowchart.

  • FOSI = Finding of Significant Impact 
  • FONSI = Finding of No Significant Impact
    YO! While the Fonz was the epitome of COOL,
    FERC's standard "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI)
    for massive industrial polluters is UNCOOL.
  • EA = Envirionmental Assessment
  • EIS = Environmental Impact Statement (min. 2-3 years)

I do not see  the term "FONSI / FOSI" in the law itself  42 USC Title 15 (NEPA).

It originates in one of these locations:
There does seem to be a path whereby the application
does not need an EA to show a FOSI so as to trigger an EIS.

So the statement "an EA is required in either case" does not appear to be correct.
(I may have got this wrong earlier).

There is a legal fast-track to get to a FULL EIS,
but there is no legal fast track to AVOID a full EIS.

Only an EA can decide that upon the FOSI/FONSI determination.

In typical in-your-face style,
the FERC does not hide this fact they are doing this!!!

The bad news is I see all kinds of ridiculous cases (including one involving Monsanto-- not a FERC case obviously, but still NEPA) where the courts showed a FONSI where clearly a FOSI is indicated.
The full EIS vs. the EA "Fast Track"
Here is JUST ONE WAY that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is violating the law (of many)


1 comment:

Curt Nordgaard said...

Another project currently falling to a similar fate: Atlantic Bridge project, which will facilitate export of eastern US fracked gas to Canada and export to Europe.

From a July 15 letter from Algonquin Gas/Spectra and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline companies, filed under Atlantic Bridge docket PF15-12:

"As explained in its NOI (Notification of Intent to file an EA), the Commission to date has determined that an Environmental Assessment (“EA”), rather than an EIS, will be prepared to review the environmental impacts of the Project. By initiating a scoping comment period prior to the EA, the Commission already has gone beyond what it is required to do under the CEQ regulations."

Curtis Nordgaard, MD