FERC approves southeast pipeline network, dismisses impact on climate change

Federal regulators again discounted the threat of climate change when they reinstated approval for a major natural gas pipeline network in the southeast. This time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) responded to a federal appeals court ruling stating that the Southeast Market Pipelines Project permit did not account for its impact on climate change by further insisting that its impact defies measurement. FERC had recently completed a supplemental review, which estimated that the Sabal Trail, which is just a portion of the larger pipeline network, would increase Florida’s total emissions by nearly 10 percent. Common sense says this is important, but the commission disagreed, claiming it had no means to assess the significance of the project in terms of emissions. Democratic members called the decision “willfully ignorant,” since it did not make use of tools that are currently available to analyze the data. As one member put it: "It would be convenient for a person to say 'I guess it is fine to eat this donut, because there is simply no way to assess if it will make me fat.' But there is such a tool, in the form of calories.”

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