Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is the agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil, and electricity. It also licenses, inspects and oversees environmental matters for hydroelectric projects and major electricity policy initiatives.
FERC implements laws passed by Congress, which give the Commission its legal authority to do business under Title 18 – Conservation of Power and Water Resources, Parts 1 to 399 – of the Federal Code of Regulations (CFR).
FERC’s oversight role of natural gas
FERC’s natural gas responsibilities include regulation of:
- Pipeline, storage and liquefied natural gas facility construction;
- Interstate transportation of natural gas; and
- Facility abandonment.
- Oversees the construction and operation of pipeline facilities at United States points of entry for the import or export of natural gas;
- Issues certificates of public convenience and necessity to prospective companies providing energy services or constructing and operating interstate pipelines and storage facilities;
- Establishes rates for services.
Environmental protection procedures
With respect to natural gas projects, FERC safeguards the environment by:
- Disclosing, analyzing and minimizing impacts where it is feasible and reasonable to do so;
- Encouraging applicants to communicate with relevant federal and state natural resources agencies, Native American nations and state water quality agencies prior to submitting an application;
- Ensuring that all applicants perform the necessary studies to make an informed decision on the project;
- Issuing environmental assessments impact statement for comment on most projects;
- Requiring steps to reduce environmental impacts with any certificate issued;
- Visiting proposed project areas to determine the range of environmental issues requiring analysis and holding scoping meetings as appropriate.
For more information:
The information below explains FERC’s review process for the planned project, and how you can get involved in the process.
When a pipeline company is ready to begin preparing its FERC application for approval of a project like the Northeast Supply Link Expansion, it will typically initiate what is known as the FERC pre-filing processprior to submittal of the application. The pre-filing process is facilitated by the FERC to encourage involvement by citizens, government entities and other interested parties in the very early design stages of a proposed project.
During the pre-filing process, FERC notifies citizens, government entities and other interested parties of the proposed project and requests comments. As part of the pre-filing process, Williams will host a series of public workshops in the areas potentially affected by the proposal. Representatives from FERC normally participate in these meetings as well. FERC may also hold public scoping meetings in the project area. In February 2011, Williams requested that FERC initiate a pre-filing environmental review of the Northeast Supply Link Expansion proposal. The project was assigned docket number PF11-4. You may access the filing by clicking here.
An integral component to FERC’s review of a proposed project is the Application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate Application). The Certificate Application is a comprehensive document that describes the proposed project, its need and potential environmental impacts.
Williams filed a Certificate Application with FERC in December 2011 seeking approval to construct the Northeast Supply Link Expansion project (Docket Number CP12-30). The project received federal approval in November 2012. All documents and correspondence submitted to or issued by FERC regarding the project can be accessed by referencing the Docket Number on the FERC website located at http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/fercgensearch.asp.
Among other things, the Certificate Application contains a description of the new facilities, need for the project, detailed maps, schedules, and various environmental reports that detail the various studies and analyses that have been conducted to determine what effect construction and operation could potentially have on the environment and community. The environmental reports include an analysis of route alternatives, as well as an analysis of potential impacts to water resources, vegetation and wildlife, cultural resources, socioeconomics, soils, geology and land use.