With quorum present, FERC should approve pipeline projects

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which plays a vital role in making sure the national electrical grid is functional, is back in business.

The Senate approved two new nominees last week, giving the board three members.Acting Chairwoman Cheryl LeFleur said the commission will work to address matters that have been idled.

“With a quorum restored, our first order of business is the backlog of orders and issues that are awaiting commission consideration,” LeFleur told the Washington Examiner.

Among those issues are several pipeline projects vital to Marcellus Shale development in West Virginia.

Those projects, which have been properly vetted by federal regulators, await FERC’s stamp of approval.

State organizations that support Marcellus Shale drilling and the pipelines are pleased FERC appears ready to act, after more than a nine-month hiatus.

“With the restoration of a quorum, these pipeline projects can proceed along their anticipated timeline without further delays caused by the commissioner vacancies, increasing development of oil and natural gas and, in turn, greatly benefiting our state and local economies,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.

Two of the five proposed pipelines are nearly shovel ready, with the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines already reviewed for environmental concerns. Both received favorable ratings.

And both projects would affect every oil and gas company and their thousands of employees here in the Mountain State.

While the industry has been stagnant for several years, the start of pipeline work will not only bring thousands of jobs for that specific work, but it will spur drillers to begin exploration again.

We’ve said it before: The pipelines are a winning proposition as long as they balance the benefits of economic development with environmental concerns.

The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines have exceeded those standards and deserve FERC approval at its upcoming meeting in September.

This article was authored by John Miller for the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram. Click here to read it on the publication's website.