Siting of Interstate Gas Infrastructure
The Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC, sometimes referred to as “The Commission”) is charged by Congress with evaluating whether interstate natural gas projects proposed by private companies should be approved. This authority, under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. S717f(c), allows FERC to issue a “certificate of public necessity and convenience” for the construction and operation of natural gas pipelines and facilities used to transport gas across state lines. FERC does not have jurisdiction over the siting of intrastate natural gas pipelines nor for hazardous liquids.
In addition to evaluating whether interstate natural gas projects proposed should be approved, FERC approves the location, construction, operation, and abandonment of interstate pipelines, facilities, LNG facilities, and gas storage fields involved in moving natural gas across state boundaries. FERC’s determination whether to approve such a project may affect a landowner if their land is where an interstate natural gas pipeline, other facilities, or underground storage fields might be located. If you find out that an interstate gas project is being proposed across your land or in your community, you should educate yourself about these four topics:
- How FERC procedures work
- How the location of an interstate gas facility or project is decided
- What safety, environmental, and cultural issues might be involved
- What rights you have
1. How FERC Procedures Work; 2. How the Location of An Interstate Gas Facility is Decided; and, 3. What Safety, Environmental, and Cultural Issues Might Be Involved
The FERC website has published detailed documents about the procedures they use and other information about their work, including:
Natural Gas Project Landowner/Stakeholder Topics of Interest the FERC process and your involvement as a stakeholder including Prefiling, Filing and Intervenor processes.
Environmental Guidelines includes FERC guidance for evaluating impacted cultural resources, Horizontal Direction Drill monitoring, erosion control, remediation, wetland and water body mitigation, preparing draft Environmental Assessments, and more.
The FERC Dispute Resolution Service manages a FERC Landowner Helpline, facilitates communication between landowners and natural gas companies. FERC Landowner Helpline staff are neutral and independent professional mediators who do not advocate positions, do not conduct investigations for FERC, and do not provide legal advice. They assist landowners with the following:
- Construction-Related Concerns and Damages from interstate natural gas transmission and storage projects and LNG projects
- Land Access Disputes
- Executed Easement Disputes (pre-existing easement agreements)
- Land Restoration Disputes (re-vegetation, settling or subsidence, erosion, or drainage)
- Noise and/or Vibration Complaints
When calling the FERC Landowner Helpline you should have the project’s docket number, the name and location of the project, and the name and contact information for company officials you have been previously working with (if any). This will help FERC staff better address your concerns.
FERC Landowner Helpline
Major Pipelines on the Horizon provides a national overview of proposed pipelines by project name, operator and MMcf per day.
Pipeline Safety Coalition has created a guide on How to File as an Intervenor (and what that means!), including a downloadable template of a Motion to Intervene.
4. What Rights You Have
An excellent resource for understanding your rights as a landowner or local government official has been authored by one of our Directors, Carolyn Elefant, Esq.: Knowing and Protecting your Rights When an Interstate Pipeline Comes to Your Community Ms. Elefant’s law firm focuses on FERC energy practice and policy, emerging renewables (marine renewables, offshore wind), federal siting, and eminent domain.