Friday, July 27, 2007

Broadwater's Connection At FERC

Denise Civiletti, the editor-reporter on the East End of Long Island who has beeen breaking good Broadwater stories, points out something on her blog that is interesting but not at all surprising, considering that the Bush Administration is still running Washington – namely a strong, direct link between FERC and Broadwater (hint: it's a law firm). Here's her post:

How confident can we be that the public and the environment are going to be protected by federal regulators — versus the interests of the rich and powerful multinational corporations proposing Broadwater?

Joseph Kelliher, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that decides if Broadwater gets approved, was previously a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm representing Broadwater before FERC: LeBeouf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae. According to the firm's Web site, it's been "intimately involved" in representing clients before FERC for 30 years.



Blogger Sam said...

Wow Tom between you and me and the fencepost, your blogger girlfriend is like way cool - a very good writer, too! I am somewhat mystified about LeBoef (sp) versus a big Texas firm like Baker & Botts. I guess it's an inside Beltway lobbying group rather than trial lawyers like the B&B boys and gals based in Houston.

Maybe the LaBoof Brothers (now being funny) had a hand in it but B&B got their buddy John Woods from the Texas Public Utility Commission to take over FERC and relax all the rules so some 200 LNG plant could be built in the coastal waters of the US. Check into it because that's exactly what happened.

The strategy was to change the upper eschelon (no spell checker here) of FERC, raid the staff, relax the environmental reviews, and hire peripheral consultants with a pro-energy attitude. This is called "fast-tracking" and was actually invented by wildcatter oil patch lawyers in Texas. Hey Tom, got your $400 rebate as yet?

The worst thing that can happen to fast-tracking is when somebody slow-tracks it. Sounds silly or even stupid, I know. New York is purposely dragging its feet and I like that. Hey man, according to the rules you can sue the issuing New York agency for relief until you've had a chance to read and evaluate THEIR decision, as well as to write a nice long response.

This is how Long Beach did it. They didn't sue but just asked for time extensions so they could ask a thousand questions. The answers were deemed to be non-responsive in most cases. Even if the LNG project over in Long Beach was a good one there was no way a governmental agency could approve a project with so many non-responses to very good questions.

And I had no idea the Port Jeff Ferry would be affected. That's a biggie, affecting Interstate Commerce. The Senate should probably vote on any issues relating to Interstate Commerce, just like they do for trucking companies. I'll have you know the laws affecting ferry service in New York are a freaking nightmare - witness the crash of the Staten Island Ferry several years ago (I knew the manager, too).

Time is your friend.
Clifford "Sam" Wells
South Padre Island, Texas

8:04 PM  

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