Commissioner Bernard L. McNamee Statement
July 16, 2020
Docket No. CP20-37-000
Today’s order issues Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) a certificate for public convenience and necessity for authorization to construct and operate its Lilly Compressor Unit Replacement Project. The project is designed to replace four existing compressor units at the Lilly Compressor Station, in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, with two new gas turbine compressor units.
I fully support the order as it complies with the Commission’s statutory responsibilities under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The order determines that the Project is in the public convenience and necessity, finding that the Project will not adversely affect Texas Eastern’s existing customers or competitor pipelines and their captive customers, and that the Project’s benefits will outweigh any adverse economic effects on landowners and surrounding communities. The order also finds that the Project will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Further, the Commission has quantified and considered the greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by the operation of the Project, consistent with the holding in Sierra Club v. FERC (Sabal Trail).
I write separately today to respond to my colleague’s arguments that the Commission should have determined whether the GHG emissions related to the Project are “significant.” In Transco, I explain that the Commission has no standard for determining whether GHG emissions significantly affect the environment, elaborate on why the Social Cost of Carbon is not a useful tool for determining whether GHG emissions are significant, and explain that the Commission has no authority or reasoned basis to establish its own framework. Further, it is not appropriate for the Commission to establish out of whole cloth a GHG emission mitigation program, particularly when Congress has introduced and failed to pass 70 legislative bills to address GHG emissions over the last 15 years. As I explain in Transco, Congress delegated the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the exclusive authority to establish standards of performance for air pollutants, including GHGs. For logistical reasons and administrative efficiency, I hereby incorporate my analysis in Transco by reference and am not reprinting the full text of my analysis here.
 Texas Eastern Transmission, LP, 172 FERC ¶ 61,040 (2020) (Certificate Order).
 Id. P 1.
 Id. P 11.
 Id. P 18.
 Id. PP 16-17.
 867 F.3d 1357 (D.C. Cir. 2017). I note that my concurrence in Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) in which I incorporate herein, states that “[t]hough the D.C. Circuit’s holding in Sabal Trail is binding on the Commission, it is not appropriate to expand that holding through the dicta in Birckhead so as to establish new authorities under the NGA and NEPA. The Commission is still bound by the NGA and NEPA as enacted by Congress, and interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit. Our obligation is to read the statutes and case law in harmony.” Transco, 171 FERC ¶ 61,032 (2020) (McNamee, Comm’r, concurring at P 13 n.31) (McNamee Transco Concurrence).
 McNamee Transco Concurrence PP 63-74.
 Id. PP 53-62.
 Id. PP 54-58.
 Id. PP 53-74.