Commissioner Richard Glick Statement
October 15, 2020
Docket No. CP20-30-000
Order: C-1

I dissent in part from today’s order because it fails to comply with our obligations under the Natural Gas Act[1] (NGA) and the National Environmental Policy Act[2]  (NEPA).  The Commission once again refuses to consider the consequences its actions have for climate change.  Although neither the NGA nor NEPA permit the Commission to ignore the climate change implications of constructing and operating this project, that is precisely what the Commission is doing here. 

In today’s order authorizing Texas Eastern Transmission, LP’s Middlesex Extension Project (Project), the Commission continues to treat greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change differently than all other environmental impacts.[3]  The Commission again refuses to consider whether the Project’s contribution to climate change from GHG emissions would be significant, even though it quantifies the Project’s direct GHG emissions from construction and operation.[4]  That failure forms an integral part of the Commission’s decisionmaking:  The refusal to assess the significance of the Project’s contribution to the harm caused by climate change is what allows the Commission to state that approval of the Project “would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment,”[5] and, as a result, conclude that the Project is required by the public convenience and necessity.[6]  Claiming that the Project has no significant environmental impacts, while at the same time refusing to assess the significance of the project’s impact on the most important environmental issue of our time is not reasoned decisionmaking.

The Commission’s failure to meaningfully consider climate change forces me to dissent from certificate orders that I might otherwise support.  Prior to issuing a section 7 certificate, the Commission must find both that a proposed project is needed, and that, on balance, its potential benefits outweigh its potential adverse impacts.[7]  The Commission cannot make that determination without meaningfully considering the Project’s contribution to climate change.  That leaves me no choice but to dissent.  No matter what I might otherwise think of the merits of a project’s request for a certificate, I will not join an order that functionally excludes climate change from the Commission’s analysis.


For these reasons, I respectfully dissent in part.



[1] 15 U.S.C. § 717f(c) (2018).

[2] National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321 et seq.

[3] Texas Eastern Transmission, LP, 173 FERC ¶ 61,072 (2020) (Certificate Order).


[4] Id. P 35; Middlesex Extension Project Environmental Assessment at 76, Table 15.

[5] Certificate Order, 173 FERC ¶ 61,072 at P 39.

[6] Id. P 40.

[7] See Sierra Club v. FERC, 867 F.3d 1357, 1373 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (explaining that section 7 of the NGA requires the Commission to balance “‘the public benefits [of a proposed pipeline] against the adverse effects of the project,’ including adverse environmental effects” (quoting Myersville Citizens for a Rural Cmty. v. FERC, 783 F.3d 1301, 1309 (D.C. Cir. 2015)).

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