DeSmogBlog Uncovers Another Conflict of Interest with FERC

FERC is more than a rubber-stamp agency; they excel in the "conflict of interest" genre. Read below and online at DeSmogBlog about their latest bombshell.

"A business advocacy group lobbied for the reappointment of a federal energy commissioner while one of its own members sought approval for several projects from the same federal regulator, a DeSmog investigation has found.

In the past three years, natural gas infrastructure giant Spectra Energy has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval for a number of projects in the US Northeast.

During this time, regional pro-business lobbying group the New England Council, of which Houston-based Spectra Energy is a member, lobbied President Barack Obama and the US Senate for the reappointment of FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to a second term.

A DeSmog investigation has found other instances suggesting an ongoing and exclusive relationship between LaFleur, NEC, and lobbyists working for Spectra Energy.

Spectra is a dues-paying member of the NEC which, according to its website, is an “alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations that promotes economic growth in the New England region.” TheNEC has a lobbying arm and office in Washington, DC.

Also during this period, the NEC arranged at least two closed-door meetings between LaFleur and its energy industry members, including Spectra. These exclusive meetings were held in the offices of a multinational law firm that was hired by Spectra to represent it in a different environmental case. The most recent meeting was held in December 2015.

FERC has already approved two of Spectra’s projects in the region, while the other two are pending approval."