(WASHINGTON, D.C.)— Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, issued the following statement after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced it will no longer authorize construction activities for natural gas pipelines until the agency acts on the merits of challenges from private landowners and other stakeholders:
“This is a giant win for landowners who have been locked out of the conversation for too long. While we applaud this long-overdue progress to restore basic rights to private property owners whose land is being targeted by large corporations, FERC must do much more to protect due process rights of people in this vulnerable situation, and we remain committed to holding FERC accountable for making further sweeping changes.”
On February 19, 2020, Chairman Raskin launched an investigation into FERC’s practice of issuing “tolling orders” that prevent landowners from challenging the taking of their land.
On April 28, 2020, the Subcommittee issued a video report with its initial findings, noting that FERC issued a tolling order to every landowner who had requested a rehearing in the last twelve years. The Subcommittee also revealed that, in 64% of cases where a someone challenged a pipeline, FERC authorized construction on the pipeline before ruling on the challenge.