A gas company has created a new FERCenese* acronym (as if there aren't enough already!)
Gas companies Rio Grande LNG, LLC and Rio Bravo Pipeline Company, LLC, were so befuddled by environmental group nonsense that they filed an Answer and Oppositions to the Motions to Intervene [etc.] yesterday at FERC.
According to the companies, their docket has been plagued by numerous Broadly Deficient Interventions and they want the Commission to reject the identified motions to Intervene.
Motions to intervene, when granted, provide intervenors with certain additional rights beyond being heard by the Commission. In particular, an intervenor has the right to seek rehearing from the Commission and, in the event that an intervenor properly and timely files a Request for Rehearing that is ultimately denied by the Commission, such intervenor has the right to appeal through the Federal courts the denial of such request.
Thus, the granting or denial of intervenor status has important implications for the wouldbe intervenor, the Applicant, the Commission, the Commission’s processes, and
potentially the Federal court system and its processes.
The RG Developers recognize that the Commission takes a modern approach to
pleadings and emphasizes substance over form, often granting intervenor status to novice participants that do not fully comply with the letter of FERC’s regulations governing
interventions. The RG Developers generally endorse such an approach. However, over
the past year or more, there has been evidence of growing disrespect for the
Commission’s processes marked, not just by disruption outside of the Commission’s
Washington, DC headquarters, but also within the Commission’s meeting room while the
Commission is in session. Unlike entities seeking to intervene in good faith but who
inadvertently fail in their efforts to comply with the Commission’s rules, entities that
show absolutely no regard for the Commission’s rules do not deserve to be rewarded with intervenor status. The Commission has started taking deliberate steps to restore order to its own processes and preserve its ability to conduct its affairs and ensure those making a good faith effort to participate in an order fashion within the rules would not be prejudiced by actions of those who find it more convenient or effective to ignore the Commission’s rules.
In the Pre-filing docket (PF15-20) preceding the current, formal, application proceedings, the Commission also took innovative action to ensure stakeholders could be heard, while excluding disruptive elements. Specifically, those wishing to be heard (at the scoping meeting for this project and two other projects held in Port Isabel, TX on August 11, 2015) were required to present oral comments individually, in an orderly fashion, rather than speaking in front of everyone assembled at the scoping meeting in a manner that would have encouraged out-of-turn remarks from the crowd.
Now, the Commission is faced with another threat of disruption to its processes –
albeit via written filings. Specifically, the vast majority of the current submissions
purporting to be motions to intervene demonstrate an utter lack of a good faith effort to meet any of the Commission’s regulations setting forth the requirements for petitions to intervene...
This is what happens when a bunch of layperson environmental group "leaders" end up with a bright idea they don't understand. Intervention! Everyone must intervene! We have no idea what that really means, but it sounds like a good idea. Let's do that!
Unfortunately, the Commission has rules for intervening:
Specifically, those requirements include:
1. Any person filing a petition to intervene or notice of intervention shall state specifically whether he seeks formal hearing on the application.
2. A motion must contain a clear and concise statement of (1) the facts and law which support the motion; and (2) the specific relief or ruling requested.
3. A motion to intervene must state the position taken by the movant and the basis in fact and law for that position.
4. A motion to intervene must also state the movant’s interest in sufficient factual detail to demonstrate that (i) the movant has a right to participate which is expressly conferred by statute or by Commission rule, order, or other action; (ii) the movant has or represents an interest which may be directly affected by the outcome of the proceeding, including any interest as a consumer, customer, competitor, or security holder; or (iii) movant’s participation is in the public interest.
5. A filing must begin with a caption that sets forth the docket designation, title of the proceedings if a proceeding has been designated, a heading which describes the filing, and the name of the participant for whom the filing is made.
6. Any filing with the Commission must be: (1) [t]ypewritten, printed, reproduced, or prepared using a computer or other word or data processing equipment; (2) [h]ave double-spaced lines with left margins not less than 11/2 inch wide, except that any tariff or rate filing may be single-spaced; (3) [h]ave indented and single-spaced any quotation that exceeds 50 words; and (4) [u]se not less than 10 point font.
7. Any participant filing a document in a proceeding must serve a copy of the document on each person whose name is on the official service list, and any other person required to be served under Commission rule or order or
under law and a certificate of service must be attached to the document and have the proper language.
The Commission’s May 19, 2016 Notice of Application in the RG Developers’ Dockets expressly called attention to these requirements stating:
[A]ny person wishing to obtain legal status by becoming a party to the proceedings for this project should, on or before the comment date stated below, file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426, a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.214 or 385.211) and the Regulations under the NGA (18 CFR 157.10).
The Commission’s Notice went on to explicitly note: “A party … must mail a copy to the applicant and to every other party in the proceeding.”
The company supposes that these BDIs are just an opposition tactic to delay the proceedings. Please, you give these folks too much credit! It's just a bunch of ignorant monkeys throwing poop on the wall to see if any pieces stick. These environmental groups are intending to selfishly disrupt the Commission's proceedings any way they can. And if there's any intelligent thought at all, it's a hope that the Commission will further tighten its public participation policies to make it harder for folks who actually want to participate in a civil manner to do so. Then the environmental groups will stage a public tantrum claiming that FERC doesn't allow them to participate (even though they have been directed to do so according to the rules at every opportunity). These environmental whackos don't care if every citizen is prohibited from participating at FERC at all (such as forcing the monthly meetings to be closed to everyone). They just want some attention.
Here's some attention: An industry publication this morning headlined this story, "Keep Barbarians Off The Docket, LNG Project's Lawyers Tell FERC."
Barbarians. There, are you guys happy now? You're barbarians. And rather rude. And I think you may also be stupid.
Knock it off! If you want to intervene, then fully and legally participate according to the rules. If you just want to act like a monkey, go to the zoo.