FERC's Review of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The United States Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 “[t]o declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.”

The Commission has routinely applied this law to certificate proceedings involving natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities. However, until recently, the Commission has declined to substantively review projects’ impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. This white paper will review recent major court decisions and FERC orders regarding environmental review, examine FERC's recent changes to its review of greenhouse gas emissions for natural gas pipeline and LNG facilities, and discuss further changes that the Commission could potentially implement.