Rebuilding Our Power Without Procedural Safeguards: A Federal Response to the 2005 Hurricanes that Outlasted the 'Emergency'
Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law
Harvard Environmental Law Review, Vol. 32, 2008
SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 69
This Article suggests that by providing incentives for pipeline companies to reconstruct the nation’s natural gas infrastructure for fifteen months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast region of the U.S., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unjustifiably used the hurricanes as an excuse to go beyond what was necessary for an “emergency” that, in fact, lasted no longer than five months for the natural gas industry. The article briefly discusses how FERC had a significant reason to want to extend its “emergency” response beyond five months without procedural “encumbrances”- before the hurricanes, America’s natural gas infrastructure was already deficient. The article then shows that the changes FERC made to its regulation of pipeline companies necessitated more regulatory protection for the rights of the public, the environment, and landowners than it had provided. Beyond these practical concerns, the article discusses how, in extending the “emergency” response beyond five months without any public input, FERC violated the Natural Gas Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The paper further discusses the theoretical importance of these doctrines.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Date posted: February 21, 2011 ; Last revised: March 20, 2012