FERC 101: In-person, demystified, user-friendly explainer event planned

Published 8:01 am Thursday, February 29, 2024

Southwest Louisiana residents who want to know more about and have more of a say in natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facility regulation – FERC has an OPP for that. Vincente Carreon, FERC Energy Industry Analyst (Outreach) promises it to be “user friendly.”

Actually, it’s a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Gulf Coast Community Connection Event, the first ever event of its kind, the product of a new government office, the Office of Public Participation (OPP). Carreon said the “user-friendly” in-person event will“demystify” the FERC regulatory process.

Meeting locations are in Sulphur at the Calcasieu Parish Public Library Sulphur Regional Branch, 1160 Cypress St., 9 a.m.-noon March 6 and in Lake Charles at the Allen P. August Multipurpose Center, 2001 Moeling St., 4 p.m.–7 p.m.

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Concerns will be addressed and guidance offered for participating in FERC matters, for instance when to submit comments during the regulatory process, and how to make those comments as effective as possible.

“We’re an apolitical office, here to help people have a voice in proceedings,” Correon said. “We don’t stand in support of or against projects.”

Michael Trittico, RESTORE, has been actively participating in the betterment of Southwest Louisiana’s air and water quality for decades. He has submitted public comments to government regulatory and permitting agencies, and will not pass up an opportunity to learn how to better participate in FERC’s decision-making process. He also hopes that FERC appreciates their “profound responsibilities to our people,” he said.

“I want to let them know that at least one person appreciates what they are authorized to do for public safety and ecosystem health,” he said.

Both programs will cover the same content and the meetings represent a “critical opportunity for effective public engagement and education regarding energy structure projects in the region,” according to a press release from FERC. The event is free, open to the public and requires no registration.

“There is a growing disenchantment with the government, but we are the government,” Trittico said. “We have to make it work. If ‘the people’ do not participate, they really will suffer because of their own reluctance to ‘get involved’ in their own best interests.”