Biden: FERC Needs a Real Climate Leader

President Joe Biden


On June 30th, Republican Commissioner Neil Chatterjee’s term at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will come to an end. Who Biden nominates to replace Chatterjee on the five person FERC commission will be of critical importance in the ongoing fight for climate and environmental justice.

In fact, according to energy analyst and policy advisor Miles Farmer, "FERC commissioners are among the most important decisions [Biden] will make with regard to what the future of energy looks like in the United States."[1]

Though often overlooked, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plays a key role in the rapid expansion of interstate fossil fuel infrastructure such as fracked gas and oil pipelines. FERC is tasked with the permitting and regulation of all energy projects that cross state lines. Yet it is well documented that FERC is a rubber stamping agency for the energy industry. [2][3] From 1999-2017, FERC denied only 2 out of over 400 pipeline applications. [4] FERC has maneuvered to slow the growth of renewable energy and prevent the use of cumulative climate impact assessments in their permitting process.

After coming into office, Biden appointed Richard Glick as FERC Chair, ushering in a new wave of internal reform at FERC. Yet there is much more to be done, both within FERC and outside of it to achieve decarbonization and 100% renewable energy.

While Biden has taken up climate change as a major aspect of his American Jobs Plan, top Biden administration officials have publicly supported false solutions to climate change such as fracked gas, carbon capture, nuclear power, and biomass. The major changes we need, require FERC to act on accurate climate science- NOT the bidding of dirty energy companies.

While the Congressional debate rages over climate policy within the American Jobs Plan, it will be for nought if FERC remains a captured agency. The names floated so far as possible new FERC commissioners are not promising, reflecting numerous ties to both fossil fuels and false solution schemes. [5]

We demand that Biden take a stand against false solutions and appoint a new FERC commissioner committed to decarbonization and a rapid transition to 100% renewables.

Organizations can sign onto a letter to Biden here:






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To: President Joe Biden
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Biden,

It’s time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, and facilitate renewable energy gaining access to the grid. This FERC appointment will be instrumental in helping to fulfill your commitment to addressing this crisis. We urge you to appoint a new commissioner committed to following climate science, stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure, as the International Energy Agency has called for, and transitioning the country to 100% renewable energy.