Tell Senators Sanders and Warren: It's time to introduce FERC to FREC legislation!

Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Since 2014, Beyond Extreme Energy and many other local, state and national groups have been fighting rubber-stamping FERC. Over that time FERC has approved just about every single application by the methane gas industry for permits to build pipelines, export terminals, compressor stations, storage terminals, and more. In the spring of 2020 Congressman Jamie Raskin, chair of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released the results of an investigation which found that “in the last 20 years, FERC has granted 1,021 certificates [to the gas industry], while rejecting only 6, a greater than 99% approval rate.”

There was a short period of time, after President Biden named Richard Glick to be the chair of FERC on January 20, 2021, that changes for the better took place at FERC. An Office of Public Participation was set up. Environmental justice was explicitly named as an issue FERC would take more seriously. And in February of 2022, by a vote of 3-2, FERC decided to officially change its permitting policy for the expansion of the methane gas industry, requiring permit applications to include substantive environmental justice and greenhouse gas emissions analyses,

In response, Joe Manchin and Republicans in the Senate quickly called all five FERC commissioners before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee which he (outrageously) chairs. He and the Republicans then repeatedly attacked the three Democratic FERC Commissioners who had voted for change. Two weeks later the new policies were withdrawn, and a year later they have vanished. When Glick’s term was up, Manchin refused to hold a hearing on Biden’s renomination. He is now gone, replaced by the most conservative of the two remaining Democrats, Willie Phillips.

These developments make clear that FERC is hopelessly compromised by its historic ties to the fossil fuel industry and its oversight by fossil fueled officials like Manchin. To address both obstacles, a movement for a new, Congressionally mandated federal energy regulatory agency whose top priorities are environmental justice, genuine public participation, and a rapid transition off of fossil fuels to renewables, energy efficiency and battery storage. We need FERC to be replaced by FREC, a Federal Renewable Energy Commission!

Since replacing FERC with FREC was proposed in 2019, 250 organizations have endorsed it. Input has been gathered from the grassroots into what a new FREC should be, leading to a draft of legislation to create FREC. Now we need sponsors in Congress to take this draft, work with it and then introduce it as a bill, giving our climate justice movement a focus we can rally support for going forward.

Senators Warren and Sanders need to hear from us! Three years ago, as Presidential candidates, they publicly endorsed the idea of FREC. Today their leadership is needed again.

But to take action, Sanders and Warren need to see that this idea is backed by thousands of us around the country. Sign now to show them that we're ready for a sponsor of FERC to FREC legislation!

To: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
From: Karen Bearden

Three years ago, as Presidential candidates, you both publicly endorsed the idea of changing our broken and corrupt Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) into a Federal Renewable Energy Commission — FREC. Today your leadership is needed again as FERC continues to be dominated by the fossil fuel industry, and partisan opposition from Joe Manchin and Republicans has blocked all efforts at reform. Now is the time to propose legislation to Re-make FERC into FREC, and Beyond Extreme Energy has been working with your offices to do so. But we need real sponsors and real legislation, not just politically convenient endorsements of reform. We, the undersigned, call on you to commit to introduce FERC to FREC legislation NOW, in the 118th Congress.