Despite its title, "Don't Just Dismiss Pipeline Concerns," today’s News-Register editorial* primarily focuses on the recent vote to approve two pipelines by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission:
FERC approval came in a 2-1 vote by the agency’s commissioners. Two appointed by President Donald Trump voted in favor. An Obama appointee said no. Reportedly – and incredibly – one of her complaints was that the pipelines would take West Virginia gas to other states. One wonders how she feels about the gasoline for her car, which did not originate in the District of Columbia.
“Reportedly”? Who reported this? Isn’t that the editorial’s responsibility to tell us? Is no one at this newspaper capable of finding Commissioner LaFleur’s decision and reporting accurately what she wrote?
It took me all of five minutes to find her decision. Here is her dissent and nowhere in it will you find the silly argument that the News-Register attributes to her. Her actual dissent appears to be based upon the fact that the pipelines covered duplicate areas and that, given possible environmental damage, one should suffice. Commissioner LaFleur:
I acknowledge that if the applicants were to adopt an alternative solution, it would require considerable additional work and time. However, the decision before the Commission is simply whether to approve or reject these projects, which will be in place for decades. Given the environmental impacts and possible superior alternatives, approving these two pipeline projects on this record is not a decision I can support.
But that doesn’t matter to the News-Register. Nor that LaFleur has previously voted for most pipeline requests (see here) so that her exception on this one ought to be taken seriously. Or that she was previously appointed chair by Trump. None of that matters to our local Ogden “newspapers” whenever they find an Obama connection. And is often the case on environmental issues, the facts be damned – it’s always easier to blame the former president and ridicule his appointee than to accurately report what was said or done.
*No link -- whether owing to laziness or embarrassment, the editorial is not available online.
Update 10/18 -- Not so fast -- On Tuesday the federal appeals court sent the Mountain Valley Pipeline back to the West Virginia DEP
From this morning's Charleston Gazette-Mail:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday sent a key water quality permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline back to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for further review, in a move that highlights the significant questions that remain about the $3.7 billion project’s impacts and whether those impacts will be fully examined by state regulators.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the Clean Water Act water quality certification for the MVP to DEP Secretary Austin Caperton, whose lawyers last month had acknowledged — under pressure from a citizen group lawsuit — that the permit needed further evaluation.
Local Ogden "newspapers" will report on this as soon as they figure out how to blame Obama.