This afternoon's editorial*, "Remove Roadblocks on Pipeline Decisions," may be the first example of what we may often read from our local "newspapers" as the new Trump presidency runs into problems: it's Obama fault.
The editorial tells us that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which decides the fate of pipelines, among other decisions, no longer has a quorum to make decisions. The 5-member body lost two member in the last months of the Obama administration and a third on Friday and now they lack a quorum to act and approve pipelines. The editorial tells us:
Don't blame Trump for the roadblock, however. The FERC has been short two members for several months. Former President Barack Obama simply let the vacancies slide.
More hypocrisy. When the U.S. Supreme Court lost a justice in January of last year, our local "newspapers" editorialized that the position should wait for a new president even if that means waiting 12 months. But when a member of the FERC resigned many months later, the editorial tells us that Obama should have immediately appointed a new member. And as Donald Trump took office, given that the FERC was down to a bare quorum, why didn't he immediately appoint someone to the commission? As is usual for this type of editorial, the original story was never published and so we're now dependent upon the editorial to accurately tell us what happened. Not surprisingly, the editorial doesn't tell us the likely reason that the board suddenly lost its quorum. As KBIA suggests:
On Thursday, Norman Bay, one of just three current members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said he would resign effective Feb. 3, even though his term isn't up until next year. His announcement came shortly after Trump decided Bay's fellow commissioner, Cheryl LaFleur, would serve as the Commission's new chair.
"I think [Bay] was perhaps disappointed that Commissioner LaFleur was elevated above him," says Carolyn Elefant, an energy lawyer who represents landowners negotiating with pipeline companies.
That's right, Bay appears to have resigned because Trump made another board member chair. Even if this was not the reason, it was not Obama's fault. Of course regular readers of the Wheeling opinion page and this blog know the real reason why it's Obama's and his advisers' fault. As the editorial concludes: this was "part of their vendetta against fossil fuels."
*Note -- sorry, no link to the editorial. As is sometimes the case with afternoon editorials, the original is not online.