Biden: FERC Needs a Real Climate Leader

Dear President Biden,

As climate change continues to accelerate, it is critical that all decisions from your administration reflect your own view that climate change is the “existential crisis of our time.” The upcoming vacancy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission provides a clear opportunity to rapidly move off of fossil fuels and fossil fuel infrastructure. We urge you to appoint a new commissioner who is committed to this vision.

A growing body of climate scientists and energy researchers are warning that we cannot keep developing new fossil fuel resources and infrastructure if we want to have any hope of avoiding runaway climate chaos. Most recently, the International Energy Agency said that governments must halt all new fossil fuel infrastructure development.

It is not hard to see why the warnings are growing more urgent. The impacts of climate chaos are evident all around us: A major drought engulfing the western half of the United States, the hurricane season is starting earlier and has grown more intense, and increasingly devastating wildfires and floods. Experts predict that without rapid decarbonization, American society will see growing agricultural losses, decreased clean water access, desertification, population migration, and biodiversity loss which will result in large-scale societal disruption.

Among other things, FERC has the power to approve or deny permits for new fracked gas pipelines and export facilities. Historically the commission has too often facilitated the development of fossil fuel infrastructure without regard for the impacts these projects will have on planet-warming emissions. At the same time, FERC has often created roadblocks for clean energy providers to sell power on the capacity markets . It is critical that the agency begin to make decisions in line with climate science.

We are concerned about some recent troubling moves by your administration, including the decision to continue issuing permits for fossil fuel drilling on federal lands and your administration's defense of the Willow project in Alaska, designed to extract more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years.

It’s time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and 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, and transitioning the country to 100% renewable energy.  
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