The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Doug Jackson, 202.495.3045 or

FERC Chairman: Environmental Groups are Slowing Down Fracked Gas Projects Chatterjee Tells Industry Insiders that Lawyers, Nuns, Movie Stars Know How to "Frustrate Development"


Yesterday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Neil Chatterjee told the American Gas Association's Natural Gas Roundtable that more focused and sophisticated resistance from environmental organizations was slowing down the approval process for gas infrastructure. Chatterjee specifically said the environmental groups "hire good lawyers," who file "clever lawsuits," that force FERC to "devote significant resources to responding to arguments and ensuring a robust record that can withstand subsequent court challenges."

Chatterjee also mentioned nuns and "C-list movie stars" being involved in the resistance to these pipelines, apparently referring to a group of nuns in Pennsylvania who filed legal challenges to a pipeline there and the appearance of Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell at a recent protest. The overall effect, according to Chatterjee, was "well funded, sophisticated national environmental advocacy organizations who understand how to use all the levers of federal and state law to frustrate pipeline development."

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin released the following statement:

"It sounds like Neil Chaterjee is more interested in appeasing the gas industry and big polluters instead of doing his job. When FERC doesn't do its job, Americans will hold them accountable for investigating and reviewing the deadly and dangerous threats these proposed fracked gas pipelines pose. FERC must make sure that our water, air, and climate are protected from these unnecessary pipelines and that customers aren't being ripped off to pay for them."

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

(415) 977-5500