In what promises to be the first in a series, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee has rejected Virginia Attorney General (AG) Mark Herring’s call for a moratorium on energy infrastructure projects.


“Hindering the build-out of energy infrastructure now could have long-term and lasting negative impacts on the delivery of energy in the future,” Chatterjee said in a letter sent Tuesday to Herring. “For these reasons, I view requests for a moratorium on energy projects to be short- sighted and impractical. Any step to slow the energy economy is a step in the wrong direction. Leaders and policymakers at both the federal and state levels must maintain an eye toward the future and make decisions that best position our economy to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.”

Herring was one of a group of AGs representing 10 states and the District of Columbia that recently called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to halt approvals of natural gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities “and related fossil-fuel infrastructure projects until the end of the Covid-19 crisis.”

Such a moratorium “is necessary to preserve the due process rights of interested parties, many of whom are dealing with unprecedented challenges to their health and economic well-being from the Covid-19 crisis and whose ability to participate in hearings and proceedings may be accordingly constrained,” the AGs said in a May 7 letter to Chatterjee.

The letter was signed by AGs from Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

Because the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) — both opposed by Herring- already were approved by FERC, they “are therefore outside the scope of your request,” Chatterjee said in his letter.

“Chairman Chatterjee will be responding to all attorneys general who were on the letter, but responded first to Virginia because of questions involving the MVP and ACP projects,” according to a FERC spokesperson.

While FERC has approved MVP and ACP, both projects remain entangled in legal disputes.

MVP is a joint venture between EQM Midstream Partners LP, NextEra Capital Holdings Inc., Con Edison Transmission Inc., WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream LLC. MVP received its FERC certificate in late 2017 and started construction soon after.

The 600-mile ACP, which would carry 1.5 Bcf/d through mountainous terrain from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina, was also approved by FERC in 2017.