2017 Top Stories: Pipeline Approval

The Top Stories of 2017 on Smart Talk series continues Wednesday with a look back at one of the most controversial issues in South Central Pennsylvania this year — the construction of pipelines in the region.  Specifically, this program looked at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that approves or rejects plans for pipelines.

Opposition to a major project is nothing new whether the concern is the environment, safety, traffic or simply when neighbors cry “not in my backyard.”  But the number of pipelines is increasing across the country and Pennsylvania is a prime location for new pipelines with the natural gas upsurge in the Marcellus Shale.

The companies that are building those pipelines must go through an extensive process for approval.  Ultimately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC must give their approval to pipelines.

A months-long investigation by WITF’s StateImpact Pennsylvania and the Center for Public Integrity brings into question whether FERC is too close to the industries and companies that transport oil and gas through pipelines.  The report found that FERC has denied just two pipeline projects over the last 30 years.

We’ll learn more about what the FERC investigation found on Wednesday’s Smart Talk.  StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Marie Cusick appears on the program along with Kristen Lombardi and Jamie Smith Hopkins of the Center for Public Integrity.