Many people are confused by the FERC intervention process, and the various time windows when you are considered “timely”, and when you’re considered late (technically known as intervening “out-of-time”).
What is intervening in a FERC matter? What it means is that you are formally declaring yourself as an interested party. And by doing so, you are forcing FERC to respond to any issues you bring up. Plus, you can be party in any suits or motions against the project before FERC. Note the intervening is not the same as commenting – intervening defines your status are someone formally declaring yourself as wanting to be involved. Comments are independent of that, and you can comment as many times as you like. You only need to intervene once in the proceeding, so if you’ve already intervened you’re all good, and keep focusing on sending FERC comments!
If you’re not an intervenor, FERC has no obligation to listen to you or to respond to, and you may not be party to any motions against it.
On the “timely” vs. out-of-time stuff, there are only limited times when FERC considers you intervening in a timely manner. If you intervene out side of these windows, FERC may reject your intervention out of hand as being obstructionist and/or irrelevant to the proceedings. So you want to be a “timely” intervenor if at all possible.
The good news is that right now we happen to be in such a window! FERC has a rule that states that any filing to intervene during a DEIS comment period is automatically considered “timely”:
Any person who files a motion to intervene on the basis of a draft environmental impact statement will be deemed to have filed a timely motion, in accordance with § 385.214, as long as the motion is filed within the comment period for the draft environmental impact statement.
Since FERC has added a 30 day comment period on the Draft EIS (based on the September 23rd route changes), this means people can file a timely intervention with FERC.
So if you file by December 5th, you will be automatically accepted as an intervenor on PennEast.
There are many reasons to intervene in the proceeding, and no downsides at all. Some things to note:
- FERC’s own regulations say they must answer every issue pointed out by an intervenor. If you are not an intervenor, there is no requirement that they answer you.
- Higher intervenor counts tell the federal government the level of interest and opposition to the project
- Timely intervening is very simple. See the link below.
- You don’t need a lawyer and it’s free
- Adding yourself to the growing list of intervenors sends a powerful message to our politicians, agencies such as NJDEP and the Delaware River Basin Commission, and others.
We also have a sample document you can use to intervene anytime by December 5th.
Sample Intervening Document – use by December 5th, 2016
Be sure to replace your name and address everywhere relevant in the document (bolded).
NOTE: If you miss the December 5th, deadline, we go back to any requested interventions being “out-of-time”. Those are more complex and may be rejected by FERC, so it’s in your best interest to get this done by the 5th!
If you do need to intervene out of time please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you instructions in how to do so.
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