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Groups Urge Sen. Schumer to Stop Energy Bill

A letter opposing the Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act was delivered to Sen. Charles Schumer's Albany office. (Food and Water Watch)
A letter opposing the Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act was delivered to Sen. Charles Schumer's Albany office. (Food and Water Watch)
June 3, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Groups that oppose fracking for gas and oil are asking Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to help stop a U.S. Senate energy bill. More than 370 groups nationally have signed a letter opposing S. 2012, the Senate Energy Policy Modernization Act.

Pramilla Malick, co-founder and chair of Protect Orange County in southern New York, said the bill would fast-track the permit process for gas infrastructure projects by expanding the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, "which is widely known as a rubber-stamp agency because it has virtually never rejected a gas infrastructure project."

Supporters of the measure have said it will modernize outdated energy laws, keep energy affordable and create jobs. However, Malick said putting pipelines and other gas infrastructure projects on a fast track for approval would deprive communities of the opportunity to challenge those projects.

"By the time a community even learns the basic, fundamental rules and regulations on how to engage the process," she said, "the whole process would be over."

Malick said she believes the bill is intended to overcome community opposition and legal challenges to controversial projects.

Different versions of the Energy Policy Modernization Act have passed both the House and Senate. Next, Malick said, lawmakers will be asked to approve a compromise bill.

"So, we are asking all of our legislators to reject the Energy Modernization Act in its entirety and to engage in meaningful climate-change legislation," she said.

President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The letter is online at foodandwaterwatch.org. The text of S. 2012 is at govtrack.us.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY