FERC's Fracking Follies

Also, a veritable cornucopia of climate jobs


On Friday, President Joe Biden announced that he was promoting Willie “Conoco” Phillips, the acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to full chair. About a year ago, Phillips replaced Rich “Jiminy” Glick, who had encouraged public participation and spoke up about the importance of considering climate change as FERC oversees the fracking boom. Glick ran afoul of Sen. Joe “Big Coal” Manchin (D-W.Va.), and was forced to resign to appease our shadow president.

Unlike Glick, Phillips has no interest in even pretending to care about climate change, slow-walking the transmission plan crucial for a renewable grid and fully abandoning a new policy on natural gas projects that would have taken local and climate pollution into greater consideration. After Manchin’s pressure campaign forced Glick to give up that proposed policy, FERC certified the giant Commonwealth LNG project in Louisiana, which decision was challenged by D.C. Circuit Court judges yesterday as “astounding.”

As Manchin has blocked any new appointments to FERC, there are two open seats, two hard-right Republicans, the venal Phillips, and only one climate-hawk commissioner, Allison Clements.

Oops, also on Friday: Clements announced she will not seek another term at FERC; she will step down either in June or at the end of the year.

Are Biden’s pro-pollution moves with FERC why Manchin wasn’t as full of bluster as he sometimes is at last week’s Senate hearing on Biden’s LNG export approval pause? I, for one, would not be surprised.

And the stakes are very, very high.

In particular, the floodgates for Mexican exports of American LNG to China are about to open, a climate catastrophe of immense proportions. As Max Bearak reports, Sempra Energy’s Energía Costa Azul terminal in Baja California is close to completing its conversion into an exporter of U.S. LNG, via a pipeline system that cuts across California and Arizona to reach the Permian Basin in New Mexico and Texas. The Costa Azul terminal was granted permission by the Trump Department of Energy to export to China.

And at FERC’s monthly meeting on Thursday, the commission is likely to greenlight the 3-billion-cubic-foot LNG Saguaro Connector pipeline across the Texas-Mexico border to connect the Permian Basin to Mexico Pacific’s Saguaro Energía LNG Terminal now under construction. The Saguaro terminal was granted permission by the Biden Department of Energy a year ago to export to China, thanks to the efforts of corporate lawyers like King & Spalding’s Jim Bowe.

Also on Friday: a ship of unknown origin capsized off the coast of Tobago, poisoning its beaches with a massive oil spill.

Oil now covers some of Tobago's pristine beaches.


The U.S. Global Change Research Program is looking to hire a recent college graduate with interest in climate policy as a climate services coordinator ($52K-$89K, DC).

The General Services Administration’s Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings is hiring a sustainability advisor to develop its climate risk strategy, track and reduce upstream Scope 3 greenhouse pollution, and manage its sustainable buildings program ($122K-$192K, remote).

The Green New Deal think tank Climate and Community Project is seeking its first communications director ($110K, remote).

The New York Climate Exchange, a consortium-run institute on Governors Island, is seeking a director of climate finance initiatives ($200K-$250K, NYC).

The climate lobbying firm Boundary Stone Partners is hiring an entry-level associate ($55K, DC) and a mid-level manager ($85K-115K, DC).

Friends of the Earth is looking for a senior campaigner for their climate and energy justice program ($71K-$79K, remote/DC).

Stop the Money Pipeline is hiring a corporate campaigner to manage campaigns on asset managers ($90K-$100K, remote, some locations preferred).

Action for the Climate Emergency is seeking a head of civic engagement and field organizing, including climate campaigns and voter registration ($150K-$170K, remote).

Almost closing with some bad news: Last week, the FBI, state, and local police staged an over-the-top pre-dawn raid of Atlanta Cop City protesters, forcing one woman out of her home without a shirt and dragging a man out by his hair.

Also bad: one in five migratory species are on track for extinction, from turtles and whales to butterflies and owls, thanks to humanity’s industrial carnage.

Closing with some good news: nine states with Democratic governors—California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island—have signed a pledge to increase residential heat pumps sales to at least 65% of the market by 2030 and 90% by 2040.

Hearings on the Hill:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me—@[email protected], @climatebrad on Threads, and  @climatebrad.hillheat.com on BlueSky

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