First a big thank you to the 240 people who filed a Motion to Intervene and the many others who filed Protest Comments on the Mountain Valley Pipeline application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Apparently the FERC website could not handle the volumes of intervention motions and comments submitted to the site yesterday as we learned from some people who tried, and were unable, to file. We know from our friends at Preserve Monroe that one of their members called the FERC multiple times near the end of the filing period to try and get the situation resolved. He was told, at 4:55 p.m. that “IT has gone for the day, there’s nothing we can do until Monday“. Let’s see, business hours are until 5 p.m., there is a 5 p.m. deadline on a major infrastructure application, and IT has gone home for the day — something is seriously wrong with this picture — this should NOT have happened.
You are not too late to file a Comment in Opposition to the MVP. Paul Friedman, the FERC project manager for the MVP project, told us via email: “While the Notice of Application indicated a deadline of November 27 for comments; in reality we will continue to consider comments filed in the docket up until we start writing the EIS”. So if you were busy because of the holiday or life in general, there is still time. The best way to file comments is through FERC’s efiling system at: http://ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp.
If you encountered a situation with the FERC website yesterday and were unable to file your Motion to Intervene, you can still file what is known as an Out-of-Time Motion to Intervene and we encourage you to do so. To file an Out-of-Time Motion to Intervene, you follow the exact same process listed on How to File a motion to Intervene we posted at: http://preservethenrv.com/docs/file-motion-intervene.pdf. The ONLY difference is that instead of selecting either (a) (doc-less) Motion to Intervene or (b) Motion to Intervene is that you need to choose either:
- (doc-less) Out-of-Time Motion to Intervene – allows you to file as an intervenor without attaching a document – you will be able to provide your reason for filing in a text box OR
- Motion to Intervene Out-of-Time – allows you to file with an attached document.
According to the FERC:
“The Commission’s regulations dealing with motions for late intervention state that, in acting on such a motion, the decisional authority may consider:
- Whether the movants had good cause for not filing timely;
- Any disruption of the proceeding that might result from permitting intervention;
- Whether the movant’s interest is adequately represented by other parties; and
- Whether any prejudice to, or additional burden on, existing parties might result from permitting intervention.
Late intervention at the early stages of a proceeding generally does not disrupt the proceeding or prejudice the interest of any party. The Commission is therefore more liberal in granting late intervention at the early stages of a proceeding. A petitioner for late intervention, however, bears a higher burden to show good cause for late intervention after the issuance of a final order in a proceeding and generally it is Commission policy to deny late intervention at the rehearing stage, even when the movant claims that the decision established a broad policy of general application.”
Clearly, if you tried to file and were unable to do so because of their web site issues, you have “good cause for not filing timely”. Also, since we are still in what FERC considers to be the “early stages” of the process, the FERC is far more likely to grant an out-of-time motion. We know that FERC accepted many out-of-time motions filed on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline so there is no reason to think they will not do so here. Don’t forget that after you file a Motion to Intervene (and it is accepted by the FERC), you need to notify all of the other intervenors on the Service List. Instructions for how to do this are posted at: http://preservethenrv.com/docs/access_service_list.pdf.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are continually grateful for the hard work of so many in the fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline.