Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., center, speaks to reporters following a briefing on Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine used the phrase “very suspicious circumstances” Monday to describe how a federal agency announced it had approved two deeply controversial natural gas pipelines that will burrow through different regions of Virginia.

Kaine, a Democrat who was in Roanoke on Monday, observed that notices from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about the commission’s endorsement of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline were distributed after 7 p.m. Friday — timing clearly intended, he said, to inhibit news coverage going into the weekend.

“When somebody puts something out at 7 o’clock Friday night, they’re trying to hide it,” Kaine said. “That means they’re ashamed of their decision. Why would they be ashamed of it?”

He said the orders granting certificates of “public convenience and necessity” to the multi-billion dollar projects were issued when there were only three commissioners on FERC’s five-person panel.

“Clearly, they were trying to rush it without a full complement on the team,” Kaine said, adding that he believes decisions of this magnitude ought to require the participation of all five commissioners.

The senator noted too that a vigorous and “stinging” dissent by Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur was significant, partly because such dissents rarely occur on the commission, he said. LaFleur, a Democrat who has been a commissioner since 2010, wrote, “I cannot conclude that either of these projects as proposed is in the public interest.” The two commissioners who voted to approve the pipelines are both Republicans appointed by President Donald Trump who recently joined the commission.

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The Roanoke Times – Duncan Adams – 10.16.2017

Posted by Nelson Bailey

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