CHARLESTON, W. Va. – A spate of proposed gas pipeline projects has drawn sharp criticism from environmental advocates, who say the federal permitting agency has a built-in bias toward the industry.

Last week, nearly 70 people from almost a dozen states testified at what organizers called a People’s Hearing, aimed at documenting bias and problems at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said FERC almost always sides with the industry over citizens and the environment – in part, she argued, because more and larger pipelines add to the fees that fund the agency’s budget.

“[Fees] increased the more pipeline projects that are approved and the greater the volume of gas that’s approved to pass through them,” van Rossum said. “Throughout the 30 years that FERC has been funded in this way, it only rejected one pipeline project.”

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