Congresswoman Kuster Introduces Bill to Protect Conservation Lands from Natural Gas Pipeline Development
Cong. Anne Kuster introduced the Protecting Our Conserved Lands Act. We want to thank the Congresswoman for the commitment she has made to strengthening the public trust obligations we have to ensure the long-term protection of these special natural areas.
Given the broad benefits conserved lands provide, the land trust community has long argued that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is charged with approving the construction of natural gas pipelines, must change the criteria it uses to decide whether to issue permits for those kinds of projects. Instead of viewing conserved lands as the path of least resistance for the siting of pipelines, FERC should institute a policy which aims for the avoidance and minimization of impacts to protected conservation lands and other sensitive natural areas. The Forest Society made the case for such a change in our letter to FERC last summer.
Fortunately, Cong. Kuster shares our views. Her legislation represents a major step forward to change a federal policy which continually threatens conserved lands. It will help land trusts assure the public that when we say lands are permanently protected, they actually are permanently conserved. In short, it demonstrates a commitment to helping us uphold our public trust obligations.