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Five People Could Block Trump’s Pipeline Promises

  • Industry pushes to quicken approvals now averaging 429 days
  • Democrats with 5-year terms keep control despite Trump’s win
1481589908_us pipeline protest
Photographer: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Donald Trump has said he’ll speed up approvals for energy infrastructure projects when he gets to the White House. Standing at least partly in the way: An obscure panel of technocrats he’ll have little sway over.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is charged by law with approving new natural gas pipelines, an industry priority as gas unseats coal for power generation. While Trump can make some changes within the agency, his ability to quicken approvals is offset by the longstanding laws that drive the commission and its current makeup, with three Democrat-appointed members on a five-person board.