Skip Navigation
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Resources Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Text Size small medium large
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Citizen Information about FERC

1. What kinds of energy projects does FERC have jurisdiction over?

FERC has jurisdiction over natural gas and hydropower facilities. See our Photo Gallery.

The natural gas facilities include:

    » Interstate pipelines and associated compressor stations;
    » Storage facilities; and
    » Liquefied Natural Gas Terminals.

FERC regulates all non-federal hydropower projects.

FERC has no jurisdiction over hydropower projects operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Land Management and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Top of page

2. Can an energy company legally take my land to construct its natural gas or hydropower project?

Yes, but only if the energy company has a certificate or license issued by FERC and has gone through a court of law. The certificate or license gives the energy company the right of eminent domain. However, FERC encourages companies and landowners to negotiate easements to avoid going to Court.

Top of page

3. What exactly does FERC do when it receives natural gas and hydropower project proposals?

FERC makes a decision on whether these proposed projects are in the public interest and then decides on whether to issue a certificate or license for a natural gas or hydropower project respectively. FERC may include conditions in licenses and certificates to enhance public safety and to protect the environment.

FERC performs economic and environmental analyses of all proposed projects before it makes a decision about the projects. FERC staff consults with numerous federal and state agencies and the public. Public meetings and site visits are held in the project vicinity

Top of page

4. Can an energy company conduct surveys on my land if I do not give my permission?

This is difficult to answer. Each state has its own laws and regulations. See your State Public Utility Commission Leaving FERC for rules that apply to your state.

Top of page

5. Can FERC require an energy company to change their proposed project?

This is difficult to answer. Each state has its own laws and regulations. See your State Public Utility Commission Leaving FERC for rules that apply to your state.

Top of page

6. Does FERC get involved in negotiating easements between an energy company and property owners?

The FERC generally does not get involved in these matters. However, if you believe that the company or their land agents are not acting properly, you can contact the Commissionís Landowner Helpline.

Top of page

7. Is there any way for me to see what these projects look like?

You can see some pictures of various energy facilities under construction and completed at our Photo Gallery.

Top of page

8. What about the safety of these projects?

The Department of Transportationís Office of Pipeline Safety has regulations on the design, construction, and operation of most natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities. The United States Coast Guard also has regulations on liquefied natural gas ships and the transfer of liquefied natural gas to a facility. In addition, FERC may include conditions in licenses and certificates to further enhance public safety and to protect the environment. During the construction and operation of natural gas pipelines, storage facilities, and liquefied natural gas facilities, FERC oversees compliance with its safety and environmental conditions. FERC also works closely with the Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, and State Officials on safety and environmental matters.

FERC has a comprehensive link to our hydropower dam safety programs that covers construction, maintenance and operations. All dams are routinely inspected.

Top of page

9. What are the best ways to learn about how natural gas and hydro projects can affect me and the environment?

You can gain some insights by looking at our Photo Gallery and Guides.

Top of page

10. What kinds of environmental reports does FERC prepare on energy projects?

FERC staff prepares either an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement. The latter are prepared on more complex and large projects. These environment reports comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. For more information please visit EIS of Hydropower, Gas

Top of page

11. Who can I call to find out if a proposed energy project is on my property?

Contact the Office of Energy Projects toll-free at 1-888-847-8885 or at 202-502-8700.

Top of page

12. Who can I call to find out if a proposed energy project is on my property?

For natural gas projects, contact the Enforcement Hotline toll-free at 1-888-889-8030. For dam safety problems and hydropower projects contact FERC toll free at 1-888-847-8885 or at 202-502-8700 or at any of the numbers listed below.
    Dam Safety
    Washington, DC



    New York

    Portland Oregon

    San Francisco

Top of page

13. Who makes sure that energy companies comply with their certificates and licenses?

During the construction of a natural gas facility, FERC inspects the projects and make sure that they are constructed in accordance with the terms of the certificate. FERC also oversees the construction and operation of Liquified Natural Gas Terminals.

FERC also inspects the construction, maintenance and operation of all hydropower projects during the term of their license (between 30 to 50 years).

Top of page

14. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Commissioners? Do they have regional responsibilities or does each have equal responsibilities?

The Commissioners are charged with equal responsibilities.

Top of page

15. Is there anything in FERC's regulations that states what distance on either side of a proposed natural gas pipeline alignment that property owners have to receive notification of the proposed project?

See 18 CFR 157.6 (d) Leaving FERC Landowner Notification requirements

Top of page