Founded in 1995, the Sustainable FERC Project is a partnership of state, regional and national environmental and other public interest organizations working to expand the deployment of clean energy resources into America’s electricity transmission grid and to reduce and eventually eliminate carbon pollution from the U.S. power sector. The Project and its partners advocate at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and regional transmission organizations, leverage state advocacy, and litigate in the courts to remove barriers to clean energy and build energy systems that support a carbon-free future.
FERC and FERC-regulated regional power markets, which now cover most of the country, play crucial roles in avoiding the worst effects of climate change. However, these regional power markets often maintain rules that were designed for a power system comprised of large power plants located close to towns and cities. Lower-cost renewable energy, coupled with customer-controlled distributed energy resources (like solar power, electric vehicles, and demand response), continue to face significant barriers to fully participating in the FERC-regulated areas of wholesale markets and transmission planning. FERC’s rules also impact state clean energy policies, which depend on large transmission networks and complementary wholesale power market designs to fully achieve their purposes.
FERC also has significant power over carbon and methane emissions through its authority to approve permits for interstate natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. Historically, FERC has approved nearly all requests for these permits, enabling a massive nationwide buildout in gas infrastructure. FERC reviews critical questions like pipeline need and a project’s carbon emissions through a restrictive and incomplete lens. The Project and its partners combine regulatory and legal advocacy to support reforms to FERC’s pipeline and LNG review process and the statutes through which FERC undertakes its reviews.
Chris Casey is a Senior Attorney working with the Project. Chris aims to make our electricity system cleaner and more efficient. He focuses on the state of New York, engaging on matters before the New York Public Service Commission and New York Independent System Operator. Previously, Chris was an energy attorney at Bevan, Mosca & Giuditta, P.C., served as an assistant attorney general for the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, and worked as a power analyst at a consumer-owned utility. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric from Bates College and a J.D. and a master’s in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School.
Gillian Giannetti is a Senior Attorney working with the Project. Gillian’s advocacy work focuses on regulatory issues at FERC, particularly when applied to natural gas infrastructure projects. Prior to joining NRDC, Gillian was an energy practitioner at a large international law firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political communication from George Washington University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.
Kelsie Gomanie is an Advocate on the project. Kelsie focuses on electricity market issues and opportunities in the Western region in support of a carbon-free electricity system. Prior to this role, she advocated for legislation at the state level across the Western region to support renewable energy development and decarbonization of the power sector. She holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy & Management from the University of Denver and a B.S. in Integrated Mechanical Engineering and Sustainable Development from Lehigh University. She is based in Denver, CO.
Bruce Ho is a Senior Advocate working with the Project. Bruce’s work currently focuses on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, modernizing transportation in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, and the New England electricity grid. Prior to joining NRDC, he worked in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives and as a lecturer at Yale Law School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, Austin, a master’s from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Cullen Howe is a Senior Renewable Energy Advocate working with the Project. Cullen’s work currently focuses on advocating for renewable energy in the eastern region of the United States. Prior to working at NRDC, he was senior attorney and New York office director at Acadia Center, where he focused on clean energy policy in New York. He holds a J.D. and a master’s in environmental law from Vermont Law School and a bachelor’s degree from DePauw University.
Morgan Johnson is a Staff Attorney working with the Project. Morgan represents the project in its gas advocacy work before FERC, DOE, and other forums. Previously, she was the staff attorney at Waterkeepers Chesapeake, an environmental NGO comprising of 17 waterkeeper programs in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Morgan holds a B.A. from Ohio State University and her J.D. and environmental law certificate from the University of New Mexico.
John Moore is the Director of the Sustainable FERC Project (Project). John also is a representative of the Environmental Sector on the Advisory Committee of the Midwest Independent System Operator. John previously was a Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, where he specialized in clean energy policies at RTOs and federal Farm Bill energy policy development. Earlier in his career he worked as an attorney in the environmental practice area with the law firms Squire Sanders and Akin Gump in Washington D.C. John holds a B.A. in English from Denison University and a J.D., with honors, from the University of Pittsburgh.
Elizabeth Toba Pearlman is a Senior Attorney with the Project. Toba’s work currently focuses on advocating for renewable energy in the midwest region of the United States. Prior to this role, she managed NRDC’s clean energy advocacy in Illinois, including efforts to increase renewables, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles. Before joining NRDC, Pearlman worked at Tesla, focusing on electric vehicles and storage, and at SolarCity, focusing on solar. From 2012 to 2014, she was a legal fellow and outside counsel with Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. Directly after graduating from the George Washington University Law School, she was a legal fellow with the United Nations Environment Programme based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is an alum of the College of William and Mary.
Caroline Reiser is a Staff Attorney working with the Project. Caroline advocates before FERC and the courts on the full range of the Project’s advocacy. A graduate of University of California Santa Barbara and the University of California Irvine School of Law, Caroline previously worked as an attorney for Emory Law School’s environmental law clinic.
Tom Rutigliano is a Senior Advocate working with the Project. Tom works to ensure our wholesale power grid supports a clean energy future, with a regional focus is the PJM interconnection, covering the Mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest. Prior to joining NRDC, Rutigliano worked in the private sector, helping to integrate new technologies into wholesale power markets. He holds a bachelor’s in philosophy from Eugene Lang College and a master’s in energy and environmental policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Christy Walsh is a Senior Attorney and Director of Federal Energy Markets with the Project. Christy’s work focuses on improving wholesale power markets and transmission systems to decarbonize the power sector, engaging in matters before FERC and regional transmission organizations. Prior to joining NRDC, Christy held senior executive positions at FERC, including Director of the Division of Policy Development and Deputy General Counsel. She was a lead FERC staffer on important electric and gas policy issues during her 18 years at the Commission, where she worked closely with FERC leadership in developing many policy reforms. Christy holds a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and dual degrees in music and French from Texas Tech University.