As reported on Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) website on October 23, 2020, EDF filed a reply brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as FERC, asking the court to strike down FERC’s approval for the Spire STL Pipeline which ignored its statutory regulations to protect the public interest.
The reply brief maintains that FERC did not provide evidence showing need for the project and that this private business decision was allowed to “override the wide-sweeping public interest ramifications—on the affiliates’ captive customers, the viability of neighboring pipelines, the degradation of the environment, and the persistent and invasive seizure of private property by eminent domain.”
EDF, along with a mix of experts and organizations, states that FERC failed to evaluate and “adequately assess” the need under the Natural Gas Act when it failed to properly evaluate the economic and market facts that should guide their decision.
The Natural Gas Act applies when interstate sale and/or transportation of natural gas occurs. The Spire STL Pipeline runs for 66 miles between and within the states of Illinois and Missouri and therefore the Natural Gas Act applies. The Natural Gas Act was amended in 1947 to give it federal authority to acquire private property through the power of eminent domain, also known as land acquisition. This governmental power allows a body to acquire, or take, private property through the payment of just compensation.
EDF began in 1967 when a group of scientists and a lawyer in New York legally fought against the use of a pesticide by presenting scientific evidence and was able to have it banned. The global non-profit group continues to fight for a safer and healthier environment.
“EDF Urges D.C. Circuit to Strike Down Unlawful Approval of a Natural Gas Pipeline.” Environmental Defense Fund, 23 Oct. 2020, www.edf.org/media/edf-urges-dc-circuit-strike-down-unlawful-approval-natural-gas-pipeline. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.
Holmes, Eric. “This Land Is Your Land? Eminent Domain Under the Natural Gas Act and State Sovereign Immunity.” Congressional Research Service: Legal Sidebar, Congressional Research Service, 19 Oct. 2019, crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10359. Accessed 3 Nov. 2020.