An appeals court on 22 August rejected the federal government’s approval of a natural gas pipeline project in the southeastern US, citing concerns about its effect on climate change.
In a 2–1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) did not properly analyze the climate effect from burning the natural gas that the project would deliver to power plants.
The ruling is significant because it adds to environmentalists’ arguments that analyses under the National Environmental Policy Act—the law governing all environmental reviews of federal decisions—must consider climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
The case concerns the Southeast Market Pipelines Project, which is meant to bring gas to Florida to fuel existing and planned power plants.The Sierra Club sued FERC following its 2016 approval of the project. The environmental group brought a series of objections to the project and its environmental review, but the court denied all of the objections except the one focused on greenhouse gas.
The environmental impact statement for the project “should have either given a quantitative estimate of the downstream greenhouse emissions that will result from burning the natural gas that the pipelines will transport or explained more specifically why it could not have done so,” Judge Thomas Griffith, who was nominated to the court by President George W. Bush, wrote in the opinion. He was joined by Judge Judith Ann Wilson Rogers, one of President Bill Clinton’s nominees.
Court Rejects Pipeline Project on Climate Concerns
25 August 2017