Environmental -- 2019

Appalachian Voices v. FERC   (D.C. Circuit)

Federal review of new energy infrastructure projects

The NAM filed an amicus brief in support of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a major new natural gas transmission pipeline to bring natural gas from the Marcellus shale region to manufacturers, electricity generators, and other consumers in the eastern United States. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the pipeline under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. Environmental groups sued to challenge that authorization, arguing that FERC's environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) should have quantified the greenhouse gas emissions impacts of all possible downstream uses of the natural gas. If courts interpret NEPA as imposing that requirement, the approval process for major energy infrastructure projects will only become more complex, delayed, and uncertain as FERC undertakes a speculative GHG analysis that environmental groups would inevitably challenge in court to delay project commencement. The NAM's amicus brief argued that NEPA does not compel a GHG analysis for every new energy infrastructure project, and that FERC properly exercised its discretion in determining that GHG emissions are not indirect effects of its approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. On February 19, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld FERC's approval, concluding that FERC's consideration of the potential emissions impacts was reasonable under NEPA.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (November 27, 2018)


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