Environmental -- 2019

Otsego 2000 v. FERC   (D.C. Circuit)

Greenhouse gas analysis of pipelines

The NAM filed an amicus brief to argue that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), when reviewing a pipeline company’s permit application for a new pipeline infrastructure project, does not have a categorical obligation under federal law to forecast the speculative greenhouse gas impacts of possible uses of the natural gas by unknown and unknowable customers of the natural gas. The case arises from FERC’s approval of upgrades to an existing natural gas pipeline in New York state. In reviewing the environmental impacts of those upgrades under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), FERC declined to undertake a speculative analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of the possible uses of the natural gas by the ultimate customers of the gas. An environmental group sued FERC to challenge that determination. In FERC’s defense, the NAM filed an amicus brief to support FERC’s approach of determining on a case-by-case basis whether a greenhouse gas analysis is appropriate for a particular energy infrastructure project. This approach is important to manufacturers because it avoids prolonged and speculative environmental reviews that opposition groups can use as a basis to challenge and delay new energy infrastructure development. On May 9, 2019, the court found the plaintiffs lacked standing and therefore dismissed the case.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (February 1, 2019)


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