Description: Challenge to FERC orders authorizing the Constitution Pipeline Project, a natural gas transmission line that would travel through Pennsylvania and New York.
Catskill Mountainkeeper, Inc. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/18/2021 Order Download Motion to dismiss granted. Second Circuit Dismissed Challenges to Canceled Pipeline. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) motion to dismiss as moot petitions for review challenging the now-defunct Constitution Pipeline, which would have carried natural gas between Pennsylvania and New York. The developer canceled the project in 2020, and FERC’s authorization for the pipeline lapsed in December 2020. The lawsuits that the Second Circuit found to be moot challenged FERC’s certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project and also FERC’s later determination that New York waived its water quality certification authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. 01/26/2021 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed by FERC. 09/23/2016 Brief Download Reply brief filed by petitioners. In their reply brief, four environmental groups argued that FERC should have considered the impacts of increased gas production because the pipeline would be the “legally relevant cause” of such upstream impacts and impacts were reasonably foreseeable. The groups also reiterated their arguments that FERC’s evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions did not comply with NEPA. 09/12/2016 Brief Download FERC brief filed. FERC Defended Environmental Review for Constitution Pipeline Project. FERC and proponents of the Constitution Pipeline Project filed briefs defending FERC’s environmental review of the project, which includes a 124-mile natural gas pipeline between Pennsylvania and New York and associated facilities. The briefs also defended FERC’s compliance with the Natural Gas Act and the Clean Water Act. FERC argued that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) did not require it to consider potential impacts from increases in natural gas production and that it had “reasonably analyzed” the pipeline project’s greenhouse gas emissions. FERC said it had explained its exclusion from emissions calculations of alleged loss of carbon sinks, that it had not improperly rejected the significance of the project’s potential emissions based on a comparison to total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and that it was not required to assess the project’s incremental contribution to climate change. FERC also said that it had not impermissibly segmented its review of the Constitution Pipeline Project from consideration of the impacts of other pipeline proposals. Three intervening parties—the pipeline project’s developer, the owner and operator of an existing pipeline system to which the Constitution Pipeline would connect, and the Natural Gas Supply Association—also filed briefs defending FERC’s authorizations of the pipeline, including FERC’s consideration of greenhouse gas and climate change impacts. 09/12/2016 Brief Download Constitution Pipeline Co. filed brief. 09/12/2016 Brief Download Iroquois Gas Transmission System, L.P. filed brief. 09/12/2016 Brief Download Natural Gas Supply Association filed brief. 02/24/2016 Order Download Second Circuit denied motion for emergency stay. Second Circuit Declined to Stop Construction Activity on Natural Gas Pipeline for Which Environmental Groups Alleged Climate-Related Shortcomings in Environmental Review. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request to stay construction activity associated with the development of the Constitution Pipeline Project, a natural gas transmission line that would travel through Pennsylvania and New York. The stay was sought by Clean Air Council and Sierra Club, two of the five petitioners that have asked the Second Circuit to review orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approving the project and authorizing it to proceed. In their memorandum of law supporting the request for the stay, the petitioners contended that FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider the project’s indirect impacts, and particularly impacts of natural gas development induced by the project. They also contended, among other arguments, that FERC’s analysis of cumulative impacts did not capture harms from additional greenhouse gas emissions and that FERC’s approval of the project violated the Clean Water Act. 02/05/2016 Brief Download Memorandum of law filed in support of motion for emergency stay. 02/05/2016 Motion Download Motion filed for emergency stay pending review of agency orders. 02/05/2016 Petition for Review Download Petition for review filed.
In re Constitution Pipeline Co., LLC
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/28/2016 Order Download Order issued denying rehearing. 01/27/2015 Order Download Order issued granting rehearing for further consideration. 01/02/2015 Petition for Rehearing Download Petition for rehearing filed by Henry S. Kernan Trust. 01/02/2015 Request for Rehearing Download Request for rehearing filed by Stop the Pipeline. 01/02/2015 Request for Rehearing Download Request for rehearing filed by Allegheny Defense Project and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability. 12/31/2014 Request for Rehearing Download Request for rehearing filed on behalf of Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services. 12/30/2014 Request for Rehearing Download Request for rehearing filed by six environmental groups. Five requests for rehearing were filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking rescission of its approval of a 124-mile gas pipeline between Pennsylvania and New York. The requests for rehearing charged that FERC committed a number of errors in its review of the pipeline, including failures to fully consider the project’s environmental impacts. For example, Catskill Mountainkeeper and other organizations charged that the environmental review should have considered the
indirect impacts of additional gas production and that it had not fully considered the project’s greenhouse gas emissions. Among the alleged insufficiencies related to the project’s greenhouse gas emissions were failure to consider cumulative impacts, failure to consider the impact of the elimination of carbon sinks such as forests and wetlands, and failure to properly incorporate the social cost of carbon into the impact analysis.
Catskill Mountainkeeper also accused FERC of improperly minimizing the significance of the project’s greenhouse gas emissions by comparing them to global emissions. Concern regarding the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions was echoed in other requests for rehearing, including it the request submitted by Stop the Pipeline, which took issue with the project sponsor’s assertion that natural gas would reduce
greenhouse gas emissions.