Description: Challenge to FERC authorization for the Southgate Project, which would carry gas from the terminus of Mountain Valley's Mainline to a local distribution system in North Carolina, including for failing to consider impacts of climate change.
Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/28/2022 Opinion Download Petition for review denied. D.C. Circuit Upheld FERC Approvals for Extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition for review challenging Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approvals of a new natural gas pipeline project extending the Mountain Valley Mainline System Project from its terminus in Virginia to facilities in North Carolina. The court found that FERC’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review was adequate and also found that FERC acted reasonably in approving the developer’s initial rate of return on equity. The petitioners’ NEPA claim focused on sedimentation and erosion impacts. Their arguments included that FERC relied on mitigation measures that had proven to be ineffective on the Mainline Project. The petitioners said FERC had ascribed the Mainline Project’s failures to “record-breaking precipitation” in 2018 and had failed to address that climate change would be expected to result in more severe storms in the future. The D.C. Circuit did not directly address the climate change point, but noted that FERC did not expect the 2018 precipitation level to repeat and that measures had been proposed to avoid erosion and sediment control issues. The court also said that “[o]n the whole, Petitioners’ criticisms miss the point of the mitigation measure discussion as an ‘information-forcing’ exercise” since NEPA does not mandate a mitigation plan. 08/16/2021 Motion Download Unopposed motion to withdraw filed by Monacan Indian Nation and Sappony Tribe. 07/28/2021 Reply Download Reply brief filed by petitioners. 07/12/2021 Brief Download Answering brief filed by respondent-intervenors Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC and Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. 06/23/2021 Brief Download Brief filed by respondent FERC. 04/01/2021 Brief Download Corrected opening brief filed by petitioners. 04/01/2021 Brief Download Corrected opening brief filed by intervenors Monacan Indian Nation and Sappony Tribe.