Description: Challenge to FERC approval of increased production at liquefied natural gas facility in Louisiana.
Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/28/2016 Opinion Download Opinion issued. In Challenge to Increased Production at Louisiana LNG Terminal, D.C. Circuit Upheld FERC’s Environmental Review, Left Door Open for Challenges of Energy Department Authorizations of Natural Gas Export. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Sierra Club in a challenge to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorization of increased production at a Louisiana liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. The court ruled that Sierra Club had standing, saying that the organization had satisfied the causation and redressability requirements for standing based on harm to a member’s aesthetic and recreational interests if the volume of tanker traffic to and from the terminal increased. As with the FERC authorizations for an LNG facility in Texas (Sierra Club v. FERC, No. 14-1275 (D.C. Cir.), the court concluded, however, that FERC’s authorization of increases in production capacity were “not the legally relevant cause of the indirect effects Sierra Club raises.” The court stated: “Sierra Club, of course, remains free to raise these issues in a challenge to the Energy Department’s NEPA review of its export decision. Nothing in our opinion should be read to foreclose that challenge or predetermine its outcome.” The court also concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Sierra Club’s arguments regarding FERC’s cumulative impacts analysis because Sierra Club had not raised the issue in its motion for rehearing before FERC. The court also rejected the cumulative impact argument on the merits for the same reasons given in the decision on the Texas facility in which it had rejected the contention that FERC should have conducted a “nationwide analysis” of other pending or approved LNG export terminals.