Description: Challenge to U.S. Department of Energy approval of application to export liquefied natural gas from facility in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Sierra Club v. United States Department of Energy
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/01/2017 Judgment Download Petition for review denied. D.C. Circuit Upheld Department of Energy LNG Export Authorization. In an unpublished decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) authorization of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from a facility in Corpus Christi, Texas. The court said its August 2017 decision rejecting challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Natural Gas Act to DOE’s authorization of LNG exports at another Texas facility largely governed the resolution of the instant case, as well as two other cases involving facilities in Louisiana and Maryland. The court addressed three narrow issues that remained in one or more of the cases. First, it said the determination not to prepare an environmental impact statement in the other two cases was not arbitrary and capricious. Second, it found that DOE had not acted arbitrarily and capriciously by not conducting more localized analysis of where exports would result in increased production in one of the other cases. Finally, for all three cases, the court found that DOE adequately considered distributional impacts in its evaluation of “public interest” under the Natural Gas Act. 03/17/2017 Brief Download Reply brief filed by Sierra Club. 02/13/2017 Brief Download Brief filed by intervenor-respondents. LNG Terminal Companies Defended Department of Energy Export Authorizations in D.C. Circuit. In a proceeding in which Sierra Club challenged the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) authorization of the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement nations from a terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, intervenor-respondents filed a brief defending DOE’s compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The intervenor-respondents were the companies that developed and operated the facility for which exports were authorized. The intervenor-respondents argued that neither DOE’s NEPA analysis nor its public interest analysis under the NGA was arbitrary and capricious. The companies contended that DOE had reasonably concluded that “theoretical impacts” of future impacts of emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions, from increased gas production and coal consumption were not cognizable indirect effects under NEPA because they were “too tenuously connected to the export authorization.” The intervenor-respondents further argued that DOE reasonably determined that Sierra Club’s assertions regarding unequal distribution of economic benefits and environmental concerns did not overcome the presumption in favor of exports in the public interest analysis under the NGA. 01/30/2017 Brief Download Answering brief filed by Department of Energy. Department of Energy Defended Authorization of LNG Exports from Texas Facility. In a brief submitted to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) defended its review of the potential environmental impacts of the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a Texas terminal. DOE argued that it had taken a hard look at the impacts of export-induced gas production, induced domestic coal consumption, and the climate impacts of induced gas production. DOE also said that it had complied with the Natural Gas Act and that its conclusion that LNG export’s benefits would outweigh potential environmental harms was reasonable. 11/30/2016 Brief Download Opening brief filed.