Tuesday, January 5, 2010

AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC v. Wilson (Maryland)

Dec 22: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Case No. 09-1539. The case involves a petition pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, by AES Sparrows Point LNG, LLC and Mid-Atlantic Express Holdings, LLC (collectively AES) to review the State of Maryland Department of the Environment’s denial of a request for water quality certification pursuant to § 401(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act, with respect to a proposed large-scale liquefied natural gas marine import terminal and pipeline project.

The proposal by AES is to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine import terminal at Sparrows Point (a heavily industrialized area adjacent to Baltimore Harbor) and an eighty-eight-mile pipeline connecting the terminal to three interstate natural gas pipelines in Eagle, Pennsylvania.

The Appeals Court said in conclusion, "we: (1) hold that Maryland waived any potential claim of sovereign immunity in connection with the present petition for review by expressly consenting to defending, in federal court, its decision to deny AES’s Request for § 401(a)(1) Water Quality Certification; (2) hold that AES has failed to establish any basis for us to disturb the Corps’ determination that Maryland had not waived its right to grant or deny AES’s § 401(a)(1) Certification Request; and (3) deny AES’s petition for review of Maryland’s denial of its§ 401(a)(1) Certification Request on the merits." One of the Judges issued a separate concurring opinion.

Access the complete opinion (click here).

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