Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coalition, Et. Al v. FERC

Jun 12: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Case No. 12-566. In this Petition for review of two orders of the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Appeal Court ruled by Summary Order which does not have precedential effect. The Coalition includes environmental organizations including Sierra Club represented by Earthjustice a public interest law firm.
    The Appeals Court denied the Petition which sought to review a Certificate Order authorizing Central NY Oil to build and operate the MARC I Hub Line Project natural gas pipeline -- 39 miles long and 30 inches in diameter -- to run through Bradford, Sullivan, and Lycoming Counties, Pennsylvania, and to build and operate related facilities. In this case, in considering Central NY Oil's application, FERC prepared an EA, issued a FONSI [finding of no significant impact], and concluded that an EIS was not required.
    The Appeals Court said, "We conclude, based on our review of the administrative record, that FERC took a 'hard look' at the possible effects of the Project and that its decision that an EIS was not required was not arbitrary or capricious. Its 296-page EA thoroughly considered the issues. The Certificate Order carefully reviewed the concerns raised by the comments. The Rehearing Order addressed petitioners' concerns and further explained FERC's basis for issuing the FONSI."
    The Coalition argued that FERC's cumulative impact analysis was inadequate. However, the Appeals Court said further, "We disagree. FERC's analysis of the development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves was sufficient. FERC included a short discussion of Marcellus Shale development in the EA, and FERC reasonably concluded that the impacts of that development are not sufficiently causally-related to the project to warrant a more in-depth analysis. In addition, FERC's discussion of the incremental effects of the project on forests and migratory birds was sufficient. FERC addressed both issues in the EA and has required Central NY Oil to take concrete steps to address environmental concerns raised by petitioners and others."
    Access the complete Summary Order (click here). [#Energy/Pipeline, #Energy/Frack, #CA2]
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