No more “free pass” for pipeline developers
Today the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ended the unjust practice of tolling orders by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that allowed gas pipelines to move ahead with construction while preventing challengers from contesting the projects in court. The opinion, which cites the friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center and other environmental legal organizations, was issued in a case challenging the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. The court held that FERC may no longer delay court review by issuing tolling orders on requests for rehearing of FERC approvals, as it did in approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
“Today’s opinion is an important step toward leveling the playing field and ensuring that landowners and communities challenging destructive projects can have their day in court before it’s too late,” said Mark Sabath, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “For years pipeline builders barreled ahead with construction while legitimate questions about need and environmental harm were still undecided.”