EDF Tells Supreme Court There Is “No Basis for Review” of Spire STL Pipeline Decision

March 9, 2022
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 9, 2022) Environmental Defense Fund filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today opposing Spire STL and Spire Missouri’s request that the Court review a unanimous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit about its natural gas pipeline.

“Spire’s petition for Supreme Court review is unwarranted and should be denied,” said EDF senior attorney Erin Murphy. “The D.C. Circuit’s decision was clearly correct and there are no legal questions meriting further review. Supreme Court action is also unnecessary because there is a public process to determine the future of the Spire pipeline ongoing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is the expert agency Congress entrusted to address these issues, and the pipeline is authorized to operate during this proceeding to ensure reliable service to St. Louis customers.”

EDF filed suit in January of 2020 over concerns that the Spire STL pipeline was granted a certificate by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) without the legally required justification that the costly pipeline was needed and beneficial to the public. That legal safeguard is designed to protect customers from unnecessary costs and landowners from inappropriate condemnation of their property.

In June of 2021 the D.C. Circuit agreed, ruling there were serious deficiencies in FERC’s approval and finding that the agency had failed to meet provisions in the Natural Gas Act meant to protect Spire customers. The court vacated the FERC orders approving the pipeline. In October of 2021, the Supreme Court declined Spire’s request to stay or halt the D.C. Circuit ruling, and FERC granted Spire STL a temporary operating certificate to continue operating the pipeline until mid-December.

Spire filed a renewed stay request and petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court on December 3 regarding the D.C. Circuit’s vacatur of the FERC pipeline orders. FERC granted Spire STL an extended temporary certificate to operate the pipeline throughout the remand proceeding, and Spire subsequently withdrew its renewed stay request. EDF’s filing today opposes the petition for certiorari. The U.S. Government, on behalf of FERC, also opposes Supreme Court review in this matter.

“Going forward, we believe FERC must do a better job of assessing the benefits and burdens of the infrastructure it approves to ensure customers are protected from unnecessary costs,” said Murphy.

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