FERC Commissioners Unanimously Support Extending Pipeline Certificate, Allaying Anxiety in St. Louis Caused by Spire PR Campaign

Statement by EDF Attorney Natalie Karas

November 18, 2021
Jon Coifman, (917) 575-1885, jcoifman@gmail.com

(Washington, D.C.) During an open meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today, commissioners affirmed their support for an extension of the temporary certificate to allow the Spire STL pipeline to continue operating during the winter months. FERC Chairman Richard Glick stated it is his intent to act on Spire’s pending temporary certificate application before the current temporary certificate expires on December 13.

The declaration by FERC should lay to rest fears stoked in a misleading public relations campaign by company affiliate Spire Missouri falsely suggesting that utility customers could be left without gas heat this winter due to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“EDF has consistently urged FERC to ensure reliable service to St. Louis customers this winter. The unanimous statements from the participating FERC Commissioners should put to rest the fear and uncertainty Spire has created in St. Louis. Chairman Glick also expressed concern regarding Spire’s fear campaign and stated that ‘it is important to turn down the rhetoric and examine the facts.’”

  • Natalie Karas, senior director and lead counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

Chairman Glick and Commissioners James Danly, Allison Clements, and Mark Christie all provided opening remarks during the November 18, 2021 meeting. The fifth commissioner, Willie Phillips, was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 16, 2021 and did not provide opening remarks.

Background

EDF filed suit in January 2020 over concerns that the Spire STL pipeline was granted a certificate by FERC without the legally required justification that the costly pipeline was needed and beneficial to the public – a legal safeguard meant to protect customers from unnecessary costs, and landowners from inappropriate condemnation of their property.

In June, a U.S. Court of Appeals agreed, finding serious deficiencies in FERC’s approval. In October, the United States Supreme Court declined Spire’s request to stay or halt the Circuit Court ruling. FERC granted Spire STL a temporary operating certificate to continue operating the pipeline through December 13th.

EDF has repeatedly supported the extension, most recently in a letter to FERC on November 10. Going forward, we believe FERC must do a better job of assessing the benefits and burdens of the infrastructure it approves to ensure customers, landowners, and communities near the pipeline are protected.

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