Spire Takes Pipeline Order to Highest Court Despite FERC Process to Ensure Reliable Winter Service

Statement by Natalie Karas, Senior Director and Lead Counsel, Environmental Defense Fund

October 5, 2021
Lauren Whittenberg, (512) 691-3437, lwhittenberg@edf.rog
Lexie Michel, (952) 457-1418, lexie@sunpr.com

(WASHINGTON) Spire filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an order vacating the FERC certificate for the company’s natural gas pipeline in Missouri.

“Spire’s application to the Supreme Court to stay the D.C. Circuit mandate is inappropriate and unnecessary because there is no imminent harm threatening Spire or its customers. FERC has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring there is no disruption in service that could harm St. Louis consumers during the upcoming winter. Spire has not presented a substantial question to the Supreme Court and a stay should not be granted.

“As FERC considers appropriate next steps on Spire’s pending application for a temporary emergency certificate through the winter, it should craft a remedy that fulfills the need for reliable service while safeguarding the public interest. FERC should protect ratepayers from the costs of the pipeline and protect landowners and communities along the pipeline route by ensuring compensation and land restoration.”

In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its decision in EDF v. FERC, striking down FERC’s approval of the Spire STL pipeline and remanding the matter to FERC for further proceedings. The D.C. Circuit subsequently denied Spire’s petition for rehearing and motion to stay issuance of the mandate, both of which EDF opposed and FERC took no position. Spire now seeks to stay issuance of the mandate before the Supreme Court; it has not filed a petition for certiorari.

Because Spire Missouri modified its system to incorporate the Spire STL pipeline over the last several years — despite EDF’s pending challenge to the FERC certificate orders — Spire Missouri is dependent on the pipeline in the near term to provide gas to its customers. In light of these developments, FERC granted Spire a 90-day temporary emergency certificate on September 14, 2021. This temporary certificate ensures continuity of service on the pipeline until FERC determines whether a lengthier emergency authorization is warranted.

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