A Change Of Course After FERC Considers Pipeline’s GHGs Significance And Climate Impacts
America’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates the sale and transmission of interstate energy, has added a new greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment criterion, to its approval process for new gas pipeline projects. As for the new assessment criteria, FERC will for the first time, begin to assess the significance of greenhouse gas emissions and their contribution to climate change of any new project.
Northern Natural Gas Company’s (“Northern”) South Sioux City to Sioux Falls A-line Replacement project (“Project”) is the first new gas pipeline project to seek and gain approval under these recently adopted criteria.
This new project by Northern involves the closing down of an existing life-expired pipeline which links the gas pipeline networks of Nebraska and South Dakota. Then replacing the existing pipeline infrastructure with some 87.3 miles of new pipes, upgrading the existing installations and constructing new above-ground facilities. Northern estimates total costs of this project at around $173.8 million.
During March 2021, the proposed pipeline project managed to gain approval from all five FERC. Nonetheless, both Commissioner Danly and Commissioner Christie, dissented from FERC’s decision, when it came to determine the importance of GHGs on this individual pipeline project.