Illinois Natural Gas Pipeline Fate Unknown after the US Supreme Court Rejected Appeal

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Illinois Natural Gas Pipeline Fate Unknown after the US Supreme Court Rejected Appeal

Mon, 04/25/2022 - 07:55
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Judge's gavel on the table (© Shutterstock/FabrikaSimf)
Judge's gavel on the table (© Shutterstock/FabrikaSimf)

The fate of a St. Louis-based natural gas pipeline company remains precarious after the US Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a lower court judgment on Monday. The Supreme Court's decision could spell the closure of the pipeline without giving explanations.

Spire Inc., the company behind the gas pipeline running through Illinois and Missouri, filed an appeal on the decision made by a lower court that could lead to a halt in the pipeline's operation, but the appeal was rejected without any comment by the Supreme Court.

Following the appeal rejection, Spire President Scott Smith has vowed to continue fighting to keep the 105-kilometers long pipeline that links with another pipeline in western Illinois and transports gas to about 650,000 customers in the St. Louis region operational.

The Spire STL Pipeline woes began after The Environmental Defense Fund sued its approval in 2020, raising concerns the 65-mile pipeline construction and operation was approved without adequate review.

The pipeline was approved in 2018 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and entered full operation in 2019.

However, the future of the pipeline turned murkier after a 3-judge bench from the US Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled in favour of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), stating that the FERC had not sufficiently demonstrated the need for the project, vacating the pipeline's approval.

According to EDF attorney Erin Murphy's statement on Monday, the court ruling noted "serious flaws" in the pipeline's approval, "including failing to assess the harms to ratepayers and landowners."

"We are confident that when people have an opportunity to review the proven benefits of the STL Pipeline, they will agree that there is a critical need to keep this infrastructure fully operational to ensure continued access to reliable, affordable energy for families and businesses in the greater St. Louis region," said Smith in a statement.

According to the details of the case, FERC issued a temporary certificate a temporary certificate, allowing the pipeline to  operate. The temporary order allows Spire to continue operating the pipeline as it appeals to FERC for pipeline approval.

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