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December 03, 2016
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Federal court sides with environmental groups; FERC did not properly conduct environmental review

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company works on the preparation for the Northeast Upgrade Project in August 2011.

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper said, “This is important vindication of the rights of our communities and environment to be honestly considered and protected by our federal agencies. FERC has been allowing illegal segmentation by pipeline companies for years, it has ignored the pleas of the public for equity and for honest review of impacts, and as such FERC has been complicit with the pipeline companies in their ongoing efforts to avoid the rule of law and to ignore the devastating impacts they are having on our environment, impacts that will harm not just present, but also future generations. It is rewarding that a federal court has finally held FERC to account.”

The case was argued before the Court of Appeals by Delaware Riverkeeper Network attorney Aaron Stemplewicz, who said, “The D.C. Circuit’s decision today should put other pipeline companies on notice that the practice of segmenting pipeline projects before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will no longer be tolerated, and that the cumulative environmental impacts resulting from these projects must be fully considered before a project is approved.”

Tittel said, “This is the first time the court sided with the environment over a gas company, but more importantly it sends a clear message to FERC that they cannot ignore the environment. We see this as a critically important precedent that will now require FERC to look at the real environmental issues of the projects they review.”

The third group that was part of the lawsuit was the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.