FERC prohibits pipeline construction, allows land seizures as court weighs ‘legal purgatory’ of rehearing delays

Utility Dive discusses FERC prohibits pipeline construction while the court case goes on, but allows land seizures as court weighs ‘legal purgatory’ of rehearing delays.

  • Federal regulators, under scrutiny from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, issued an order Wednesday prohibiting natural gas pipeline developers from beginning construction on a project until regulators act on rehearing requests.
  • The order addresses in part issues raised during the court’s April en banc hearing in Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC. The case centers on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) practice of continuously delaying requests for rehearing under the Natural Gas Act. Petitioners argued in part that the commission has been delaying requests for rehearing indefinitely, while allowing construction on controversial pipeline projects to proceed.
  • FERC Commissioner Richard Glick dissented in part to the order. Though the order is “a step in the right direction,” it does not address the concern that pipeline developers can still begin to condemn private land before the landowner is able to challenge the developer’s ability to do so, he said.

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