Tag Archives: Supreme Court

FERC and Sabal Trail admit Sierra Club won 2018-07-03

One week after losing a jury trial in the U.S. Middle District Court of Georgia, the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline and its purveyor of federal eminent domain, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), declined to appeal their huge DC District Court loss of last August.

Sierra Club, Press Release, 3 July 2018, Fracked Gas Pipeline Company and Federal Regulator Will Not Seek Supreme Court Review of Landmark Ruling: Existing Decision Means FERC Must Consider Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions,

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Neither the builders of the fracked gas Sabal Trail Pipeline nor the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will ask the Supreme Court to review a landmark ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from last year. That decision required FERC to consider the effects of downstream greenhouse gases when deciding whether to approve proposed pipelines that transport gas.

In response, Sierra Club Staff Attorney Elly Benson released the following statement:

Elly Benson, Sierra Club Attorney
Elly Benson, Sierra Club Staff Attorney

“We are glad to see FERC accept its responsibility to consider greenhouse gas emissions from burning transported gas at downstream power plants. These dirty, dangerous, and unnecessary pipelines pose a threat to our communities and climate. They should not be proposed, much less built, at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are abundant and affordable. We will continue to monitor the pipeline permitting process to ensure the law is followed.”

The pipeline industry press was not thrilled. Charlie Passut, Natural Gas Intelligence, 5 July 2018, FERC Declines to Appeal Landmark GHG Case to Supreme Court, Continue reading

This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail –Suwannee Riverkeeper in VDT 2017-08-24

Update 2017-08-29: Fourth news roundup: From pipelines to renewable energy and efficiency –Sierra Club 2017-08-29

“This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail,” Quarterman said, on the front page of the newspaper of record in the largest city in the Suwannee Basin, the Valdosta Daily Times.

Heading downstream
We got sails no one can see.
Suwannee Riverkeeper Vessel on the Suwannee River protesting Sabal Trail 2017-01-14

As Frank Jackalone says (see below), FERC has been getting away with murder. And now maybe they can’t.

Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, 23 August 2017, Court decision to impact Sabal Trail pipeline, Continue reading

Pipeliners spooked by Sierra Club Major Landmark Victory; could shut down Sabal Trail –industry press

Update 2017-08-29: Fourth news roundup: From pipelines to renewable energy and efficiency –Sierra Club 2017-08-29

Update 2017-08-24: Third news roundup: This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail —Suwannee Riverkeeper in VDT 2017-08-24

OilPrice.com calls it “a critical decision yesterday, that could jeopardize the future for pipeline projects across the country”; pipeline companies could be “spooked” and “…the court ruling raises the unsettling possibility that the project may be forced to shut down — after billions were spent putting it in into service.” Other stories say this ‘huge’ win could also affect the Atlantic Sunrise, Penneast, Atlantic Coast, and Rover Pipelines, among others.

Children against Sabal Trail in Juno Beach, 2016-10-14
(L to R) Lea Fox, 4, Finn Ryder Purdy, 4, and Mason Dana, 7, of Lake Worth, sit with gas pipeline protesters outside of Florida Power and Light headquarters on Universe Boulevard in Juno Beach on October 14, 2016. The Sabal Trail Pipeline began supplying FPL’s plants in June. Groups opposed the pipeline that will start in Alabama and bring fracked gas through several counties in Florida’s springs and wetlands. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Sad for FPL, Duke, Spectra, and all the other pipeline-building purveyors of fracked methane, maybe, but glad for all the landowners whose land was taken, local citizens who don’t want a 500+-mile IED next to their homes, schools, and waterways, and all people who want clean sun and wind energy, not more polluting fossil fuels.

It’s good the industry press agrees with what I told the VDT: “This is wind in our sails and could be the end of Sabal Trail.”

Here’s a news roundup, in addition to Continue reading

EPA coal plant emission limits still in place during legal cost review

Justice Scalia never said the EPA emissions rule was struck down, rather the Supreme Court sent it back to a lower court to get a cost analysis from EPA. 300x305 Mercury, in Improving Air Quality in Georgia, by Georgia Power, 30 June 2015 Meanwhile, many of the emissions controls are already in place on coal plants (including Plant Scherer), other coal plants have closed or are closing, and investors are abandoning coal in droves. So what Scalia wants may or may not be impossible for EPA to deliver, but EPA actually already has helped sink dirty coal. Meanwhile, Georgia Power finally is helping the sun rise on Georgia. So the prognosis is good for less mercury in the Alapaha River.

Emily Atkin, ThinkProgress Climate, 29 June 2015, What Everyone Is Getting Wrong About The Supreme Court’s Mercury Pollution Ruling, Continue reading

Supreme Court rules on cost against EPA coal plant emission limitations

The EPA should account for all costs before making a ruling on mercury or other coal plant emissions, according to a 5:4 majority of the Supreme Court. The dissenting minority points out not only are costs usually figured in during the follow-on process for specific limits, but that actual costs can’t even be computed without knowing those limits. So Coal Plant Scherer mercury in the Alapaha River can’t be limited without figuring all the costs first, says the SCOTUS majority, although EPA and the Court minority point to numerous well-known medical problems caused by mercury. Are profits for a few big utilities and coal companies more important than clean water and public health, especially now that there are cleaner, safer, faster-to-build, and less expensive renewable energy sources available in solar and wind power?

According to today’s SCOTUS ruling, Continue reading

EPA Clean Water Rule finalized

I still see EPA’s new Clean Water Rule as a good thing, since it protects drinking water, paddling, and fishing, while opponents remain quite vague about what might be wrong with it.

After last year’s comment period, U.S. EPA has posted a prepublication version of its final Clean Water Rule.

Katie Shepherd, L.A. Times, 27 May 2015, Under new EPA rule, Clean Water Act protections will cover all active tributaries, Continue reading

Proposed EPA Water rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes some new rules to clarify Clean Water Act protection. Some people and organizations have concerns about that, and the EPA has now responded to those concerns. Comment periods are still open for you to provide input directly to EPA about the proposed rule.

Here’s the EPA’s Waters of the United States Proposed Rule. EPA says clarification of the Clean Water Act was requested by a broad range of state, tribal, and local government agencies and elected officials and NGOs, ranging from AASHTO to the National Association of State Foresters. One of the two examples EPA cites of state enforcement problems is on the Flint River in Georgia:

Recreation in Lake Blackshear, Georgia

Continue reading