A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out 2018 authorizations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allowing Spire STL to build a roughly $285 million natural gas pipeline near St. Louis, Missouri that is now operational, in a rare victory against the regulator by environmentalists who sued.
A unanimous panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated a critical permits order for the 65-mile Spire STL Pipeline after ruling that FERC adopted an “ostrich-like approach” when it found a market need for the line despite only one gas supplier, an affiliate of the line’s operator, committing to use it.
FERC’s Chairman Richard Glick, who had dissented when the commission voted to allow the project, said in a statement that the decision “shows that when FERC cuts corners with its analysis, it puts its decisions … at substantial risk.”
Jason Merrill, a spokesperson for Spire Inc, said that the decision “would be detrimental” to communities that rely on the pipeline for energy.