West Central Illinois landowners may have been granted a reprieve in their ongoing problems with a natural gas pipeline company.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia District ruled yesterday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to adequately balance public benefits and adverse impacts in approving the 65-mile long Spire STL Pipeline that cuts across Greene and Scott County. The appeals court ruled that FERC failed to also establish necessity of the pipeline calling the awarding of construction permits arbitrary and capricious after a lawsuit was filed by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Spire, in a statement issued after the ruling, says it jeopardizes reliable energy access to 650,000 homes in the St. Louis region.
In the ruling, the judges ruled that their was an absence of increasing demand in the St. Louis region and evidence suggested the region was properly serviced. It also said there was no potential cost savings. FERC had previously ruled it would not “second guess the business decisions” of Spire in a prior ruling.
The ruling vacated the certificate of Spire’s now-operational pipeline. The pipeline’s future now relies on a new hearing by FERC on whether it will be allowed to remain operational and what remediation efforts will take place for landowners now tied up in a separate suit in the Central District Court of Illinois.