IL AG’s Office Files Contempt Complaint Against Spire STL Pipeline For Alleged Failure to Correct Right of Way Issues in Greene, Scott, Jersey

By Benjamin Cox on August 25, 2023 at 4:06pm

File photo of damaged farmland in Greene County from 2019.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a petition to potentially hold a Missouri natural gas company in indirect civil contempt for failing to follow a court-imposed order to fix problems along a pipeline that runs through Scott, Greene, and Jersey counties.

The Illinois Attorney General’s Office has filed a petition for rule to show cause against Spire STL Pipeline asking the company to explain why they haven’t lived up to their side of a previous court order that they fix various violations discovered by the Illinois EPA along the pipeline’s right of way.

In December 2020, the AG’s office filed a complaint against Spire and Michels Corporation alleging several violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and regulations enacted by the Illinois Pollution Control Board. The complaint alleged that between April 23, 2019 and May 2, 2019 members of the Illinois EPA inspected several inspection on private properties while Spire was excavating and construction the pipeline. During those inspections, the IEPA says that Spire’s construction teams failed to enact proper runoff controls causing subsoil and sediment to be improperly discharged into nearby properties and bodies of water. Follow up inspections followed on several properties in the region in August and October of last year showing that runoff had continued causing erosion, sediment slipping, and unnatural sediment deposits, as well as exposure of tree roots. Erosion had also occurred on agriculture land causing lack of crop growth and also exposing the alleged illegal dumping of construction debris and excavating rock.

The complaint says that the 2019 consent order put in place by the court for proper site reclamation and restoration had not been fulfilled or in some cases, not been attempted.

The complaint says that the discharge of silt and other debris is now being discharged into surrounding waters of the region, violation both current and past federal Waters of the United States rules.

The new petition asks that Spire be held in indirect civil contempt, be fined an undisclosed amount, and be forced to comply with the original 2019 consent order.

Federal officials granted Spire a permanent certificate to operate the natural gas pipeline after a two-year long fight with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through both the Trump and Biden Administrations. The Environmental Defense Fund sued in 2020 saying that the pipeline’s original operation permit granted in 2018 was given without proper review. Other had alleged that there was not a need for the project and was simply a means to turn a profit.

A hearing date on the new motion in Greene County Circuit Court has not been set at this time.