A federal agency has given a temporary reprieve to the Spire STL Pipeline a week ahead of a deadline that would have forced it to shut down.
The Journal Courier reports that federal regulators on Friday issued a temporary permit that will keep the pipeline operational through the winter and until a determination can be made about its fate. Spire says it hopes to work on being granted a long-term certificate of operation during the winter. Spire also filed an appeal on Friday with the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the pipeline operational. The Supreme Court in October refused to stay the decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision to vacate the permit for the pipeline.
STL Today reports that comments from the St. Louis-based gas utility have drawn widespread accusations of “fearmongering” from regulatory officials at FERC and the Missouri Public Service Commission, as well as from legal opponents at the Environmental Defense Fund surrounding Spire’s information campaign warning of potential winter gas outages, given the pipeline’s uncertain future.
A federal appeals court said in June that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission didn’t adequately demonstrate the pipeline was needed when it was granted approval for operation in 2018 and that it would have to cease operations by December 13th. The pipeline has been mired in legal trouble from the beginning, including a January 2020 lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Fund that says the pipeline was neither necessary or beneficial, and has irrevocably harmed the environment. The pipeline stretches from Scott County for 65 miles down into the Metro East.
According to the temporary order, Spire must continue to restore damage to the environment along the project’s right-of-way.