Spire STL Pipeline Takes Operation Request to U.S. Supreme Court

By Benjamin Cox on October 13, 2021 at 9:27am

A troubled pipeline company in St. Louis has taken their petition to remain operational to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Associated Press reports that Spire STL Pipeline is asking the nation’s highest court to allow it to keep operating a pipeline through Illinois and Missouri, warning that a winter shutdown could be devastating to St. Louis-area customers.

The embattled pipeline has faced challenges ever since its construction in 2018 through Scott, Greene, Jersey, and portions of the St. Louis metro area. In a court filing last week, Spire requested a stay that would allow operation of its Spire STL Pipeline until the issue is resolved in the courts. If the Supreme Court declines to take up the case, operation of the pipeline could cease on December 13th unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission extends an emergency order granted last month.

Spire’s court filing said shutting down the pipeline “in the middle of winter could result in the loss of natural-gas service to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses” in the St. Louis region in a released statement today.

The Environmental Defense Fund’s lead counsel, Natalie Karas, told the AP that the stay is unnecessary because Spire already has approval through mid-December “and FERC is poised to issue another temporary certificate to keep the pipeline operational through the winter to ensure reliable service to St. Louis customers.”

In June, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that FERC “failed to adequately balance public benefits and adverse impacts” in approving the pipeline. The panel also wrote that evidence showed the pipeline “is not being built to serve increasing load demand and that there is no indication the new pipeline will lead to cost savings.”

The ruling vacated approval of the pipeline, prompting FERC’s 90-day order allowing its continued operation.