U.S. Supreme Court Denies Spire Appeal of Permit Being Vacated By Lower Court

By Benjamin Cox on April 19, 2022 at 9:44am

The U.S. Supreme Court has left the future of a West Central Illinois natural gas pipeline in doubt. Yesterday, the court declined to hear an appeal from the owners of the Spire STL Pipeline without comment. The appeal comes after a lower court ruled in June that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had not adequately demonstrated a need for the project, vacating the pipeline’s operational permit.

The Spire STL Pipeline runs from southern Scott County all the way to the Metro East. The pipeline’s existence has raised eyebrows since its construction more than 4 years ago. Landowners have claimed that the pipeline company did not adequately take care of topsoil and topography during and after construction along the pipeline’s right of way, causing extreme environmental issues from affecting crops to creating erosion and run off.

The Environmental Defense Fund sued in 2020, raising questions whether the pipeline was approved by the federal government without an adequate review. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found what they called “serious flaws” in FERC’s approval of the project.

The case continues to play out with the federal government. Last year, FERC issued a temporary operational certificate to Spire. FERC, now under new leadership in the Biden Administration, now is reviewing the pipeline’s appeal for operations.

Spire leadership told the Associated Press yesterday that they are confident FERC regulators will see the benefits of having the pipeline operational to provide energy that they characterized as reliable and affordable to the greater St. Louis area. FERC has not announced a timeline on their decision.