Hurricane Relief Effort

Court Affirms FERC Certificate Orders for New Compressor Station Over Vigorous Opposition from Resident Group

Wright & Talisman represented Millennium through the FERC proceedings and on appeal.

The case drew industry-wide attention because of the vehement opposition from the resident group and the fact that FERC's approval orders were split, with three Commissioners approving and two dissenting.  Opponents of the project favored an alternate site away from their town.  However, after extensive study of Millennium's proposed site and the alternative, FERC's environmental assessment found that the alternative was not superior and presented its own environmental problems.

The Court dismissed all of the opponents' challenges and found that FERC's decisions "were both reasonable and reasonably explained."  A number of the Court’s findings are instructive to the industry.  The Court recognized FERC's duty to consider "logical alternatives" that may better serve the public interest, but added that "FERC's obligation to consider alternatives . . . is not boundless."  The Court recognized FERC's "broad discretion to invoke its expertise in balancing competing interests" and concluded that FERC's consideration of the alternative here "falls within the bounds of that discretion."

The Court also rejected claims that FERC was "biased" in favor of applicants, upheld FERC's environmental review as compliant with NEPA's required "hard look" at project impacts, and found that FERC properly applied its siting guidelines.  Finally, the Court found that FERC did not violate opponents' due process rights and acted "well within the bounds of [its] discretion" in rejecting claims that the project presented safety concerns.

For over 65 years, Wright & Talisman, P.C. has been a trusted advisor to the energy industry, representing a wide variety clients in matters before FERC and the courts.  Please contact Joe Koury (koury@wrightlaw.com), or Ryan Collins (collins@wrightlaw.com), or call (202) 393-1200 if you have any questions or would like further information regarding this proceeding or other natural gas industry matters.

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