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Court Rules FERC Failed to Adequately Review Environmental Impacts of Sabal Trail Pipeline

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Court Rules FERC Failed to Adequately Review Environmental Impacts of Sabal Trail Pipeline
Tallahassee Democrat / Twitter

The U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Tuesday saying that the Federal Environmental Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the fracked gas Sabal Trail pipeline, which runs more than 500 miles through Alabama, Georgia and Florida.


"Today, the D.C. Circuit rejected FERC's excuses for refusing to fully consider the effects of this dirty and dangerous pipeline," said Sierra Club staff attorney Elly Benson.

"Even though this pipeline is intended to deliver fracked gas to Florida power plants, FERC maintained that it could ignore the greenhouse gas pollution from burning the gas. For too long, FERC has abandoned its responsibility to consider the public health and environmental impacts of its actions, including climate change. Today's decision requires FERC to fulfill its duties to the public, rather than merely serve as a rubber stamp for corporate polluters' attempts to construct dangerous and unnecessary fracked gas pipelines."

The judges declared that the environmental impact statement for the Southeast Market Pipelines Project was required to either quantify the impact of GHG resulting from burning the fracked gas transported by the pipeline or explain why it failed to do so.

"Floridians, unlike FERC, have been far too aware of the dangers of this fracked gas project since its inception, and that's why so many of us have spoken out against it," said Sierra Club Florida director Frank Jackalone.

"That fear was manifested when this project began leaking into our communities the other week, and it's why a thorough review of this pipeline will show that it must be—and should have been—rejected."

Since FERC did neither, the commission must go back and conduct a new review of the project.

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