US appeals court allows oil pipeline in New York and Pennsylvania to proceed despite environmental concerns News
US appeals court allows oil pipeline in New York and Pennsylvania to proceed despite environmental concerns

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled on Friday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adequately evaluated emission impacts when it approved the expansion of a gas pipeline operated by the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. in Pennsylvania and New York, allowing the project to move forward.

The environmental group Food & Water Watch argued that the FERC did not properly assess the pipeline’s impact on ozone pollution. The court disagreed on the grounds that while FERC admitted that burning natural gas can release chemicals that form ozone, predicting exact ozone levels is tough due to various factors like weather and existing pollution. The court found this explanation reasonable, noting that complex modeling would still leave many uncertainties.

Food & Water Watch also claimed that FERC failed to consider New York state laws by not adequately addressing the pipeline’s greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental group argued that the analysis provided by the FERC was insufficient and did not fully capture the potential long-term environmental impact of the project, noting that the FERC’s approach was too simplistic and failed to consider the broader implications of increased greenhouse gas emissions on climate change.

In response, the court noted that the FERC had calculated the emissions generated by the pipeline and discussed their significance in its environmental assessment. The FERC provided detailed estimates of the emissions and analyzed their potential impact, ensuring they met the legal requirements. The court found that this level of analysis was sufficient, as the FERC had addressed the key concerns raised by the project’s greenhouse gas emissions and complied with the necessary regulatory standards.

This is not the first legal challenge Kinder Morgan has encountered regarding the expansion of its existing pipelines. Earlier this year, the court upheld a similar case involving a natural gas pipeline system in Louisiana and Mississippi, dismissing environmentalists’ claims of inadequate assessment of climate impacts.