The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today remanded to FERC the Commission’s November 2019 approval of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and associated pipeline facilities in the Brownsville Channel—the Rio Grande LNG and Texas LNG projects.
In today’s decision, the court agreed with local organizations that the Commission’s analyses of the projects’ climate change and environmental justice community impacts were deficient under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedures Act, and that FERC had not adequately justified its finding that the projects are in the public interest under the Natural Gas Act.
FERC Chairman Richard Glick said today’s court decision reaffirms the urgency behind his push for the Commission to adequately consider the effects of its decisions on climate change and the impacts of building these projects in environmental justice communities.
“As I said in my dissents when FERC approved these projects nearly two years ago, neither the Natural Gas Act nor the National Environmental Policy Act permit FERC to assume away the impacts of building and operating any natural gas facilities,” Chairman Glick said. “This decision clearly demonstrates that the Commission has the authority and obligation to meaningfully analyze and consider the impacts from GHG emissions and impacts to Environmental Justice communities. Moreover, failure to do so puts the Commission’s decisions – and the investments made in reliance on those decisions – in legal peril.”
Chairman Glick reiterated his commitment to revisiting these issues through the Commission’s natural gas pipeline Certificate Policy Statement that is currently pending before the Commission.
“I look forward to continuing to work on these issues with my colleagues with the hope that we can expeditiously update the Commission’s Policy Statement applicable to the consideration of proposed gas infrastructure projects,” he said.