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Pipeline Fights May Determine Scope Of Climate Reviews

Publisher: Law360
October 6, 2016

Joe Fagan was quoted in an article, "Pipeline Fights May Determine Scope Of Climate Reviews," in Law360. The article is about how an increase in legal challenges by environmental groups claiming that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must examine the climate change impacts of increased natural gas drilling before approving pipelines could help define the boundaries of a landmark 2004 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limited the scope of federal environmental reviews to actions within an agency's authority. The cases give the D.C. Circuit an opportunity to further clarify the extent of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision in the 2004 case U.S. Department of Transportation v. Public Citizen, in which it held that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wasn't required under NEPA to thoroughly evaluate the environmental impact of Mexican trucks entering the U.S. because the activity was prompted by actions beyond its control. "The Public Citizen case is 12 years old. It wasn't until recently that people have raised this production argument," Fagan said. "If FERC looks at the impact of the production and concludes that this pipeline project is not going to add much incrementally to what's being produced, then I still think the opponents have a high bar to successfully argue in court that FERC didn't fulfill its obligations under NEPA."


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