FERC Rejects Antis’ Request to “Rehear” Atlantic Sunrise Decision

In March of this year, a variety of anti-fossil fuel Big Green groups filed a rehearing request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking the agency to reconsider its decision to approve the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project (see Antis Attempt to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Pipe by Attacking FERC Order). Atlantic Sunrise is a $3 billion, 198-mile natural gas pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. Before Big Green groups can sue FERC in federal court to try and stop a project, they must first file a request for rehearing. If the antis can get FERC to agree to a re-hearing, it effectively slows, even stops, an active pipeline project. So in an effort to prevent important projects from being slowed or stopped, FERC developed something called a “tolling order” which grants FERC more time to consider whether or not a full rehearing is justified. During the time of the tolling order, work on a pipeline continues. Sometimes the work even gets completed! Which of course drives antis bonkers. By using a tolling order, FERC can drag out the process of deciding to deny a rehearing, avoiding the inevitable frivolous lawsuit that follows. That is, work on important projects actually gets done. Even though a tolling order was in place for the Atlantic Sunrise decision, antis still sued in federal court (several times, for a myriad of reasons), in an attempt to stop Atlantic Sunrise. It hasn’t worked. Construction is going strong. Last week FERC finally responded to the original request for a rehearing lodged back in March. FERC denied the request. When you read through FERC’s response, you’ll find many of the people and groups who requested a rehearing didn’t follow the rules and were simply dismissed as not having standing in the case. For those who do/did have standing, FERC methodically, meticulously, patiently explained why they are full of it…

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