Fed Court Forces FERC to Decide on MVP Rehearing, No More Delays

It was a big week for Sierra Clubbers. The radical environmental organization (that irrationally hates all fossil fuels, even fossil fuels they used to love, like natural gas) previously filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for D.C. asking the court to consider whether or not the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should have issued an approval for Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). MVP is a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA–to move Marcellus/Utica gas south. No, the court did not rule FERC was out of order in its decision. Not yet, anyway. This gets in the weeds just a bit, so bear with us. The first step in the process of challenging a pipeline is to ask FERC to rehear their decision. If FERC refuses to rehear (reconsider) the decision, then whoever asked for the rehearing is free to file a lawsuit in the court system to challenge FERC’s decision to approve a project. FERC has 30 days to make a rehearing decision–unless they pull out the “tolling order” card and play it. A tolling order allows FERC more time to decide on rehearing–months, even a year. FERC played the tolling order card here and told the court, “We haven’t decided on rehearing yet, so you need to toss out the radical Sierra Club lawsuit challenging our decision to approve MVP” (MDN condensed version). This week the court said a very loud “NO” to FERC’s request. The court further told FERC to get off its duff and make the rehearing decision within 30 days. In the meantime, the Sierra Club of course wants MVP construction “paused indefinitely” while they continue to tie it up in legal knots. Don’t look for that to happen…

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