Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fed Court OKs Pennsylvania Pipeline

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a last-ditch bid by a coalition of environmental groups to stop the construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains.
A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal energy regulators properly approved the 39-mile MARC 1 pipeline through Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming counties. The decision clears the way for the pipeline to begin moving gas from the Marcellus Shale formation this fall.

"We have contended from the beginning that the MARC I Pipeline would be undertaken with the strongest commitment to environmental and ecological protections," said Bill Moler, an executive with Inergy Midstream LP of Kansas City, Mo.

Some landowners have been fighting the company building the pipeline, contending that Inergy subsidiary Central New York Oil & Gas refused to negotiate in good faith on either monetary compensation or the pipeline's route. The Sierra Club and two local groups challenged a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to authorize construction, saying regulators should have performed a more thorough environmental assessment.
I rather doubt Obama will attempt to overrule this ruling at his level, given the blowback he has received from his overruling Federal regulators (the State Department)  in the Keystone Pipeline instance.  I suspect at this point his environmental base is reasonably secure, and Pennsylvania is a state he must take to win a second term.

The court also slapped the Sierra Club around a bit:
The New York-based appeals court said that FERC's analysis of the pipeline's impact on forests and migratory birds was sufficient, and that regulators "reasonably concluded" that broader impacts caused by natural gas development in the Marcellus should not factor into the analysis of the MARC 1 project.

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