A federal court threw out FERC’s approval of a proposed Missouri gas pipeline Tuesday, finding FERC approved the pipeline over evidence of self-dealing. FERC said it had “no reason to second guess” the company’s business plans to pay its affiliate company, via ratepayers, to build a pipeline despite no new demand, a claim the court ruled was arbitrary and capricious. The court’s order could have major implications for proposed gas pipelines across the country. The D.C. Circuit blasted FERC for its “ostrich-like” failure to adhere to its own policy and examine whether an actual “market need” existed for a Spire Energy pipeline, the only customer for which would have been its affiliate Spire Missouri.
The pipeline, which has been in operation since 2019, now “no longer has a valid certificate of public convenience and necessity,” Jeff Dennis, a former FERC attorney not involved in the case told Politico. Adding, “I don’t think it can keep operating.” The D.C. Circuit, which remanded the issue to FERC for further review, would need to issue further orders to shut down the pipeline, and Spire can appeal the decision. (Politico Pro $, E&E $, S&P Global, E&E $)