Litigation: Leidy Southeast Expansion Pipeline
On March 10, 2015 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) initiated a lawsuit under the All Writs Act against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging FERC’s approval of Transcontinental’s (Transco) Leidy Southeast Expansion Project, and requesting a stay of any construction activity.
On March 9, 2015 FERC issued a Notice to Proceed to Transco to begin tree felling construction activity for the Project, however, the Project was not available for judicial review via traditional means under the Natural Gas Act because FERC had yet to rule on DRN’s administrative rehearing request. Therefore, while DRN waited for FERC to respond to its requests for a rehearing, and before DRN could file a petition with a court for review of the FERC approval under the Natural Gas Act, FERC authorized Transco to irreparably and irreversibly destroy over 140 forested areas adjacent to valuable streams and wetland resources damaging the ecological functions provided by those forested areas, such as erosion control, temperature regulation, flood control, and habitat provision. FERC’s issuance of the Notice to Proceed therefore forced DRN to file its lawsuit under the All Writs Act, arguing that by allowing construction activity to move forward while failing to rule on DRN’s rehearing request FERC constructively denied DRN’s rehearing request and contravened Congress’s intent to provide due process rights for aggrieved parties. Unfortunately our request was not granted and we were forced to wait 15 months before FERC responded to our request and we secured the right, under the law, to go to court to challenge FERC's illegal behavior, which we did on March 8, 2016.
March 8th, 2016 the Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging its approval of the Leidy Southeast Expansion Project pipeline. The case was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and alleges that FERC violated the National Environmental Policy Act by engaging in illegal ‘segmentation’ in its decision-making process, and by issuing its approval of the pipeline before the State of Pennsylvania had given Clean Water Act approval for the project.