Recent rulings are offering real hope. These cases are coming to light and not looking good for Pipeline builders. Two cases below from this week alone.
A Federal judge puts a pause on Mountain Valley Pipeline construction plans through Southwest Virginia.
The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Dillon came during a proceeding in which Mountain Valley had sued nearly 300 property owners who refused to surrender their land for the controversial project.
Although the laws of eminent domain give Mountain Valley the power to obtain forced easements for its buried pipeline, Dillon ruled, she rejected the company’s request for immediate access to the parcels.
At a hearing earlier this month, Mountain Valley presented appraisals for just nine of the nearly 300 properties, which Dillon said was insufficient information on which to base an appropriate bond amount.
“Until MVP can provide a more fulsome basis on which the court can assure that just compensation will be paid, the court cannot allow immediate possession at this time to nearly all of the properties,” Dillon wrote in a 52-page decision released shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The judge gave the company seven days to report back to her with a timeline of how long it might take to conduct more appraisals and gather additional information needed to determine a bond.
1/31/2018 – A panel of judges yesterday sided with the Sierra Club, ruling that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to adequately consider downstream greenhouse gas emissions from the Southeast Market Pipelines Project — a network that includes the contentious Sabal Trail pipeline in Florida.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated FERC’s approval of the project, a portion of which is already in service, and ordered the agency to take a harder look.
Experts expect the ruling to have broad impacts on other challenges dealing with climate analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.
“When FERC violates the National Environmental Policy Act by not fully considering the harmful impacts of a pipeline, that pipeline should not be allowed to stay in operation,” Sierra Club attorney Elly Benson told E&E News.
“Vacated FERC’s approval of the project” means it has no license to operate legally.
As these recent rulings show, agencies will lose legal challenges when they don’t appropriately consider climate change impacts. Remember, the ruling states that “the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission failed to adequately consider” – Fill in the blank. Out of 400 pipeline applicants, only 2 were denied.
Keep in mind, the DAPL project faces similar hurdles in pending cases. The water rights were never settled. Tribes have a better chance today to get a louder voice when their hearings come up with nearly identical circumstances.