Federal regulators can’t dawdle on pipeline appeals and keep challengers out of court in the process, the D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday in a landmark decision for energy law.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission violated the law by routinely issuing “tolling orders” that prevent pipeline opponents from seeking judicial review while an agency petition process drags on and industrial development moves forward, the court said.
The ruling is a major victory for landowners, environmentalists, and other pipeline critics who can now get to court faster to challenge projects, and may have a better shot at blocking construction.
“Now, the government must stop allowing construction of pipelines while keeping the courthouse doors closed to those who are directly affected by them,” Kelly Martin, head of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, said in a statement.
FERC’s tolling order practice…