DC Circuit leans toward FERC in fight over climate reviews

By Niina H. Farah | 05/08/2024 07:56 AM EDT

The three-judge panel seemed ready to uphold a NEPA analysis of planet-warming emissions from a gas expansion project in Indiana and Kentucky.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headquarters in Washington. Francis Chung/POLITICO

A federal appeals court on Tuesday appeared reluctant to require additional review of the climate effects of a gas project in Indiana and Kentucky, in the latest case seeking to broaden how federal energy regulators consider planet-warming emissions.

During oral arguments, three Trump-appointed judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit questioned the challenger of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s certificate for the Henderson County gas expansion project. The project — which includes a new 24-mile pipeline — is designed to feed natural gas to a power plant serving as a backup source for renewable energy built near a retired coal plant in southern Indiana.

“Isn’t this an easy case?” Judge Gregory Katsas asked the environmental group challenging the expansion project.


“Coal is very dirty relative to renewables and natural gas,” he continued. “You are replacing a coal-burning plant with mostly renewables, and you use gas when you need it.”