FERC prevails in court fight over gas project approvals

By Pamela King | 04/01/2024 06:31 AM EDT

The D.C. Circuit found the commission has “broad discretion” to grant permit extensions.

FERC headquarters.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission headquarters in Washington. Francis Chung/E&E News

A federal appeals court Friday refused a bid by environmental groups to force energy regulators to change their process for approving timelines for fossil fuel projects.

In a unanimous opinion written by a Biden-appointed judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted “well within” its authority when it granted extensions for two gas pipeline projects.

“FERC enjoys broad discretion in determining whether a project developer has demonstrated ‘good cause’ for an extension and whether circumstances have changed enough to warrant revisiting the Commission’s findings justifying approval of the project,” wrote Judge Florence Pan.


The decision strikes down a pair of challenges filed by the Sierra Club and Public Citizen against FERC’s finding of “good cause” to give more time to developers of the Northern Access pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York and the Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas terminal in Texas.