On Wednesday, September 6, 2017, the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, on behalf of Bold Alliance and more than 55 landowners filed this historic lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline challenging the constitutionality of the use of eminent domain to take property for FERC-approved pipelines. Although eminent domain has long been used by public utilities, changes in the gas industry in the form of deregulation and overseas export opportunities call into question whether use of eminent domain is constitutional when pipelines no longer serve a public use. News coverage of the lawsuit is available here. For additional information, contact Carolyn Elefant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massachusetts newspaper the Recorder, ran an article Sunday, March 27th, 2016 mentioning STOP and their opposition to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline project. Some key excerpts from the article:
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is asking for assurances from Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. as it considers allowing the company to begin clearing trees for the Connecticut Expansion Project.”
“Meanwhile a group of project opponents in the Berkshire County town of Sandisfield, which would be affected by the pipeline looping project, have formally asked FERC to deny TGP’s request to begin cutting, saying it hasn’t obtained a permit required under the federal Clean Waters [sic] Act.”
“Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline… in its filing with [FERC] on Friday, writes, ‘At the outset, Tennessee admits in its request that it has not, in fact, obtained all of the federal authorizations which it requires in order to proceed. Despite this, it attempts to gloss over its lack of authorization by focusing on the authorizations it has received. For example, Tennessee states in its Request that it will not require a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 … for its proposed tree clearing activities. Under normal circumstances, tree clearing with hand-held equipment during March and April might not “rut soil or cause damage to the root systems.” However, this premise assumes that the ground will be frozen during the times allotted. Tennessee ignores the fact that this past winter has been anything but “usual.”’
LOCE attorney Alexander English was recently quoted in two New England newspapers, The Berkshire Eagle and the New Haven Register regarding the recent filing of Notice of Intent to sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Tennessee Gas on behalf of The Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline (STOP).
Attorney English is quoted in the following excerpt from the article:
“The Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline (STOP), has filed a ‘notice of intent’ to [FERC] and [Tennessee Gas Pipeline, LLC], a first step toward lawsuits to be filed at U.S. District Court in Springfield, according to Washington, D.C., attorney Alexander English….
‘In our view, if they undertake any work, including placement of construction equipment, without getting certification from Mass DEP under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, they would be acting illegally,’ English said.”
LOCE Files Notice of Intent To Bring Suit Against FERC For Violations of the Clean Water Act on Behalf of STOP
On March 21, 2016, the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, PLLC, released a notice of intent to sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) for violations of the Clean Water Act on behalf of the firm’s client, Sandisfield Taxpayers Opposing the Pipeline (STOP). A similar notice was filed against Tennessee Gas Pipeline. The notice of intent alleges that the Commission violated the Clean Water Act by issuing a certificate for the Connecticut Expansion Project No. 14-529 prior to obtaining a grant or waiver of a water quality certification from the state of Massachusetts as required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Although FERC routinely issues certificates conditioned on future compliance with Section 401, this lawsuit represents the first time that FERC’s action has been directly challenged through the citizens’ suit provisions of the Clean Water Act rather than through under the Natural Gas Act. To learn more about the action, please view the press release here.
The firm just released our 2016 Appellate Round-Up – the flagship feature of our newsletter for the past five years. Essentially, we summarize every federal circuit court decision involving FERC and provide the stats on FERC’s rate of reversal before the court (spoiler: it’s not very high). To view the 2016 Appellate Round-Up (and other firm news), visit here. To view past issues, visit here and to subscribe, visit here.