Court Ruling Gives People Say in FERC Pipeline Decisions

WASHINGTON -- A federal court today struck down a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission practice that gave preliminary approval to pipeline developers, allowing them to begin construction and seize private property through eminent domain, but did not issue a final decision that could be challenged in court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a resounding 10-1 decision striking down the practice called “tolling,” and mandated that FERC rule on rehearing requests within 30 days. NRDC had joined with others to file an amicus brief in the case.

The following is a statement by Gillian Giannetti, an attorney for the Sustainable FERC Project housed at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“FERC had used these interminable delays to make it impossible for landowners or others to challenge its decisions in court before construction began or eminent domain proceedings completed.

“This process gave an unfair advantage to pipeline developers, and it’s welcome news that the D.C. Circuit was so clear in striking it down.

“We look forward to FERC implementing a fair process to allow for adequate judicial review.”

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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