Notice & Comment

Energy: D.C. Circuit Decision in Washington Gas Light Co. v. FERC, by Jonathan Rusch

On April 27, in Washington Gas Light Company v. FERC, No. 09-1100, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a petition by Washington Gas Light Company for review of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision approving a construction project (known as “the Expansion”) that would allow two companies that receive and transmit natural gas, respectively, to import greater quantities of liquefied natural gas and distribute it in gaseous form. Although FERC had originally approved the project in 2006, the D.C. Circuit decided, in Washington Gas Light Co. v. FERC, 532 F.3d 928 (D.C. Cir. 2008), that FERC had failed to carry out its obligation, under scetions 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act, “of ensuring the Expansion can go forward consistent with the public interest.” In that prior decision, the court issued a remand order Our remand order directed FERC to “more fully address whether the Expansion can go forward without causing unsafe leakage.”

On remand, the court explained, “FERC explained that the Expansion could not be said to cause any unsafe leakage if the amount of regasified liquefied natural gas that could be delivered post-Expansion was identical to the amount that could be delivered pre-Expansion.” The court found that FERC’s imposition of a post-Expansion limit that matches the pre-Expansion limit “has satisfactorily ensured that the Expansion will not result in an increased risk of unsafe natural gas leakage.”

This post was originally published on the legacy ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Notice and Comment blog, which merged with the Yale Journal on Regulation Notice and Comment blog in 2015.

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