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Moreau v. FERC

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

November 10, 1992, Argued ; January 15, 1993, Decided

No. 91-1542


 [*558]  SENTELLE, Circuit Judge: In this case, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC" or "Commission") granted Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company ("TN Gas") a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct a natural gas pipeline from TN Gas's Massachusetts mainline to Providence Gas Company's ("Providence Gas") proposed Rhode Island interconnection. Petitioners, Judith B. Moreau, N. Robert Moreau, Clara Lawrence [**2]   [*559]  and Walter Lawrence, who own property adjacent to the now-completed pipeline, here challenge FERC's grant of the certificate on both substantive and procedural grounds. We dismiss two of petitioners' claims on jurisdictional grounds and one on ripeness grounds. As to the remaining claims, we deny the petition for review and remand the case to FERC for eventual resolution of the unripe claims.

A. Events Preceding FERC's Grant of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity

In November 1986, TN Gas, an interstate pipeline operator, filed an application with FERC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct and operate a natural gas pipeline and a metering station. TN Gas needed the pipeline extension in order to provide gas to Providence Gas, a local distribution company whose projected need for gas would soon exceed its current supply, and could not construct or operate it without a certificate. 15 U.S.C. § 717f(c)(1)(A) (1988). The proposed route for the new pipeline extended north of petitioners' land in Cranston, Rhode Island. 1 FERC published a notice of the TN Gas application in the Federal Register  [**3]  on December 8, 1986. That notice apprised the public that the proposed pipeline would be approximately thirty-six miles long, connecting TN Gas's existing pipeline in "Worcester County, Massachusetts to [Providence Gas's proposed pipeline in] Cranston, Rhode Island." Notice of Application, 51 FR 44,118, 44,120 (1986). It also informed interested parties that an attendant metering station was to be built "at Cranston, Rhode Island" and that they could oppose TN Gas's application by intervening in the FERC proceeding or filing a protest on or before December 23, 1986. Id. at 44,120-21.

On March 13, 1987, FERC issued a "Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment" and a request for comments on the propriety of the proposed route and on the project's environmental impact. FERC mailed the [**4]  notice and request for comments to all parties that had intervened in the proceedings as of that date and to federal, state and local environmental agencies. It also published the notice in the Federal Register. See 52 FR 8,510 (1987). Sometime later that year, TN Gas began considering alternative routes for the pipeline, one of which would traverse petitioners' properties and would require the placement of a metering station in the southeast corner of the Moreau property. In May 1988, TN Gas formally proposed that route to FERC by filing a map specifically identifying petitioners' properties and the route across it.

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982 F.2d 556 *; 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 467 **; 299 U.S. App. D.C. 168; 138 P.U.R.4th 619; 126 Oil & Gas Rep. 194; 23 ELR 20606


Prior History:  [**1]  Petition for Review of an Order of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission


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Energy & Utilities Law, Administrative Proceedings, Judicial Review, General Overview, Rehearings, Natural Gas Industry, Natural Gas Act, Regulators, US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Administrative Law, Reviewability, Ripeness, Hearings & Orders, Judicial Review, Standing, Jurisdiction, Environmental Law, Administrative Proceedings & Litigation, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Case & Controversy Requirements, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Standing, Elements, Preliminary Considerations, Ripeness, The Judiciary, Certificates of Need, Pipelines & Transportation, Pipelines