Contact 2: Spire awaits regulatory ruling on STL Pipeline as winter nears

Contact 2

ST. LOUIS – Late last week, FOX 2 reported how the Supreme Court rejected Spire’s request to halt a lower court ruling that vacated the company’s permit to operate the STL Pipeline in Missouri. Spire Missouri President Scott Carter said Tuesday he’s confident Spire has proven the necessity of the pipeline but wants customers to be prepared should spire have to close the pipeline this winter. 

“Really, it’s become evident to everyone how important this pipeline is to serve st. Louis and how valuable it is to make sure that we can keep this region safe, warm, and economically viable,” Carter said. 

But the fate of the pipeline and the impact its closure could have on hundreds of thousands of customers remains out of Carter’s hands. 

“There’s been a series of legal filings, we continue to file data requests with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). Continue to go through the process of providing them whatever they need to make sure they understand how important this pipeline is to St. Louis and the region,” Carter said. 

In June, the U.S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated FERC’s 2018 approval of the 65-mile natural gas pipeline, just two years after it was constructed. The court ruled FERC “failed to adequately balance public benefits and adverse impacts. The court also questioned the pipeline’s necessity.” 

In September, FERC issued a 90-day emergency certificate to keep the pipeline open. Spire is still waiting for FERC to decide on an order that would keep the pipeline open through the winter. 

“We have to start making decisions around 25 degrees in most scenarios about customers needing to conserve, and needing to curtail customers that don’t use it for basic, human life preservation. It gets more dramatic as the winter goes on. And then we start having mass outages at a temperature somewhat less than that,” Carter said. 

Carter says those doomsday scenarios can be avoided if the STL Pipeline remains open. 

“We brought the value last winter of saving hundreds of millions of dollars to St. Louis because we were able to get a different supply source. That’s simply not available if the STL Pipeline goes away,” Carter said. 

The big day to watch right now is Dec. 13. That’s when FERC’s temporary emergency certificate is set to expire. If the situation isn’t resolved by then, spire says it is working on a contingency plan.

FOX 2 will course keep you posted on what happens. 

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