Spire Missouri takes legal action to prevent pipeline shut down

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ST. LOUIS – Reading Spire’s application to keep the STL Pipeline open on a temporary, emergency basis could put you to sleep. But the attorney behind the filing says we’ll all rest easier if the application is approved.

“We want to completely take off the table the possibility that there could be gas curtailments in the St. Louis region this coming winter,” said Sean Jamieson, general counsel for the Spire STL Pipeline.

Jamieson filed a temporary emergency certificate application Monday in response to what happened on June 22.

That’s when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “failed to adequately balance public benefits and adverse impacts” in approving the Spire STL Pipeline.”

The court also said FERC failed to prove the pipeline was really needed. The court ruling vacated FERC’s approval of the 65-mile natural gas pipeline, just two years after it was constructed.

“Yesterday’s step was focused on giving FERC an opportunity to take emergency action on a temporary basis to secure the continued operation of the pipeline while it’s conducting its more thorough deliberative process,” Jamieson said.

The Environmental Defense Fund filed a lawsuit challenging the pipeline.

In a statement, it says, “The Court’s decision makes clear that FERC must carefully scrutinize contracts between pipeline developers and affiliated gas utilities. FERC’s failure to perform its statutory duties leads to a host of negative consequences for local communities, ratepayers, and the environment.”

Fox 2 interviewed Spire Missouri President Scott Carter about the situation earlier this month.

“You talk about last winter and winter storm Uri and that was a great example of the value of this pipeline. During that period, our customers saved up to $300 million dollars because we were able to source gas through that infrastructure,” Spire’s Scott Carter said.

“Worst case scenario, as we’ve modeled through it, is the potential in an extreme weather situation of the loss of service to up to 400,000 customers in the St. Louis region.”

Jamieson says if FERC doesn’t OK the temporary emergency certificate, the pipeline could shut down as soon as Aug. 13. He says Spire is prepared to prove why the pipeline should stay open.

“There is now new record evidence for the court to consider in determining whether vacating the certificate, essentially shutting down the pipeline will cause substantial disruption to the region. That record evidence will be provided to the court at the appropriate time,” Jamieson said.

Fox 2 will continue to update you on how your natural gas service and what you pay for it could be impacted.

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