ST. LOUIS – A pipeline that provides natural gas service to as many as 400,000 people in the metro St. Louis area will remain in operation for now.
“Ninety days does not get us through winter. It certainly doesn’t get us through the coldest months of winter,” Spire STL Pipeline attorney Sean Jamieson said.
Jamieson says the temporary certificate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Tuesday is an important first step to keeping the pipeline open for good.
“They looked at and considered the Missouri Public Service Commission’s independent investigation that validated the assertions that there is a real risk of gas outages this coming winter without STL Pipeline.” Added Jamieson.
FERC’s temporary certificate authorization comes one week after a federal appeals court denied a petition from Spire. In the petition, Spire asked the court to reconsider its June ruling.
That ruling 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” in approving the pipeline. The court also questioned the pipeline’s necessity.
Sean Jamieson says the pipeline proved its purpose last winter when Spire STL customers were protected from outages while others across the country fell victim to failed infrastructure.
“Now we don’t just have an assertion or argument that this is what’s going to happen, we actually have evidence of what happened. That’s the difference between where we are today in 2021 than where we were in 2018.” Said Jamieson.
The Environmental Defense Fund filed the lawsuit challenging the pipeline.
In a statement, it reacted to FERC’s temporary certificate saying in part: “As FERC considers appropriate next steps on Spire’s application, it should craft a remedy that fulfills the need for reliable service while safeguarding other public interests, including those harmed by the construction and operation of the pipeline.”
Nov 1 marks the start of what Spire calls its winter heating season. And this season, the future of fueling its customers’ furnaces takes on added importance.
“Why I’m so passionate about this is because there are no viable replacements as I sit here today to supply this region adequately without the Spire STL Pipeline,” Jamieson said.