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Londonderry Neighborhood Coalition v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20363
Nos. Nos. 01-1848, -2147, 273 F.3d 416/(1st Cir., 12/10/2001)

The court holds that it lacks jurisdiction to review a neighborhood group's petition to review a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision that certified a natural gas pipeline replacement project in New Hampshire. The group argued that FERC should conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act for the pipeline replacement and two related projects. FERC did not address the two other projects, and issued an October 27, 2000, order authorizing the replacement. The group and a town independently submitted a motion for rehearing. The group's motion was received one day late, and it moved for an extension. FERC issued a May 3, 2001, order granting the town a rehearing for further consideration and treating the group's motion for extension as a motion for reconsideration. Nevertheless, FERC denied the motion to reconsider its approval of the replacement. The court first holds that it lacks jurisdiction over the group's petition to review because the group's rehearing application was untimely. The Natural Gas Act (NGA) requires a person aggrieved by a FERC order to file a motion for rehearing within 30 days of the order's issuance, and the NGA prohibits any other review if such a motion is not filed. The relevant order for purposes of determining jurisdiction is the October 27, 2000, order. Under NGA §19(a), the relevant order is the order by which the protesting party is aggrieved. The October 27, 2000, order aggrieved the group by authorizing the project without requiring an EIS, and the group did not file for reconsideration within the 30-day time limit. Moreover, the May 3, 2001, order was merely a technical modification that did not aggrieve the group. In addition, the U.S. Post Office's delay in delivering the group's motions for reconsideration does not require the waiver of the NGA's timing requirement.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (18 pp., ELR Order No. L-420).

Counsel for Petitioner
Evan Slavitt
Gadsby & Hannah
225 Franklin St., Boston MA 02110
(617) 345-7000

Counsel for Respondent
Larry D. Gasteiger
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
825 N. Capitol St. NE, Washington DC 20426
(202) 208-0200