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Northern Natural Gas Co. v. Iowa Utils. Bd.

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20071
Nos. No. 03-1889, (8th Cir., 08/11/2004)

The Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that federal law preempts conflicting state pipeline regulations and, thus, governs the upgrade of a natural gas pipeline in Iowa. Iowa Code Chapter 479A and its implementing provisions, which provide for various pipeline reporting and inspection requirements and require the restoration of agricultural land following pipeline work, regulate in a field that is occupied by federal law and thus are preempted by the Natural Gas Association (NGA). The NGA specifically provides that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision (FERC) will oversee the construction and maintenance of natural gas pipelines through the issuance of certificates of public convenience and necessity. Further, many of FERC's regulations relate to environmental concerns, including soil preservation and land restoration—the very areas Iowa wishes to regulate.