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South Coast Air Quality Management Dist. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

Citation: 40 ELR 20239
No. No. 08-72265, (9th Cir., 09/09/2010)

The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review of a FERC order approving the construction of new facilities to allow for the flow of natural gas from Mexico northbound into southern California. FERC's EIS contained a reasonably thorough discussion of the environmental impact of its actions based on information available to it. In addition, FERC's reliance on California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) gas quality standards was not arbitrary and capricious. The CPUC determination was the product of a lengthy decisionmaking process. Accordingly, FERC's reliance on these previous state agency findings was not in any way unreasonable or an abuse of discretion. Last, because the CAA does not require that FERC attempt to "leverage its legal authority to influence or control" state air quality issues, and because there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the eventual burning of gas in the North Baja pipeline system, FERC is not obligated to perform a full conformity determination regarding such burning under the CAA.