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Murray Energy Corp. v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20069
Nos. No. 09-1207, (D.C. Cir., 01/06/2011)

The D.C. Circuit denied a mining company's petition for review challenging two FERC orders certifying and authorizing the construction of a natural gas pipeline above the mining company's longwall underground coal mine. Longwall mining causes the surface above to subside in a planned, controlled manner as coal seams are extracted. This subsidence places stress on pipelines that cross the mine area, and so the mining company was concerned that too much stress may rupture the proposed pipeline and cause an explosion that would put at risk the safety of nearby persons and property. The company argued that FERC should not have approved construction of the pipeline because the natural gas company failed to develop "in collaboration with" the mining company a construction plan that maintains pipeline integrity and operation without impeding the petitioner's mining activities. But the record reveals numerous communications between the companies between the date FERC issued its initial certificate order and the date the natural gas company filed its construction plan. In addition, FERC's judgment that the natural gas company's proposed measures adequately ensure the pipeline's safety is supported by substantial record evidence, and FERC offered satisfactory explanations for its conclusions. And FERC's decision not to require specific post-construction mitigation procedures was not arbitrary and capricious.