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Dominion Transmission, Inc. v. Summers

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20162
Nos. 13-1019, (D.C. Cir., 07/19/2013)

The D.C. Circuit ordered the Maryland Department of Environment to act on a natural gas company's application to construct a natural gas compressor station in the state. The company applied for and received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC. But before it can begin construction, it must also obtain an air quality permit from Maryland's environmental agency. The agency refused to process the company's permit application based on the company's alleged failure to comply with local zoning and land use requirements, and the company filed the instant action seeking expedited review by the courts. The court rejected the company's argument that the Natural Gas Act preempts a state law requirement that a proposed compressor station be in compliance with local law. The requirements has been incorporated into Maryland's SIP, and Congress expressly saved states' CAA powers from preemption when it enacted the NGA. Nevertheless, the state law requirement expressly permits an applicant to avoid involvement by the local zoning authority altogether if it provides documentation that the source meets all applicable zoning and land use requirements. The state agency's purported requirement of a written statement of compliance from the local zoning authority was therefore contrary to law. On remand, the Maryland Department of Environment must either identify one or more applicable zoning or land use requirements with which the company has not demonstrated compliance, or it must process the company's application for an air quality permit.