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Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20116
Nos. 14-1249, (D.C. Cir., 06/28/2016)

The D.C. Circuit dismissed an environmental group's petition challenging FERC's authorization of an increase in production capacity at a liquefied natural gas terminal in Louisiana. The group argued that FERC failed to consider certain environmental consequences of its authorization in violation of NEPA. It was concerned about the potential environmental effects flowing from greater natural gas exports from the terminal. But the FERC orders challenged here do not authorize increased exports from the terminal, the orders only authorize an increase in production capacity at the terminal. The group also argued that FERC should have considered impacts from other proposals to increase natural gas export capacity nationwide. But the court lacks jurisdiction to consider challenges to any projects other than the terminal at issue here. The group failed to raise this issue in its petition for rehearing before FERC. It therefore failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. And as for the merits, FERC provided a reasonable explanation for why it was unnecessary to conduct a cumulative impact analysis: the change did not generate environmental impacts of the sort that NEPA requires it to consider cumulatively.