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Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20119
Nos. 17-5084, (D.C. Cir., 07/10/2018)

The D.C. Circuit upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by an environmental group challenging FERC's funding structure. The group argued that the agency's funding structure created structural bias by incentivizing the agency to approve pipelines in order to seek larger appropriations from Congress. The lower court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim, finding that the group had failed to identify any liberty or property interest protected by the Due Process Clause. The appellate court agreed, concluding that even if a protected liberty or property interest had been implicated, the agency is not a structurally biased adjudicator. The adjudicator does not control the funds collected because the agency's fees and charges are credited to the general Treasury fund, and the agency's budget is set independently by Congress. Because the group's due process claims lacked merit, the appellate court affirmed the district court's dismissal.