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New Jersey Conservation Foundation v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20185
Nos. 3:17-cv-11991-FLW-TJB, (D.N.J., 10/29/2018) (Wolfson, J.)

A district court dismissed a constitutional challenge to FERC's issuance of certificates that stemmed from the agency's order granting a company the right to develop a natural gas pipeline. An environmental group argued that the agency's practices of issuing certificates that delegate the power of eminent domain in the absence of adequate public use analyses, and of granting eminent domain prior to receiving environmental impact findings from regulatory agencies, violate the Fifth Amendment. In response, the agency argued that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the Natural Gas Act vests exclusive jurisdiction in the appropriate appellate courts to hear the type of claims asserted. The court found that the Act has broad reach over challenges brought against the agency, including the constitutional claims brought by the group here, and that these claims should be brought before the appellate court. The court therefore granted the agency's motion to dismiss.