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By Carmen Ensinger
Spire STL Pipeline has been granted approval to continue to operate through the winter months after Spire appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower-court ruling earlier this year that revoked the pipeline’s authorization to operate.
The 65-mile natural gas pipeline runs from Scott County through Greene and Jersey counties to St. Louis where it delivers natural gas to St. Louis gas customers. The pipeline went online and began operations in 2019.
In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) 2018 approval of the pipeline saying FERC did not sufficiently analyze whether the pipeline was actually needed since only one gas supplier, an affiliate of the line’s operator, committed to use it.
The Federal Court said Spire should never have been operating at that time. Currently, Spire is operating on a temporary authorization from FERC until Dec. 13.
This challenge came from the Environmental Defense Fund at the request of farmers whose farmland the pipeline runs through.
Spire issued a press release on Dec. 3 stating that FERC had issued a new temporary emergency certificate authorizing the continued operation of the pipeline while the commission reviews the pipeline’s long-term approval.
“Spire STL Pipeline filed for this temporary emergency certificate to protect customers and communities in the St. Louis region from potential outages this winter,” Spire STL Pipeline President Scott Smith said. “While at the same time providing FERC with the necessary time to conduct a thorough review of the original certificate on remand from the DC Circuit court.”
Scott said since becoming fully operational in 2019, the STL Pipeline has proven to be a critical source of energy supply for more than 650,000 Missouri homes and businesses, delivering strong performance, reduced emissions and improving natural gas reliability across the St. Louis region.
“As the focus shifts to a permanent certificate to protect St. Louis’ energy supply long-term, we will fully cooperate with the FERC and other stakeholders to ensure they have the information needed to inform their analysis,” Smith said. “We are confident that when people have an opportunity to review the proven benefits of the STL Pipeline and current market conditions they will agree that there is a critical need to keep fully operational infrastructure in service to ensure continued access to reliable, affordable energy for homes and businesses in the greater St. Louis region.”