D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s Approval of Adelphia Pipeline Acquisition Under NEPA

September 2022

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 2, Number 11

On August 2, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC or “Commission”) approval of the acquisition of a natural gas pipeline located in Pennsylvania and Delaware.  In Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC, the Court dismissed several claims brought by petitioners arguing that the environmental review performed for the project was inadequate under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The dismissed challenges included claims that the analysis of upstream, downstream and greenhouse gas impacts were deficient.


Adelphia Gateway, LLC (Adelphia) applied to FERC for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to acquire an existing natural gas pipeline system located in Pennsylvania and Delaware.  In addition, it sought FERC authorization to construct two lateral pipeline segments, connected to the existing pipeline and to construct facilities necessary to operate the pipeline, including a compressor station.  FERC prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze the pipeline acquisition’s environmental effects under NEPA, including the effects of the project on greenhouse gases, air quality, noise and residential properties near the project.  The EA found that the project would lead to global increases in greenhouse gases but declined to calculate upstream or downstream greenhouse gas emissions because it found that any impacts were not reasonably foreseeable.  Based on the EA conclusion that the project would have no significant impact on the environment, FERC approved the project.

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