Oklahoma: Cheniere Energy, Midship Pipeline
July 3, 2019: Terry Turpin (Director of OEP) issued a letter that required “Midship to immediately stop work on the remaining segments of the North Spread between MPs 66 and 119” for “fail[ing] to comply with the environmental conditions of the Commission’s August 13, 2018 Order Issuing Certificate for the Project. . . ” (Accession no. 20190703-3057)
On July 10, 2019, Midship stated in response to the July 3 Shutdown Order: “Midship is committed to maintaining environmental compliance throughout the Midship Project.” (Accession no. 20190711-5014)
March 30, 2020: Midship requests to place the project into service and states “Midship is committed to ensuring full restoration of the right of way in accordance with FERC’s Plan and Procedures.” (Accession no. 20200401-5080)
April 14, 2020: Midship submits a supplemental letter relating to their request to place the project into service in which they state “Midship is committed to ensuring proper restoration of all disturbed areas and will continue to monitor restoration until complete and revegetation is successful as defined by the [FERC Plan] and [FERC Procedures]. . . The Midship Project has reached an overall Project restoration of 94% and herein attests that rehabilitation and restoration of the right-of-way and other areas affected by the Midship Project are proceeding satisfactorily.” (Accession no 20200414-5008)
April 15, 2020: Midship submits a second supplemental letter relating to their request to place the project into service in which they state “Midship expects that any areas requiring remediation will be completed by the end of June  in line with the other outstanding restoration activities currently ongoing. Midship is committed to ensuring all areas along the right of way are fully restored in compliance with the FERC Plan and Procedures, including ensuring all areas are properly decompacted.” (Accession no. 20200415-5143)
April 16, 2020: Rich McGuire (Director, Division of Gas – Environment and Engineering in OEP) approved Midship’s March 31, 2020 request to place the project into service. In this Authorization, Mr. McGuire reiterates Midship’s committal to complete remaining clean-up and restoration activities by mid-May 2020. Additionally, Mr. McGuire notes that “Midship has also committed to resolve the remaining trench-line subsidence and outstanding restoration activities delayed due to flooding in lower lying areas by June 30, 2020, specifically on the Sandy Creek Farms property near Mainline Milepost 71. . . ” (Accession no. 20200416-3083)
May 7, 2020: Midship filed its Certification of Compliance in relation to Environmental Condition 11. Midship states “Midship herein confirms that the facilities have been constructed in compliance with all applicable conditions of the Order and continuing activities will be consistent with all applicable conditions.” (Accession no. 20200507-5127)
June 24, 2020: Midship filed a “Project Restoration Update” and stated “Midship completed all initial cleanup and restoration for the Project, with the exception of the area between approximate Mileposts (“MP”) 71.14 and 72.23 (the “Sandy Creek Farm tract”). . . Midship anticipates completing its restoration of the Project in Q3 2020 (weather permitting).” (Accession no 20200624-5161)
August 6, 2020: Midship filed a “Project Restoration Update” and stated “Midship . . . completed restoration activities in this area on August 4, 2020” (describing restoration on Sandy Creek Farms’ tracts)
August 11, 2020: Midship filed their weekly status report and indicated that restoration had been completed project wide (Accession no. 20200811-5140)
November 18, 2020: Rich McGuire issued a letter (regarding Sandy Creek Farms property) requiring Midship to “file a restoration assessment plan [within 7 days] to investigate the extent of any electric line impacts, identify the locations of buried construction debris remaining within the right-of-way, and resolve the current ponding on the right-of-way where Midship has failed to return the preconstruction contours.”
November 25, 2020: Midship filed a response and stated “Midship is committed to restoration of its ROW to pre-construction conditions. To that end, Midship has removed all construction debris of which it is aware from the Project ROW on the Landowner’s property.” (Accession no. 20201125-5105)
November 18, 2020: Rich McGuire issued a letter (regarding Mark Morris’ property) requiring Midship to “file a restoration assessment plan [within 7 days] to investigate the extent of any buried construction debris remaining within the right-of-way, to retrieve construction debris located off right-of-way; to investigate the project sedimentation impacts on Larimare Creek, the wetland, and the flood control reservoir; and to investigate the claim that Midship’s seed mix has resulted in the death of Mr. Morris’ cattle.”
November 25, 2020: Midship filed a response and stated “Midship has removed all construction debris from the Project ROW on the Landowner’s property. . . Midship will continue to communicate with the Landowner and its representatives” (Accession no. 20201125-5099)
December 2, 2020: Midship filed a letter in which it attempts to slander CLC and the landowner’s good names. Additionally, Midship embarrassingly attempts to show good faith by meticulously detailing all the money they have given away to various organizations. Midship states in at least 5 separate paragraphs “Midship is committed to ensuring the full restoration of the right of way . . . “ (Accession no. 20201202-5135)
December 17, 2020: Midship filed a supplemental letter in which they stated “Midship is committed to ensuring restoration of the right of way . . . Midship will ensure restoration activities occur in accordance with FERC’s Plan and the applicable permits and conditions and will continue to communicate with landowners and the FERC and will address restoration issues that might be identified in the future.” (Accession no. 20201217-5027)
February 9, 2021: Midship filed a “Restoration Update for Sandy Creek Farms. . . “ and states “Midship is committed to restoration of its right of way in accordance with the FERC’s Plan and Procedures. Midship will conduct the scope of work above to locate and remove construction debris as discussed with the landowner and FERC. The work is expected to take 7-10 days to complete. . . “ (Accession no. 20210209-5163)
March 1, 2021: Midship files an “Update to the Record Regarding Midship Pipeline Project Restoration Status” in which it again attempts to slander CLC and the landowner’s good names. Additionally, Midship embarrassingly attempts to show good faith by meticulously detailing all the money they have given away to various organizations. Midship states in no less than 10 separate paragraphs “Midship is committed to…” [insert regulatory requirement or common-sense action here] (Accession no. 20201202-5135)
March 18, 2021: The Commission submitted an Order on Environmental Compliance relating to restoration of the Midship Pipeline project. This order directs Midship to take immediate action to remedy unresolved restoration issues on certain landowner tracts within 60 days of the order (May 17, 2021) and strongly recommends that Midship engage the Commission’s Dispute Resolution Service to assist in negotiations between Midship and certain landowners. Midship, once again committed to complying with the March 18, 2021 Order, but has failed with absolutely no consequences. (Accession no. 20210318-3047)
“There must be consequences when the certificate holder fails to adequately fulfill those responsibilities. For instance, we can refer the matter to the Office of Enforcement for civil penalties. We can also consider whether to revoke the certificate of public convenience and necessity itself. In my opinion, both options should be on the table if Midship fails to promptly resolve its outstanding obligations to landowners.” – FERC Chairman Richard Glick
March 29, 2021: Midship formally responds to the March 18 Order on Environmental Compliance and states “. . . Midship will comply with the Commission’s order to remedy outstanding restoration issues within a sixty day period. . . Midship expects to be able complete the restoration activities within the Commission’s 60-day timeframe.” (Accession no. 20210329-5276)
May 5, 2021: The House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties holds a bipartisan hearing titled “Pipelines Over People (Part II): Midship Pipeline’s Disregard for Landowners in Its Pathway”. During this hearing, Christopher A. Smith, Senior Vice President, Public, Government, and Public Affairs for Cheniere Energy (parent company of Midship Pipeline Company LLC) stated “. . .Of the 56 tracts. . . we have already addressed 41 of them.” Mr. Smith also states, “We will be fully complying with the FERC Order and meeting the deadlines set in that Order” and “We fully commit to fully complying with the FERC Order that’s in front of us.”
June 3, 2021: Midship files an “Response to Recent Filings Regarding Restoration Activities” in which it again attempts to slander CLC and the landowner’s good names. Additionally, Midship embarrassingly attempts to show good faith by meticulously detailing all the money they have given away to various organizations. Midship states in no less than 7 separate paragraphs “Midship is committed to…” [proper restoration, good-faith negotiations, community investments, working with stakeholders, complying, etc.] (Accession no. 20210603-5167)
June 7, 2021: Attorney Carolyn Elefant, on behalf of Central Land Consulting and the landowners impacted by the Midship Pipeline, filed a Petition for an Order to Show Cause as to why Midship Pipeline should not be assessed daily civil penalties or face revocation of its certificate for its failure to comply with the terms of its Certificate and the Commission Compliance Order of March 18, 2021. (Accession no. 20210607-5087)
June 10, 2021: Terry Turpin, Director of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects filed a correspondence requiring Midship to file within 7 days a detailed list of all outstanding restoration issues and a proposed schedule for completing the identified restoration work. Mr. Turpin states “Based on our review of the record in this proceeding, it appears that considerable restoration work remains outstanding. . . Additionally, as noted in the Commission’s March 18 Order, failure to expeditiously address the restoration issues could mean that Midship is out of compliance with its Certificate Order. Outstanding compliance issues may be referred to the Commission’s Office of Enforcement for further investigation.” (Accession no. 20210610-3081)
June 17, 2021: Midship responds to Terry Turpin’s June 10 Letter and largely blames their compliance failures on rainfall and weather in general. Midship also states “Midship remains committed to ensuring proper restoration of all the properties impacted by construction of its Project. . . “ (Accession no. 20210617-5107)
June 22, 2021: Midship responds to the Impacted Landowner’s Petition for an Order to Show Cause. Midship, once again, attempts to slander CLC’s name and reiterates their commitment to various things at least seven times. (Accession no. 20210622-5160)
September 27, 2021: Midship filed a “Response. . . Regarding Restoration Activities” and states “Midship remains fully committed to complying with all the conditions in its certificate orders, including environmental compliance and restoration obligations. . . “ (Accession no. 20210927-5180)
On March 25, 2022 the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties issued a press release in which Chairman Raskin stated “It has been nearly two years since the Midship pipeline went into service, yet there continue to be extensive restoration issues on the private property of landowners and farmers along the path of the pipeline,” Chairman Raskin said. “Midship and its parent company, Cheniere Energy, have stubbornly refused to do the right thing by helping private landowners restore their land so they can use it without impediment. This order from FERC is a step in the right direction in confirming that Midship needs to be held responsible for the damage it has caused.”
Illinois / Missouri: Spire STL Pipeline
The Spire STL Pipeline interconnects with the existing Rockies Express Pipeline in Scott County, Illinois. The route includes 65 miles of steel underground pipeline running through Scott, Greene and Jersey counties in Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri.
On January 26, 2017, as amended on April 21, 2017, Spire filed an application with the Commission in Docket No. CP17-40-000 for the Spire STL. The Spire STL includes: approximately 59.2 miles of 24-inch-diameter pipeline in Scott, Greene, and Jersey Counties, Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, Missouri; approximately 6.0 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline (the North County Extension) in St. Louis County, Missouri; and three new meter stations—the Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX) Receipt Station in Scott County, Illinois and the Laclede/Lange Delivery Station and Chain of Rocks Station in St. Louis County, Missouri. The Spire STL extends from an interconnection with REX in Scott County, Illinois, to interconnections with both Spire Missouri Inc. (Spire Missouri) and Enable Mississippi River Transmission, LLC (MRT) in St. Louis County, Missouri.
On March 15, 2017, Spire STL Pipeline LLC and the Illinois Department of Agriculture entered into an Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreement which established that “the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Spire STL Pipeline LLC concur that this AIMA is the complete instrument governing the mitigation of agricultural impacts that may result from the construction of the natural gas pipeline in Scott, Greene, and Jersey Counties within the State of Illinois.”
On September 29, 2017, FERC staff issued an Environmental Assessment (2017 EA or EA) to assess the potential environmental impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the Spire STL. On August 3, 2018, the Commission issued an Order Issuing Certificates (2018 Certificate Order) that approved the Spire STL. Spire’s request to begin construction was approved on November 5, 2018 and construction finished in 2019. The majority of the project was placed into service on November 18, 2019.
On August 3, 2018 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) authorized an Order Issuing Certificate to Spire STL Pipeline, LLC (Spire) for the Spire STL Project (Project). The Project includes the construction, restoration, and operation of a new 65-mile-long interstate natural gas pipeline system in Scott, Greene, and Jersey Counties, Illinois and St. Charles and St. Louis Counties, Missouri. The Project also includes three new aboveground meter and regulation stations, the installation of pig launchers and receivers, and the installation of three mainline valve assemblies and other appurtenant facilities.
On November 5, 2018, FERC issued a notice to proceed with construction for the Spire STL project. Spire began construction shortly thereafter.
On May 31, 2019, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Formally Issued Violations Against Spire and Michels Following Investigation. Violations include Failure to Obtain NPDES Stormwater Permit, Discharge of Contaminants, Offensive Water Conditions, Offensive Discharge, Water Quality Violations, and Effluent Violations.
On November 11, 2019 Carolyn Elefant and CLC filed a letter to FERC stating that Spire’s in-service request should be denied on the basis of the ongoing compliance and environmental issues.
On November 14, 2019, FERC staff granted Spire’s request to place the project into service. In the Order, Rich McGuire states: “Staff has confirmed, based on our November 12-14, 2019 field inspection and Spire’s most recent construction status report filed November 7, 2019, that Spire has adequately stabilized the construction workspaces and that restoration is proceeding satisfactorily.” The Order also states: “We will continue to monitor and inspect the project right-of- way to ensure that Spire follows through with its obligation and to ensure that restoration and revegetation is successful.”
On August 14, 2020, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) filed their report summarizing damages, compliance issues, and AIMA violations that were documented during the June 19, 2020 field inspections with Spire and CLC. Issues are generally consistent with previous CLC filings and allegations and include loss of topsoil mixing of topsoil and subsoil, soil compaction, drainage issues, and rocks mixed into soils. IDOA outlines the mitigative measures that Spire needs to follow in order to become compliant with the AIMA.
On January 19, 2021 The Commission issued an order dismissing the landowners and CLC complaints from 23 different landowners. These complaints claimed that Spire had violated certain environmental conditions of the Commission’s August 3, 2018 order issuing a Certificate. All complaints were dismissed by the Commission without substantiating their dismissals or providing any legitimate criteria. However, the March 18th Compliance Order, among other compliance deficiencies, contradict the Commission's January 19th dismissal of complaints.
On March 18, 2021, the Commission issued an Order on Environmental Compliance (Compliance Order) in response to the findings of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) concerning Spire’s compliance with the Agricultural Impact Mitigation Agreement (AIMA) executed between IDOA and Spire. In this Order, the Commission addressed the IDOA’s findings and directed Spire to take corrective actions on seven specific properties.
On June 28 - July 1, 2021, a representative from FERC’s OEP conducted joint site inspections with CLC, Spire, and the landowners. During these inspections, various issues were identified on nearly every property that was visited. On July 20, 2021, FERC OEP issued a report, in which it directed Spire to conduct the necessary repairs no later than Fall 2021. Another deadline that was utterly ignored by Spire. In fact, of the 32 properties that were inspected Spire only reached out to 5 of the landowners to even obtain access to conduct the repairs. Of those 5, Spire refused to take the landowners’ concerns into account in their restoration plans.
On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion vacating and remanding the Commission’s 2018 Certificate Order that approved the Spire STL.
On September 14, 2021, and December 3, 2021, the Commission issued temporary Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificates) to Spire to continue to operate the facilities constructed under the earlier terms, conditions, and authorizations (September and December Orders) and to continue restoration activities along the project right-of-way.
On November 12, 2021, Spire requested the Commission reissue the Certificates authorizing construction and operation of the Spire STL. On remand, the Commission will evaluate Spire’s pending certificate application and consider whether to grant a Certificate under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to Spire to continue operation of the Spire STL in Illinois and Missouri.
On December 15, 2021, FERC issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Spire STL Pipeline Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Schedule for Environmental Review. The notice explained the NEPA process and opened a formal public scoping period to gather input on the project. The notice was sent to approximately 1,200 parties and was published in the Federal Register on December 23, 2021.10 11 Issuance of the notice opened a 30-day scoping period for filing written comments on Spire STL; however, all in-scope environmental comments received prior to issuance of the draft EIS were considered and addressed. In total, the Commission received approximately 45 correspondences generating more than 170 comments during the scoping period and prior to issuance of the draft EIS.
On May 24th, 2022 FERC Office of Energy Projects, Keith Rodgers, Environmental Project Manager, filed FERCs Restoration Inspection Report. Mr. Rodgers conducted a restoration inspection of the Project on April 26-27, 2022. The purpose of the inspection was to assess current conditions on lands affected by the Project, assess the field conditions of the seven properties addressed in the March 18 Order, and document these conditions in the Commission’s administrative record. Additionally, Mr. Rodgers was instructed to consider landowner concerns, communicate to landowners and other concerned parties that may be present of the purpose of the inspection, and inform them that other Commission staff would be reviewing the inspection’s findings and considering them while addressing previously raised landowner concerns.
On June 1, 2022, Rich McGuire, Director, Division of Gas-Environment & Engineering Office of Energy Projects, filed FERCs Restoration Inspection Report for certain compliance and restoration inspections for the week of May 23rd 2022. Based on the current conditions of the Spire right-of-way of the inspected properties, the inspection confirmed that there are many lingering restoration problem areas across these tracts that require additional restoration repairs.
On June 22, 2022 The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS). Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing or judicial review of the Commission’s decision.
On June 23, 2022 landowners Scott Gerald Turman and Betty Ann Jefferson filed to the Commission a Request for Clarification, or in the Alternative Rehearing of the FERC Restoration Report Dated May 24, 2022
On July 21, 2022 the Commission dismissed the June 23 Rehearing Requests. CLC notified FERC that there were issues in reporting at OEP and provided evidence of the issues and then the Commissioners responded by stating the complaint rehearing is dismissed and that OEP (the subject of the complaint) is handling the issues.
West Virginia/Pennsylvania- Dominion Supply Header
Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc. is proposing to construct and operate approximately 37.5 miles of natural gas pipeline and modify existing compression facilities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The project, referred to as the Supply Header Project (SHP), will provide natural gas supplies to various customers, allowing the transport of natural gas from supply areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to market areas in Virginia and North Carolina.
West Virginia- Mountaineer Xpress Pipeline
Columbia Pipeline’s Mountaineer XPress Project (MXP) includes approximately 165 miles of new pipeline from Marshall County, WV to Wayne County, WV with approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of transportation capacity from existing and future points of receipt along or near CPG’s system. In addition to new pipeline, the $2 billion project also includes constructing three new compressor stations and upgrading three existing stations.
Ohio-NEXUS Gas Transmission Pipeline
Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada, continues to build support and a good head of steam. In July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project, a sure sign that FERC intends to approve it (see Spectra’s NEXUS Pipeline Gets Favorable Draft EIS from FERC). Earlier this week MDN reported the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has granted air emissions permits to NEXUS so they can build five compressor stations (see OH EPA Grants Permits for 5 NEXUS Pipeline Compressor Stations). Even more good news: MDN has exclusively learned that Columbia Gas of Ohio (CGO) has signed a long-term contract to ship 50,000 decatherms per day (50 million cubic feet per day) of natural gas along the NEXUS from two points in Ohio and Pennsylvania to a point in Sandusky County, OH. This new agreement appears to be a shift in strategy by Spectra. How? CGO is a natural gas utility company–delivering gas to end users like residences and businesses. In industry parlance CGO is an LDC, or “local distribution company.” Much of the focus by the media on NEXUS has been that gas flowing through the pipeline will end up exported to Canada.