Riverkeeper's suit against federal pipeline agency is dismissed

A federal judge has dismissed the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s suit alleging that a federal agency responsible for approving large energy projects such as pipelines is biased because it derives its funding from the entities it regulates.

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkin, sitting in the District of Columbia court, ruled on Wednesday that there is no inherent structural bias in the way the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is funded “for the basic reason that approval of pipeline projects does not increase FERC’s budget.”

The PennEast Pipeline would deliver 1 billion cubic feet of Marcellus Shale natural gas from Pennsylvania to a pipeline interconnection near Trenton. (PENNEAST PIPELINE CO.)

The Riverkeeper Network brought the suit in March 2016 as part of its effort to block the $1.2 billion PennEast Pipeline project, which is awaiting approval from the FERC.

The 120-mile pipeline, which is being built by a subsidiary of UGI Corp. of Valley Forge, would deliver Marcellus Shale natural gas from Northeast Pennsylvania to New Jersey.