On February 28, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a request by three environmental groups to stay orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) approving the construction of a 39-mile natural gas pipeline in northeast Pennsylvania that will transport natural gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale to a larger interstate pipeline. The environmental groups initially had challenged approval of the pipeline before FERC, contending that the agency’s environmental assessment failed to consider alleged environmental harms both from additional Marcellus Shale drilling that the pipeline would facilitate and from other ecological impacts construction of the pipeline might cause. FERC rejected those challenges in approving the pipeline on November 14, 2011, and denied the environmental groups’ request for rehearing on February 13, 2012.
On February 14, the groups then petitioned the Second Circuit to review the order and enter a stay of FERC’s approval on the basis that Central New York Oil & Gas Co., Ltd. (the builder of the pipeline) intended to construct the pipeline quickly and have it operational by this summer. The Second Circuit heard oral argument on the stay request on February 28 and entered an order denying the request later that day. See a copy of the Court’s order denying the request for a stay pending appeal.