The State & Environmental Impact Center

Twelve AGs Filed Amicus Brief in Lawsuit Challenging FERC’s Use of Tolling Orders in Pipeline Approvals

January 17, 2020
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh led a coalition of 12 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC, a rehearing en banc by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit of a landowner and environmental group challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) issuance of a certificate authorizing the construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline. The case involves FERC’s use of tolling orders to grant itself additional time to act requests for rehearing, while pipeline companies are allowed exercise eminent domain and commence construction on private property. In their amicus brief, the attorneys general stated that FERC’s practice of issuing so-called tolling orders “offends fundamental principles of fairness” and “contravenes public policy,” emphasized the impacts on landowners in their states in prior pipeline construction cases, and highlighted the associated due process concerns. The attorneys general also urged the court to consider FERC’s use of tolling orders in electricity cases that carry implications for state sovereignty principles.