Appeals Court Upholds Iroquois Pipeline Approval
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal appeals court said Tuesday that the Iroquois gas pipeline linking Canada to the northeastern United States, had been properly approved by U.S. authorities last year.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected challenges by environmentalists, neighbors of the 370-mile pipeline and competitors from the U.S. natural gas industry. The three-judge panel said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved the pipeline, was impartial and set up a fair rate structure.
Barring an appeal to the Supreme Court, the decision appears to close the book on what became the most hotly contested and closely reviewed pipeline proposal in FERC’s history.
For competitors, the key issue was whether Canada’s gas price structures would enable Iroquois to undersell domestic producers. Environmentalists claimed the pipeline would disrupt natural habitats and woodlands and would aggravate pollution at points where the pipeline crossed rivers.
Arguments about the physical impact of the pipeline were rendered moot by its completion late last year. The pipeline went into full operation Jan. 25.
″The ruling is 100 percent in favor of us,″ said Andrea Mindell, spokeswoman for the Iroquois Gas Transmission System in Shelton, Conn. ″We are extremely pleased. Our opponents had no strong case against us.″