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Public Citizen v. FERC (2022)

Nopetro LNG wants to build a natural gas export facility in Port St. Joe, Florida. If the facility falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the Natural gas Act, Nopetro could not build the facility until FERC completes a review of the environmental impacts of the facility on the local community and gave Nopetro authorization. To avoid that process, Nopetro submitted to FERC a petition for a declaratory order that the proposed export facility does not fall within FERC’s regulatory authority. Public Citizen filed a response to the petition, explaining that FERC does have authority over the facility. FERC, however, issued a declaratory order stating that Nopetro’s facility did not fall within FERC’s regulatory authority and subsequently denied Public Citizen’s rehearing request.

In September 2022, Public Citizen filed a petition in the DC Circuit seeking review of FERC’s declaratory order and rehearing order. The briefing explains that, under the Natural Gas Act, FERC has regulatory authority over natural-gas export facilities “located onshore,” such as the facility at issue in the case. In October 2023, at the Court’s request, Public Citizen filed a short supplemental brief explaining that Nopetro’s statement that it is not currently pursuing the Port St. Joe project does not moot the case. Nonetheless, in a short opinion issued in February 2024, the court dismissed the case as moot, without addressing the merits of the case, in light of Nopetro’s statement that it had no current plans to build the facility.