Conn. Supreme Court to Hear CEMA’s Natural Gas Case

The Following update is from CEMA, sent on Jan. 14:

In October of 2014, CEMA sued the Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) for their failure to enforce the states’ environmental laws concerning the natural gas expansion and conversion plan.

Our claim is that the Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES), which calls for the construction of 900 miles of new natural gas pipelines and the conversion of 300,000 homes and businesses from heating oil/Bioheat fuel to natural gas, would cause significant environmental damage and therefore requires an environmental impact evaluation (EIE).

In March of last year, CEMA made arguments in State Superior Court that the conversion and expansion proposed in the CES constitutes a series of planned activities that will have a significant adverse impact on the environment.  Because the activities were proposed to be undertaken by DEEP, the activities constitute an “action” under Connecticut law that requires an EIE.

DEEP asked the court to dismiss our case claiming that the CEPA did not apply to the CES, and in July the Court ruled in favor of DEEP’s motion on the grounds that the CES itself does not cause environmental damage.

At that time, CEMA appealed the decision in an effort to get the Appellant Court to focus on the points of law that we expected the lower Court to take up, but did not.

Last month, the Appellant Court convened a pre-argument conference to determine if a settlement could be reached.  While no settlement was reached, the Judge recommended that the case be heard by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Late yesterday, we were notified that after review of our brief to the lower Court, that the Supreme Court will hear our case.  Briefs’ are due on February 16th, with oral arguments to be scheduled sometime after that.

This is a clear victory for our industry – the highest Court in the State has decided that our case merits further review and a final decision.

We will file an injunction to stop all conversion and expansion activity as soon as the Court allows.

While we still have to convince the Supreme Court that we are on the right side of the law, their willingness to hear the case is a step in the right direction. If the Court agrees with us, DEEP will be required to perform and EIE and we will be able to file an injunction to stop all conversion and expansion activity. Once the EIE is complete, the utilities will have to take action to ensure that the environment will not be adversely effected by their activities.

Once we get more information we will share it with you.
Learn more on how you can help fight natural gas expansion click here – Link to Additional Resource


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