Sandisfield road still a mess more than 2 years after pipeline build (copy)

A Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion project running through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield was completed in 2018. Berkshire Environmental Action Team, along with Food & Water Watch, has gone to court against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The legal action says FERC has failed to fully take into account emissions from projects it approves.

The federal agency that regulates interstate electricity, gas and oil transmission has failed to account for the climate impacts of the projects it approves, climate advocates say.

To address that, Berkshire Environmental Action Team, along with Washington-based nonprofit Food & Water Watch, took the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to court

Oral arguments begin Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Washington at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and will be streamed live on the court’s YouTube page.

Although the FERC will consider greenhouse gases emitted in the construction of a pipeline, it leaves out emissions caused when consumers later burn the gas that runs through the pipeline — as well as how the pipeline might contribute to gas production, BEAT says. BEAT wants the consumption-related “downstream” effects and production-related “upstream” emissions to factor into the FERC’s decision-making processes. 

BEAT’s lawsuit concerns the FERC’s approval of an expansion to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Agawam, a project about which BEAT has long voiced opposition.

In that case, as in many others, the FERC found downstream and upstream effects “not reasonably foreseeable.”

The five-member FERC has had a Republican majority since 2017, although Democrat Richard Glick has dissented in decisions.

Danny Jin, a Report for America corps member, is The Eagle's Statehouse news reporter. He can be reached at djin@berkshireeagle.com, @djinreports on Twitter and 413-496-6221.