D.C. Circuit Denies Sierra Club’s Petition Challenging DOE’s Orders Authorizing Exports for the Freeport LNG Terminal

On August 15, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) denied Sierra Club's petition challenging the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) decision to authorize the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Freeport LNG Terminal (Freeport) in Texas.

The D.C. Circuit's opinion in Sierra Club v. Department of Energy, No. 15-1489 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 15, 2017) (Sierra Club) resolves important questions regarding the level of analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to adequately evaluate the indirect and cumulative effects of DOE decisions to authorize LNG exports. D.C. Circuit Opinion in Sierra Club v. DOE — particularly effects related to induced gas production and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The decision is important for LNG developers because the D.C. Circuit affirmed DOE's approach to considering such effects, which will provide more certainty for LNG projects undergoing NEPA review. It also sets potential precedent for upcoming cases challenging other export approvals the D.C. Circuit is slated to hear this year.

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