WRL Updates 2018

Following are all of the e-mail updates we have sent to date in 2018 about the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline; they appear here in reverse chronological order. (If a link is not live, you can copy it and paste it into your browser.)


May 9, 2018

Dear all,

As many of you will have noted, it has been more than six months since oral arguments were heard in DC last October in regard to the federal appeal of the certificate issued that allowed the building of the AIM (including the West Roxbury Lateral) pipeline project. As I reported at the time, typically a decision is handed down in four to six months subsequent to oral arguments. I have been in touch a few times in recent months with the DC attorney, Carolyn Elefant, who is representing us in one of the three appeals (the other two being made by the so-called Boston Delegation and the Town of Dedham). She is very familiar with the appellate process in regard to FERC, and in the more than 30 appeals she has filed, this is by far the longest she has had to wait for a decision. Since our oral arguments, the Court has ruled on cases that were argued well after ours, in spite of the fact that typically they rule on cases in chronological order. 

Several possibilities exist as reasons for the delay in our case. First and foremost, we think that the issue of whether the City of Boston has legal authority to bring the action could be taking the extra time. You may recall that back in October when I reported on the oral arguments, this issue of “standing” and whether Mayor Walsh could represent the people of Boston was the main topic of discussion by the three judges with the City’s attorney. Because the issue of whether the mayor has standing involves an interpretation of state law, this could be taking extra time, according to Ms. Elefant.
Additionally, because there were three petitioners who filed two separate briefs (one being the Boston Delegation’s and the other being the Town of Dedham together with the Elefant Coalition), the court has an unusual number of issues to address. 
It is Ms. Elefant’s opinion that if the court was going to summarily affirm FERC, the case would not be taking this long. If it is not Boston’s standing issue that is slowing the decision, it is possible that the judges are in conflict over whether to affirm the FERC order and haven’t been able to resolve it.
We continue to hope for a decision any day. However, in a worst case scenario, the Court goes on recess the middle of this month, and apparently they typically churn out many rulings during that recess and prior to August, when the new class of law clerks arrives.
Obviously I will let you know as soon as a decision is handed down.
Rickie Harvey
Note: Our elected officials and their aides have been copied on this e-mail, as with all group e-mails I send regarding the WRL.
Summary of WR Lateral, maps, links, and media coverage: WestRoxburySavesEnergy.org
Twitter: #PipelineWRox,  #RejectSpectraPipeline, #StopSpectra, #FightTheFlow