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Congressional Republicans back Spire STL Pipeline extension effort

Missouri’s Republican representation in Congress implored the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Friday to preserve the Spire STL Pipeline through the winter months. 

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer led his GOP colleagues in a letter to FERC Chairman Richard Glick pointing to the dangers of a potential shutdown this winter. The group urged the commission to extend the pipeline’s emergency certificate, set to expire on Dec. 13, through the beginning of April. 

“Shutting down the Spire STL Pipeline during the winter months would have a devastating effect on the local communities, resulting in a spike in the cost of natural gas and widespread service outages,” the letter said. “The threat of forcing Missourians to brave the winter cold without heat is unacceptable. We strongly urge FERC to work with Spire STL on a more viable solution.”

Congresswomen Ann Wagner and Vicky Hartzler signed the letter alongside Congressmen Billy Long, Jason Smith, and Sam Graves. 

Luetkemeyer and Wagner supported Spire’s initial application for an emergency order with a similar letter to Glick sent in August. 

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded FERC’s approval of the pipeline in June and denied a request for a rehearing in September. FERC granted the pipeline a temporary emergency certificate to remain in operation for 90 days, but the order is set to expire next month. 

Spire has pursued legal and regulatory options to keep the pipeline operational, even bringing the case before the U.S. Supreme Court in September. The high court denied Spire’s motion for a stay last month while FERC considers a possible extension of its certificate. 

If taken offline, the project would leave 175,000-400,000 customers in the St. Louis region without service, with a gap lasting up to 100 days before another source is connected, Spire said. Its filings noted the impact of February’s winter storm and the possibility of mass outages if a similar event were to occur while the system remains in flux. 

The remand was the result of a lawsuit leveled by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Both Spire and EDF urged the commission to extend the pipeline’s certificate Thursday in separate press conferences but continued to face barbs over the conflict. 

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