A new lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that claims the Department of Energy (DOE) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and failed to comply with Section 1221 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPA) in designating National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors (NIETCs) in the U.S. Southwest and Mid-Atlantic states, according to the Wilderness Society, a Washington, D.C.-based land advocacy group.
‘This lawsuit is not about stopping transmission projects,’ says Anjali Jaiswal, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘We recognize the need for increased investment in transmission solutions across the country, but we need to ensure that these transmission corridor designations take place in compliance with federal environmental law.’
The DOE denied requests for rehearing of the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest NIETCs and affirmed its designations in early March.
In January, 11 regional and national environmental organizations said they would file suit against the DOE over its final NIETC designations. Joining the lawsuit are Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Environmental Advocates of New York, Clean Air Council, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, Civil War Preservation Trust, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Brandywine Conservancy and Natural Lands Trust.