May 21, 2019

Tenth Circuit: Organization Lacks Standing to Object to Establishment of Wind Energy Projects

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Northern Laramie Range Alliance v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

This action grew out of efforts by Wasatch Wind Intermountain, LLC to establish two wind energy projects. Wasatch was able to sell the wind energy by certifying both projects as qualifying facilities. These efforts drew the ire of the Northern Laramie Range Alliance, which objected to Wasatch’s certification. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected the objections, and the Alliance appeals FERC’s decision.

The Tenth Circuit could entertain the appeal only if the Alliance established standing, which required traceability and redressability. For both, the Alliance relied on increases in electricity rates. But the wind projects have not been completed, Wasatch has not found a buyer for the anticipated wind power, and the court did not know whether sales of wind energy would increase or decrease a utility’s costs. Even beyond these uncertainties, electricity rates depend on the actions of third parties, those of the utility and the state regulatory commission. With the multitude of uncertainties surrounding the effect of Wasatch’s certification or decertification on electricity rates, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the Alliance showed neither traceability or redressability.

The court therefore DISMISSED the petition for lack of standing.

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