Missouri Utility warns of blackouts if President Biden shuts down STL pipeline

Missouri-based power company Spire Energy warned customers on Wednesday that a forthcoming Biden administration decision on a pipeline may lead to widespread blackouts. The company serves 1.7 million homes throughout Missouri, Alabama, and Mississippi.

A federal review of the STL Pipeline could potentially jeopardize the energy supply, according to Spire Energy. During a November 18 hearing, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will discuss revoking the pipeline’s permit.

In an email to customers, Spire President Scott Carter wrote, “The STL Pipeline was built to support your energy needs, along with those of more than 650,000 homes and businesses in the St. Louis region. Since 2019, this safe, fully operational pipeline has been bringing even more reliable and affordable natural gas to our community.” The email continued, “Unfortunately, while the STL Pipeline continues to operate today, it is now in jeopardy.”

The pipeline travels from Illinois to Missouri and received FERC approval in 2018, beginning its service to customers in 2019. Not long after the pipeline came online, the FERC was sued by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) over its approval. A federal appellate court ruled in favor of the EDF in June, saying FERC did not thoroughly analyze the pipeline’s permit request in years prior, which prompted the current review. 

The EDF has accused Spire of fear-mongering to its customers by warning of blackouts. Carter, however, denied those accusations in a press conference on Thursday. “Our commitment has been to remain informative. We’ve continued to highlight the importance of the pipeline,” he said.

He added in an email to media, “We don’t want to alarm customers, but we do want to be transparent with everyone about the energy they rely on. Customers need to know that without the STL Pipeline in service during winter weather, the possibility of service disruptions and outages throughout the St. Louis area is very real.”

President Joe Biden and his administration have taken a hard stance against fossil fuels, revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit, ditching an oil drilling project in Alaska, and reviewing the possibility of shutting down a Michigan pipeline that supplies a large portion of the Midwest.




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