U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Challenge to City Ordinance Regulating Natural Gas Pipelines

Texas Midstream Gulf Servs. LLC v. Grand Prairie, No. 08-11200, involved an action seeking a declaration that a city ordinance regulating natural gas pipelines was preempted by the Pipeline Safety Act (PSA), 49 U.S.C. sections 60101-60137, and that the ordinance impinged on plaintiff's state-conferred eminent domain powers.  The court of appeals partially affirmed the district court's partial grant of injunctive relief for plaintiff, holding that 1) the city's zoning power was not subservient to plaintiff's eminent domain power; 2) the PSA did not preempt the setback requirement of the ordinance; and 3) the ordinance's preempted security fence requirement was severable from the remainder of the ordinance.

As the court wrote:  "This appeal concerns municipal regulation of the siting, construction, and operation of a natural gas compressor station. We weigh jurisdictional and jurisprudential concerns before addressing the merits, which implicate federalism and the interplay between state and local authority under Texas law. We affirm the judgment of the district court denying injunctive relief in part and granting relief in part."

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