WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts has rejected a Supreme Court appeal by the St. Louis-based natural gas company Spire Inc. to allow it to keep operating a pipeline through Illinois and Missouri. Roberts did not comment Friday in refusing to temporarily pause a lower court order affecting the operation of the Spire STL Pipeline. The company could be forced to stop operating the pipeline on Dec. 13 unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission extends an emergency order granted in September. Spire’s court filing said homes and businesses could lose natural-gas service without the high court’s intervention. But the environmental group opposing Spire has said the company’s concerns are overblown because FERC is likely to allow the pipeline to continue to operate through the winter.