Conservation groups file challenge to National Forest Service’s hasty pipeline decision

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will cross several sensitive areas along its 600-mile path, including the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. (© Brent McGuirt)

This week SELC and The Sierra Club, on behalf of a coalition of conservation groups, filed suit in federal court against the National Forest Service over approvals recently issued to developers of the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

“Political pressure forced approval of this boondoggle through steep slopes and landslide-prone areas in a treasured national forest,” said Senior Attorney D.J. Gerken. “Forest Service staff warned of the impacts this project would have, but the agency ignored them and granted special exceptions to let these pipeline developers get their way.”

The Forest Service repeatedly requested additional information from developers yet moved ahead and approved this risky project with its questions unanswered. The pipeline is slated to cut through 20 miles of steep, rugged mountainous regions of national forest land in West Virginia and Virginia. Much of this land provides habitat for rare and endangered species and is land that is regularly used by hikers and campers.

Pipeline developers have yet to receive all the permits needed for this project, including a water certification from Virginia meant to ensure protection of sensitive waterways. The Forest Service should not allow any work to move forward on national forest lands until this project is fully permitted.

Today’s petition was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Highlanders For Responsible Development, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and Wild Virginia.

More News

Virginia governor proposes $733 million in new funds for environment

Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposed a budget that includes $733 million in new funding for the environment, clean energy, and environ...

“No action” at Superfund site not acceptable

A community in eastern North Carolina is taking action after news that a Superfund site in their neighborhood will be left as-is. “It is imperat...

Proposed federal energy rollbacks threaten renewable energy growth

This week, SELC filed comments on behalf of eighteen organizations across the Southeast opposing proposed rollbacks to clean energy policies at t...

TVA to terminate its popular payback program for going solar

You know the deal. When a household with rooftop solar panels produces more energy than it can use, it sends the excess back to the grid, and man...

N.C. Governor urges federal action for wild wolves

As federal officials abandon their obligations to wild red wolves, North Carolina’s governor weighed in this week with a letter to key officials...

Attorney Hannah Coman appointed to Virginia board on clean energy

Attorney Hannah Coman was studying political science at North Carolina’s Davidson College when she first started thinking about climate change, a...

More Stories