Federal court throws out pipeline’s Forest Service approval

Fourth Circuit Court rules Forest Service cannot permit pipeline crossing of Appalachian Trail

Pipeline developers cannot cross the Appalachian Trail when building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to the latest court ruling.

Today the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests and part of the Appalachian Trail.  

The George Washington National Forest, Monongahela National Forest and the Appalachian Trail are national treasures,” said SELC Attorney Patrick Hunter. “The administration was far too eager to trade them away for a pipeline conceived to deliver profit to its developers, not gas to consumers. This pipeline is unnecessary and asking natural gas customers to pay developers to blast this boondoggle through our public lands is only adding insult to injury.”

SELC is reviewing the opinion and its implications for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project

Last week, pipeline developers, led by Dominion Energy, announced they were stopping all pipeline work while addressing numerous issues with the project’s various permits. On Friday, the Fourth Circuit put the pipeline’s permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which SELC had challenged, on hold.

On the same day, Virginia officials on the State Corporation Commission, for the first time, rejected Dominion’s longterm energy plan, which is submitted annually to the state for review. The rejection followed years of testimony from SELC attorneys pointing out the utility’s habit of inflating energy projections. Over-estimated energy demand provides Dominion justification for constructing unneeded infrastructure like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

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