News | May 15, 2018

Court finds key permit needed for pipeline construction invalid

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an order in a case argued by SELC on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and Sierra Club. The three-judge panel found the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s limit on take of endangered species, or Incidental Take Statement, which is required to certify the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, did not satisfy legal standards. A decision will follow. The USFWS’s take statement is a necessary approval for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authorization to construct the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Like other agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service rushed this pipeline approval through under intense political pressure to meet developers’ timelines. We are grateful this decision upholds the protection of endangered species as the law requires. It’s foolish and shortsighted to risk losing rare species for an unnecessary and costly pipeline boondoggle.

D.J. Gerken, managing attorney in SELC’s Asheville office