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Fri Dec 14, 2018, 06:50 AM

Federal court throws out permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail [View all]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline faces an escalating legal battle for its existence after a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday blocked a critical crossing of the Appalachian Trail through the Blue Ridge Mountains near Wintergreen Resort.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, based in Charlottesville, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to revoke the project’s certificate of public convenience and necessity. The move came after the 4th Circuit vacated a permit that the U.S. Forest Service issued to allow construction of the pipeline beneath the Appalachian National Scenic Trail between Augusta and Nelson counties.

Without the permit, Dominion Energy and its partners would have to seek the explicit congressional approval they tried to avoid by rerouting the pipeline in 2015 to cross the trail and the adjacent Blue Ridge Parkway on land controlled by the Forest Service in the George Washington National Forest. Originally, it would have crossed the national trail and scenic parkway about 8 miles north near Afton.

“They have bet their whole project on that crossing point and now that’s off the table,” Buppert (SE Law Center Senior Attorney) said.

On the critical issue of crossing the Appalachian Trail, the panel concluded that the Forest Service does not have the power to administer the scenic trail, even though it manages portions of it passing through national forest lands. Rather, the trail is administered by the National Park Service, under the Department of Interior, which cannot permit natural gas pipelines across it under the Minerals Leasing Act.


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Reply Federal court throws out permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail [View all]
underpants Dec 2018 OP
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