On December 13, 2018, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Monongahela National Forest, George Washington National Forest, and Appalachian Trail.
The case was argued before the Court on September 28, 2018, with the Southern Environmental Law Canter and Appalachian Mountain Advocates representing the plaintiffs.
The Court found that the Forest Service “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources,” and noted the agency’s “serious environmental concerns that were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines.” The opinion says the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act, National Forest Management Act, and did not have authority under the Mineral Leasing Act to grant a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trail.
Read the Court’s opinion here.
See news coverage from Virginia Mercury here.
See news coverage from the Washington Post here.
See news coverage from the Richmond Times-Dispatch here.
Be aware: The Richmond Times-Dispatch points out that, “Dominion’s allies in Congress reportedly are considering an amendment to a pending appropriations bill for the Department of Interior that would permit the crossing of the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway near Reed’s Gap.” Additional information here. Contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to oppose any legislative amendment that would give the National Park Service unchecked authority to allow pipeline construction.