On July 31, 2019, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) asked FERC to stop ACP construction because of the July 26 ruling from the 4th Circuit Court that voided the US Fish and Wildlife Service permit.
SELC said, “Allowing continued construction violates the Endangered Species Act’s (‘ESA’s’) prohibition on engaging in actions likely to jeopardize a species. It places the Commission at risk of an unauthorized take of endangered species. It risks substantial environmental harm by constructing facilities that might have to be relocated or abandoned if the pipeline route is modified. And it violates the condition of the Commission’s certificate of public convenience and necessity that Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (‘Atlantic’) obtain all applicable authorizations required under federal law before commencing construction.”
In their letter, SELC explained the five reasons why FERC cannot rely on the ACP’s temporary work stoppage to address the four issues in the paragraph above.
- The Commission may not authorize any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of an endangered species.
- In permitting construction, the Commission risks taking species in violation of the ESA. Section 9 of the ESA similarly prohibits the “take” of endangered and threatened species.
- Allowing construction of pipeline facilities that might have to be relocated or abandoned risks unnecessary environmental harm.
- The Commission cannot permit construction where Atlantic lacks federal authorizations that are mandatory conditions of its certificate.
- Atlantic’s voluntary work stoppage does not satisfy the Commission’s obligation to halt construction in light of these significant issues.