Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Appeals court denies rehearing for ruling that blocked Atlantic Coast Pipeline; foes say 'back to the drawing board'

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a major blow to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Monday when it refused to reconsider a ruling that threw out a permit for the pipeline to cross two national forests and the Appalachian Trail, Denise Lavoie reports for The Associated Press. The 605-mile pipeline would begin in West Virginia and run through North Carolina and Virginia.

In December a three-judge panel of the court said the U.S. Forest Service lacked authority to allow the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail and "also said the agency 'abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources' when it approved the pipeline crossing the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, and a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trail," Lavoie reports.

Lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy and the Forest Service then requested a full-court rehearing, but the court has refused. The Southern Environmental Law Center and the Sierra Club, which filed the lawsuit, said in a statement that the ruling sends the pipeline "back to the drawing board," Lavoie reports.

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