The US Forest Service had originally granted Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC a permit to cross the Appalachian Trail, but the permit was challenged by the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and others. The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with those challengers and vacated that permit in August 2018.
The Court of Appeals’ decision was itself appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the US Forest Service and pipeline developers Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, in a case titled “United States Forest Service, et al., Petitioners, v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al.” Defendants – opposing the pipeline – included the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, the Sierra Club, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Shenandoah Valley Network and the Virginia Wilderness Committee.
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the pipeline.
The Southern Environmental Law Center participated in the pleadings before the Supreme Court. Their analysis of the ruling and of remaining challenges to the project is here. In the words of DJ Gerken, SELC Program Director:
It’s time for these developers to move on and reinvest the billions of dollars planned for this boondoggle into the renewable energy that Virginia and North Carolina customers want and deserve.
Work to scuttle the ACP continues. In the words of NC APPPL president Tom Clark, “Not one step back!”
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