Dominion Energy has put a halt to construction of the 965-km multibillion dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline, after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that more study is needed to properly evaluate the environmental impact of pipeline construction on four endangered species across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Environmental groups claim the rusty patch bumble bee, the Indiana bat, the Madison cave isopod (a type of crustacean) and the clubshell mussel would all be adversely affected by the Atlantic pipeline, even threatening their very existence.
According to the environmental group’s legal briefs, "pipeline construction could harm endangered species in a variety of ways. The clubshell mussel would be buried alive by dredging and grading. Digging and blasting could crush or trap the Madison cave isopod. The rusty-patched bumble bee could be injured or killed by tree felling. And tree clearing would force pregnant female bats to change their flight routes, exposing the bats to predators."
Lawyers for the pipeline contend that the court's decision is overly broad and argue that construction could take place in North Carolina, where none of the four endangered species have sensitive habitats.
The new stay is expected to be in effect pending review of environmentalists' challenge to the documents. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for March, 2019.