Dominion Energy will appeal to the United States Supreme Court a lower court ruling maintaining that U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to authorize the 974-km Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from crossing a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The three-member Appeals Court also ruled that the Forest Service “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” by giving the pipeline project the “green light” to cross the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests.
The ACP would originate in West Virginia and run through North Carolina and Virginia.
The appellate ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee and other environmental groups. It is a severe setback for the project which was supposed to begin in the third quarter of 2019, and Dominion continues to assert that at least partial construction will begin later this year. The groups said they believe it is impossible to build the pipeline "without causing massive landslides and threatening the Appalachian Trail and our clean water."
Dominion said it expects the filing of an appeal in the next 90 days. Last week the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a full-court rehearing from Dominion and the U.S. Forest Service.