December 23, 2018

Atlantic Coast Pipeline, blocked


By Maria Rose

Photo By Timothy C. Wright II | For The Washington Post

On December 13, a panel of federal judges rejected permits to build the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline — the ACP — across the George Washington and Monongahela national forests and the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Citing Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” the judges concluded that the Forest Service did not have the authority to grant approval for the ACP to cross under the Appalachian Trail, as the trail itself falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and the Interior Department. “We trust the United States Forest Service to ‘speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues’,” the court admonished the agency, noting that the Forest Service had been concerned about the environmental impacts of the pipeline, but that they were “suddenly, and mysteriously assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines.” The project is on hold for now. The 600-mile pipeline is intended to carry natural gas from West Virginia, through Virginia, to North Carolina. The $7 billion project is spearheaded by Dominion Energy.

Maria Rose

Maria Rose is a researcher and writer who favors longform writing, data journalism, and podcasts, and focuses on environmental reporting. Prior to living in Pittsburgh, Maria worked in Thailand with a local NGO, designing programs on child rights, migrant rights, and statelessness. Maria is also an associate editor for Resettled, a podcast on refugee resettlement with NPR and WCVE, and a fact-checker for PublicSource.

Further Reading:

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch and Washington Post // Another decision regarding Dominion Energy — state regulators have delayed voting on the construction of a compressor station that would serve the ACP. The compressor station is being built in a predominately black community, Union Hill, in Buckingham, Virginia.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch and Virginia Watchdog // Information about the lawsuit ACP has filed against Virginia’s Nelson County in the wake of the decision.
  • PennFuture and US Energy Information Administration // Resources that examine the impact of natural gas pipelines on public health and the environment.


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