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Can the Appalachian Trail Block a Major Natural Gas Pipeline Project?

Gutin & Wolverton Feb. 29, 2020

Atlantic Coast Pipeline v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association Another fine article published by Subscriptlaw, written by MARIAM MORSHEDI.

A group of energy companies has set out to build a large natural gas pipeline along the mid-Atlantic region.
They say it will strengthen the economy, lower energy costs, and bring cleaner electricity to Virginia and North Carolina.

It’s a controversial project. Construction will require digging through rural areas and the use of eminent domain against mostly less-affluent populations. The pipeline will expose its neighbors to a risk of leakage, and three compressor stations along the route will emit toxic gases.

Right to Cross the Trail?

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is set to cross the Appalachian Trail, but that will depend on the result of the current case before the Supreme Court.

Environmental groups challenging the pipeline project argue the developers cannot get a permit to cross the Appalachian Trail. The developers did, in fact, receive a number of approvals and permits for the project, but the challengers argue the one allowing the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail is invalid.

The U.S. Forest Service gave the developers the approval in question. The Mineral Leasing Act allows the U.S. Forest Service to grant mineral rights through the national forests. Since the Appalachian Trail runs through national forest land, the developers went to the U.S. Forest Service to get approval. They received the right for the pipeline to pass through twenty-one miles of national forest land and to cross the Appalachian Trail.

Full Article here.

Apart from the neighboring landowners’ complaints, environmental groups are unimpressed by the investors’ claims to bring cheaper natural gas to the region. Environmentalists claim the country and world should be focused on energy sources that do not emit greenhouse gases.

Actual Court Filings here.

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