Conservation groups file request to stay construction on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

atlantic coast pipelineThe Southern Environmental Law Center and Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of their client conservation and environmental groups asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to halt construction by Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers until it decides whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s permit is valid.

“We know this pipeline is unneeded by customers along its path.  If construction is allowed to go forward and the Court later decides this permit is invalid, it will be impossible to undo the damage to mountain ridges, mature forests, and sensitive rivers and streams,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney Greg Buppert. “The damage will be done.”

SELC recently filed a petition to challenge FERC’s decision to permit the Atlantic Coast Pipeline with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Friends of Buckingham, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and Winyah Rivers Foundation.

The challenge to the permit is based on the lack of evidence that the pipeline is needed in Virginia or North Carolina and data and analysis showing that the region already has sufficient pipeline capacity to meet needs. This filing comes as the cost of the pipeline has ballooned to $6.5 billion and when there are growing questions about Dominion’s plans for the natural gas as it eyes South Carolina for a possible expansion of the pipeline.

The 600 mile long pipeline, originally proposed to start in West Virginia and cut through Virginia and end North Carolina, has drawn immense opposition from citizens in all three states. In many cases the pipeline will cut through the land of citizens who are not even served by Duke or Dominion, like those living in Virginia’s Buckingham County.

“The ACP pipeline route disproportionately threatens African American, rural Appalachian, and Native American communities with toxic air emissions and pipeline leaks that could pose grave health and safety risks,” said Friends of Buckingham’s Lakshmi Fjord, “Our communities are paying this heavy price and yet none of us will benefit from any of this fracked gas.”

The construction of this pipeline will mean hundreds number of rivers and streams in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina will be blasted and bulldozed.

“This unnecessary pipeline, if built, will cause wide destruction of our water resources and aquatic environments. What we are asking for today is simple, immediately stop construction until the courts have had time to act. It is time to show the public that our public resources will not be destroyed for the sake of private profit,” said Sound Rivers’ Upper Neuse Riverkeeper Matthew Starr.

SELC represents the following organizations on these issues: Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Friends of Buckingham, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, Sound Rivers, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and Winyah Rivers Foundation

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