The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a stay of the National Forest Service decisions allowing Atlantic Coast Pipeline construction.
The stay puts an immediate stop to any construction in the National Forest until an appeal filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Sierra Club, on behalf of Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, Sierra Club, Wild Virginia and Virginia Wilderness Committee is decided.
“This decision is very good news for the Forest. After FERC’s decision to reauthorize construction last week, Atlantic was poised to resume clearcutting its way across the two national forests today. Because of this decision, Atlantic’s chainsaws will remain idle until the Court has had an opportunity to decide our case. For the same reason, FERC should stop construction elsewhere until these issues are resolved, to avoid wasting ratepayer dollars building a route that may not be viable,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Senior Attorney, DJ Gerken.
“We’re glad to see construction of the fracked gas ACP halted in our national forests. There is no need for this dirty, dangerous pipeline and while we’re pleased with today’s decision, our air, water and communities won’t truly be protected until it’s permanently halted. The Sierra Club, our partners, and communities along the entire route will keep fighting this project until construction is finally stopped,” said Kelly Martin, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign.
This Friday, September 28th the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in conservation groups’ challenge to approvals issued by the Forest Service and the state of Virginia for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.