US Court Stays Ruling Against Dominion Energy Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project
Reuters – A U.S. appeals court has stayed a previous court decision against Forest Service permits that allowed Dominion Energy to build the $7 billion Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline across national forests and the Appalachian Trail.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday froze the previous decision by a three-judge panel until the full court decides whether it will rehear the case en banc.
The appeals court panel had said in December that the U.S. Forest Service had “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” when it issued the permits.
Dominion argued that the ruling by the three-judge panel to vacate the Forest Service permits went beyond the court’s authority and created an “impregnable barrier (from Georgia to Maine) dividing energy sources west of the (Appalachian) Trail from consumers east of the Trail.”
Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien said the company remained confident it would complete the 600-mile (966-km) pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina, even though the timing is “somewhat fluid” due in part to federal lawsuits.
In the past, Dominion said it expected to finish the project in mid-2020, but the company has suspended all construction since early December after the 4th Circuit stayed a federal permit in another lawsuit.