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Appalachian Trail Pipeline To Continue After Supreme Court Ruling

Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will move forward with an $8 billion natural gas pipeline that will cross underneath the Appalachian Trail, following a US Supreme Court ruling that upheld the company’s permit for the pipeline. The 604-mile pipeline will run from West Virginia to North Carolina along a route that traversed 16 miles of land within the George Washington National Forest.

ACP previously filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the pipeline in 2015. ACP was also issued three permits and granted a right-of-way by the US Forest Service in 2018.

The court said the US Forest Service was authorized to issue permits for the project.

Opponents of the pipeline said construction would mean large-scale disturbance of thousands of acres of land in its path, putting streams, rivers, and wetlands at risk of sediment pollution from erosion and stormwater runoff.

ACP said it was resolving the other pending permits to ensure its pipeline resumes construction this year and that it is working with local, state, and federal agencies to complete the project with minimal environmental impact.

ACP’s partner Dominion Energy said in a separate statement, “For decades, more than 50 other pipelines have safely crossed the trail without disturbing its public use.”

Dominion said the ACP pipeline would be not different; to avoid impact to the trail, the pipeline will be installed hundreds of feet below the surface and emerge more than a half-mile from each side of the trail. There will be no construction activity on or near the trail itself.

The pipeline will be built in sections with multiple spreads under construction at the same time. It is expected to be in full service in 2021.

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