Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Work Restarts as Opponents Decry 'Rushed Decisions'

Energy
Atlantic Coast Pipeline Work Restarts as Opponents Decry 'Rushed Decisions'
Pipe being transported to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Photo credit: Mark Levisay / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled Monday that work could resume on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which opponents call "unnecessary and a boondoggle," the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

Work on the controversial pipeline halted last month after a federal appeals court vacated two permits required for the project to complete its 600 mile route from West Virginia, through Virginia, to North Carolina.


The pipeline is a project backed by Duke Energy, Dominion Energy and Southern Co. to carry fracked natural gas.

The permits in question, from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS) were redone Sept. 11 and 14 respectively, the FERC said in its letter authorizing construction.

"We fixed those issues and FERC lifted our stay. So our folks are back to work, starting today," Dominion Resources State Policy Manager Bob Orndorff told the West Virginia state legislature Tuesday, MetroNews reported.

But pipeline opponents were skeptical of the new permits.

"These two agencies got into trouble once for making rushed decisions on a political timetable," Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) lawyer D.J. Gerken told the Charlotte Business Journal. "The agencies turned very fast and, as far as we can tell, without much concern for whether they were done correctly."

SELC brought the court case that led the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the permits.

The court found that the original NPS permit was invalid because it did not explain how the tree-cutting necessary for the pipeline's passage through the Blue Ridge Parkway would not contradict its scenic purpose.

The original FWS permit, meanwhile, did not adequately address the pipeline's impact on endangered species, the court ruled.

Gerken told The Charlotte Business Journal that the SELC is reviewing the FERC decision and will decide promptly whether to appeal or not.

The Sierra Club agreed that the new permits seemed rushed.

"Rather than taking the time to address the major problems we have seen in federal agencies' reviews of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, these agencies continue to rush through a rubberstamp process that ignores legal requirements—not to mention the public interest," Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Kelly Martin said in a statement.

The Sierra Club said the original permits were rushed through due to pressure from utilities and the Trump administration.

"We don't even need these fracked gas pipelines in the first place, so not only should the stop work order remain in place, all construction should be permanently halted," Martin said.

Even as crews get back to work, construction along some parts of the pipeline's route might be delayed for a different reason—flooding from Hurricane Florence.

"We are closely monitoring weather conditions across the project footprint and will of course only resume work in areas where it is safe to do so and where weather conditions permit," pipeline spokesperson Aaron Ruby told the Charlotte Business Journal.

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus? Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This turtle dove is part of Operation Turtle Dove; the European Commission estimates there may be fewer than 5,000 pairs left in the UK. Ian / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Naomi Larsson

For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
Swimming alongside an animatronic dolphin, a person learns about hydrodynamics. Edge Innovations

Life-sized, ultra-realistic robotic dolphins could help end animal captivity by replacing living creatures in aquariums and theme parks.

Read More Show Less
A Stop the Money Pipeline protester holds a banner outside JP Morgan headquarters in NYC on Feb. 25, 2020; JP Morgan is a top contributor to the fossil fuel industry. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch