Two steps forward, and one step back. That’s how today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Appalachian Trail crossing permit should be viewed for those of us fighting the destructive and unneeded pipeline. The opinion reverses the Fourth Circuit Court ruling that the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to grant permission for the ACP to cross the iconic trail.
While a victory here for us would have been fantastic, it does very little to help Dominion with its floundering pipeline. In fact, Dominion has little to celebrate. More than six years out, not a single inch of pipe has been laid in Virginia, and construction has been on hold for 18 months. Further, the project lacks eight permits. The project’s main permit, which considers Dominion’s shaky claim that the pipeline is in the public interest, is under review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as we speak.
As we said, “two steps forward.” You might remember that in April a Montana judge, ruling in a Keystone XL pipeline case, threw out the Army Corps of Engineers blanket stream crossing permit, called a Nationwide 12 permit. In subsequent rulings, the court determined that this halting of Nationwide 12 permits applied to all stream crossings in all pipeline projects across the country, at least until early 2021.
That’s good news for the good folks—those fighting the ACP and the Mountain Valley Pipeline in southwest Virginia. Both of those projects are now totally stalled.
Now the costliest pipeline project in the ENTIRE NATION, the ACP is years behind schedule and billions over budget. As the years have passed, Dominion’s reasons for building the highly destructive pipeline have melted away like an ice cube on a hot summer sidewalk. It is increasingly obvious that Dominion’s customers would be on the hook for billions if this boondoggle were built. Many financial analysts are giving the project a less than a 50 percent chance of ever happening.
Not only that, but many of the issues surrounding the ACP—plans to build a polluting compressor station in a historically black community, routing the pipeline through lower income neighborhoods, ignoring the historic Native American archaeological sites along the route—mirror the inequity issues that our nation is struggling with right now. Put a pandemic on top of that and the writing is on the wall.
It’s time for Dominion to abandon the ACP and get on the right side of history.
Stay tuned for opportunities to make your voice heard. This pipeline is not a done deal.