Energy

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case Goes to Supreme Court

$8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline case to go to US Supreme Court, backed by a majority of Supreme Court justices and the Trump administration.

Dominion’s Atlantic Pipeline

The Appalachian Trail – the world’s longest hiking-only footpath, coming in at around 2,200 miles (3540 kilometers) is the topic of discussion in the US Supreme Court as a decision is yet to be reached on whether or not Dominion Energy Inc. will get the permit needed to construct a pipeline along the trail.

Dominion’s plans are that of a 600-mile pipeline along the trail, developed in cooperation with Duke Energy Corp., and expected to be completed by the end of 2021, should the construction begin around the middle of 2020, although the company is in a bit of a bind, as environmental issues make for a tough decision on whether or not a permit should be granted.

Environmental groups have been opposing the pipeline’s construction, and other issues have arised, such as whether or not the Forest Service has the authority to issue the permit or does it fall under the National Park Service?

The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled precisely that – that the Forest Service does not have the required authority to issue the Atlantic Coast permit, while Dominion and the Trump administration argue that despite the Appalachian Trail being managed by the National Park Service, the land under is in fact a national forest – thus falling into Forest Service’s jurisdiction.

“When I think of a pipeline that is 600 feet below the surface, that doesn’t seem like a trail. So instead of having to draw this distinction between the trail and the land, why can’t we just say that the trail is on the surface and something that happens 600 feet below the surface is not the trail?” Justice Samuel Alito commented, with other justices joining him in the key point being the pipeline’s placement.

A ruling in favor of Dominion’s pipeline would eventually see the project finished, with the pipeline’s projections being that it would carry as much as 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from West Virginia to North Carolina and Virginia. The case, however, also bears significance to EQM Midstream Partners LP’s Mountain Valley gas pipeline, whose project was halted by an appeals court ruling, despite it being 10% shy off completion with more than $4 billion already spent.

But despite environmentalists’ objections, with solid backing and arguments, Dominion’s project is looking to have very good odds in the Supreme Court.

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