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The court’s ruling on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, known as the “Lorax decision” for its reference to the green-themed Dr.Seuss book, said that a review of the record “leads to the necessary conclusion that the Forest Service abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources.Dominion did not.“Dominion bet its project on one crossing point for the Appalachian Trail,” said Greg Buppert, a lawyer at the Southern Environmental Law Center.“It never looked at alternatives that cross in a different place, and therefore never got off of national forest land.”“We’re not even talking about a project that is something in the public interest of Virginians, we’re talking about a project that is over budget, overdue and as time passes we can see is unneeded to meet energy demands,” said Kate Wofford, executive director of the Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley, in a news release about the letter.
While protesters are placing their bodies in the way, legal and regulatory barricades related to the pipelines’ crossings of waterways, federal land and the Appalachian Trail stand in the way of completion.
That leaves the pipeline companies with a choice between getting crossings approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president in a tempestuous political climate, or to re-route around the national forests through private or state land, which does not require approval by the park service or Congress.
The second approach looks easier for the Mountain Valley Pipeline than for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because the former included in its filings an alternative route around the national forest.
The whole system of approving pipelines needs to be reformed, which is why I have Meanwhile, the Mountain Valley Pipeline hasn’t taken public action in response to the court of appeals ruling.
Anti-pipeline activists speculate that MVP could try to re-route around national forest property, which would involve another round of negotiation with land owners or eminent domain proceedings.
(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - July 26,2018)FLOYD — Warm weather has brought renewed activity to the Mountain Valley Pipeline in western Virginia, but the project and its equally contentious sibling, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, still face unresolved legal and regulatory hurdles that leave their completion uncertain.