With all the news of stalled pipeline projects from the Keystone XL to the Dakota Access, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) now has been gifted a major victory from the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 ruling, the highest court in the land on June 15 overturned a lower court’s decision to halt construction on the mid-Atlantic, 600-mile natural gas pipeline because it would cross the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Ga., to Maine, although the ACP would only extend from W.V., into Va., and N.C. More than 50 other pipelines have been installed hundreds of feet below the surface of the trail without disturbing public use, but the ACP will not be constructed on or near the trail itself and no interruptions to public hiking will occur. Nevertheless, the project has met with Herculean challenges since 2017 to flow supplies from the gas-rich Marcellus and Utica basins to East Coast markets. Numerous stops and starts have inflated the cost from an initial $5.1 billion to $8 billion and more permitting will be required to complete the pipeline, which is expected in early 2020.
The Trump Administration has deemed the ACP “emergency infrastructure” as the only interstate pipeline currently serving the region is woefully congested amid a growing population. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a joint venture by partner companies Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, and Southern Company Gas.
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