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BREAKING: Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Deals Dominion Huge Blow In Its Efforts to Build Risky, Unnecessary, Destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline [UPDATED]


UPDATE 7:48 pm Wednesday: This is completely FUBAR. “FERC regulators will not stop work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline despite court ruling on permit.”

UPDATE 6:53 am Wednesday: This is interesting – “Attorney D.J. Gerken said in an interview that construction must cease because other federal permits allowing work to proceed are contingent on the Fish and Wildlife Service permit. The Fish and Wildlife Service is looking at the court’s decision and considering next steps, spokesman Gavin Shire wrote in an email.”

UPDATE 9:28 pm: Hmmmm. Both sides can’t be right.

UPDATE 9:14 pm: Check this out – ruh roh?

Dominion Energy can spew its ratepayer-funded, pro-Atlantic Coast Pipeline propaganda all over our TV screens, but that doesn’t change the fact that the project’s a disaster in every way – economically, environmentally, you name it. Which is I’m so glad to see the following breaking news! The short story is that this decision is a major blow to Dominion’s efforts to build the risky, unnecessary Atlantic Coast Pipeline. More details to follow. For now, great work by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), and see below for the order from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals!

  • Sharon Ponton


  • From the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN):

    CCAN Statement: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Setback Proves its Environmental Impacts are Unacceptable

    RICHMOND, VA — Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threw out a key permit granted to Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Incidental Take Statement,” meant to protect threatened and endangered species, was inadequate. The court found that the limits set by the agency were “so indeterminate that they undermine the [permit’s] enforcement monitoring function under the Endangered Species Act.” Without this permit, all on-the-ground construction must stop in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia because other federal permits are contingent on the FWS permit. The Southern Environmental Law Center argued the case on behalf of the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and Virginia Wilderness Committee.

    Anne Havemann, General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated in response:

    “This decision is a validation of what we’ve been saying for years: The environmental impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are huge and unacceptable. The only way we know we can protect our environment and our climate is to stop the pipeline from being built.

    “The impacts of Dominion’s aggressive push to get regulators to approve this unwanted and unnecessary pipeline without the proper reviews are finally catching up to the company. In addition to yesterday’s court decision, state regulators in Virginia who were pushed to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline without complete environmental plans from Dominion have opened up yet another public comment period on stream crossings. Yesterday’s decision is just one in what we expect will be a long line of setbacks for Dominion’s reckless pipeline plans.”

  • From the Leslie Cockburn for Congress campaign:


    RAPPAHANNOCK, VA–Yesterday, a federal appeals court determined that the US Fish and Wildlife Service review required to certify the construction of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline did not meet minimum legal standards. As a result, pipeline construction will be halted, at least in part, thanks to the court’s opinion. Leslie Cockburn, Virginia 5th District Democratic nominee for Congress, issued the following statement:

    “I congratulate the work of Southern Environmental Law Center, the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Virginia Wilderness Committee in making yesterday’s decision possible. I’m happy that the court has recognized that even minimum legal standards have not been met to allow construction of this pipeline.

    The 5th District of Virginia is the epicenter of where the pipeline would be built. Our farmers, business owners, residents, church congregations, and artists are facing the devastating potential of losing their livelihoods, land, communities, and safety to a pipeline that would not serve Virginia’s energy needs. This pipeline would put us at risk of losing so much, including many sustainable farms, the Union Hill community, and Nelson County’s thriving tourist corridor.

    While many regarded the pipeline as a done deal, the Southern Environmental Law Center has done a superb job of challenging it in the courtroom. Yesterday’s decision illustrates the extraordinary results that activists working on the ground and organizations, like the Southern Environmental Law Center, working in the courts can achieve. Thanks to all their efforts, the 5th district will now be safer, cleaner, and more economically secure.”