A couple weeks ago, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond invalidated two permits for parts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Incidental Take Statement and the National Park Service’s (NPS) right-of-way permit – halting construction in Virginia. Following the ruling, Dominion Energy said they would move forward with pipeline construction in neighboring North Carolina and West Virginia. However, aggressive environmental organizations have enhanced their legal assault, demanding that the Fourth Circuit reject the federal permit that authorized construction of the 600-mile natural gas pipeline.
The additional lawsuit comes from the Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Southern Environmental Law Center, which filed just a few days after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied their repeated requests for a judicial rehearing of its decision to grant the ACP a certificate of public convenience and necessity to begin construction.
The Fourth Circuit ordered construction in Virginia to cease after the permits were issued “without proper scrutiny.” Charlottesville based attorney Greg Buppert with the Southern Environmental Law Center said that “FERC rejected a rehearing request in which the conservation groups asserted that it also rushed through its decision to building a pipeline that we don’t need,” according to a report from The Daily Progress.
“It’s clear that even within FERC there are questions about the need for this pipeline and the unnecessary harm it will cause to the surrounding communities, the environment, and the customers in Virginia and North Carolina that will bear the financial burden,” Buppert remarked.
Dominion Energy has asserted that the project is a “matter of urgent public necessity.”
“Our public utility customers are depending on this infrastructure to generate cleaner electricity, heat homes and power local businesses,” Dominion spokeswoman Jen Kostyniuk. “The project will result in a growing economy, a cleaner environment, and lower energy costs for consumers and businesses across the region.”
Unfortunately, the protesters along the pathway of the pipeline in Southwest Virginia, environmental attorneys, and conservation groups believe that shutting down construction is a moral imperative. What they apparently do not understand is that without the ACP, the U.S. will be pushed off its course of becoming energy independent, left to rely more on foreign energy reserves in the dysfunctional Middle East.
Of course, Russia is on the side of the Mountain Valley agitators. They want to U.S. to clamor for oil and natural gas, because an energy independent America keeps Russia down.
In this instance, the phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” applies to the fiscal relationship between the Russians and the pipeline protesters, which are funded indirectly through the Kremlin. After all, both parties have a goal of thwarting the strengthening of the U.S. energy grid.