Bay Journal

Topics: Energy

Pipeline backers, opponents get their day in the Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday weighed whether a federal agency has the authority to grant or deny permission for a major pipeline to be built under the Appalachian Trail, hearing oral arguments from each side. The court’s decision, expected by June, could decide the fate of the long-contested, $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would wind across the southwest corner of the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Virginia.

Dominion Energy, the project’s backer, petitioned the court to consider the case after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2018 revoked a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. The permit would have allowed construction to cross the Appalachian Trail and George Washington National Forest. It is one of seven federal permits related to the project that have been overturned by the courts, resulting in a construction stoppage since late 2018.

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About Energy

Energy production has had a profound influence on the Chesapeake and its tributaries since European settlement. Settlers built thousands of dams across streams and rivers to provide power for mills and industry. More modern dams create hydroelectric power, but dramatically affect river ecosystems and close them to fish migration.

Combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake, and activities such as drilling in the Marcellus Shale can affect stream health and permanently alter terrestrial habitats.

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