Supreme Court Removes One Hurdle For Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But Others Remain

Jun 25, 2020

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would terminate in Robeson County, North Carolina. Construction has stalled on the pipeline, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed one permitting hurdle last week.
Credit Lyndsey Gilpin

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week allows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to travel under a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

A lower court denied the U.S. Forest Service the right to grant a permit to Dominion Energy, the lead developer of the proposed 600-mile long pipeline, to carry out the construction two years ago. Dominion Energy appealed the case, and the Supreme Court now upholds the Forest Service’s authority. The ruling sets a precedent that other pipeline projects — such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline that covers a different route through West Virginia and Virginia and recently received approval for an extension into central North Carolina — can cross the trail in the future.

But construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline remains halted as the developers work to obtain eight other environmental permits.  The pipeline also travels through several rural, low-income and predominantly Black and Indigenous communities, some of which are continuing to organize in opposition to the construction. As state legislatures in North Carolina and Virginia announce plans to move towards renewables, is there still a need for these large pipelines?

Host Anita Rao speaks with Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly, about the Supreme Court ruling and the future of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the southeast.