As court challenges pile up, gas pipeline falls behind

Richard Walker, an Atlantic Coast Pipeline opponent, raises his hands as he and other pipeline opponents turn their backs on a Dec. 19 meeting of a Virginia air pollution panel, which delayed a vote on a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Steve Helber/AP) RICHMOND — Protesters banging drums may get more attention, but what has really damaged the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2018 has been quiet action taking place in courtrooms. Opponents represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center have won a string of legal victories that have brought work on the $7 billion, 600-mile natural gas pipeline to a halt, at least temporarily. Several rulings are under appeal, while an even bigger case looms in the new year. [ Federal appeals court rejects permits for Atlantic Coast Pipeline ] Taken together, the federal court rulings suggest a permitting and approval process that was hasty and, possibly, misguided. “They all have the same narrative,” said D.J. Gerken, a lawyer in the SELC’s Asheville, N.C., office who has argued some of the cases. “Atlantic was very arrogant in the selection of this route . . . and counted on bullying these agencies to get it through.” The […]

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