CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The office of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will lead an 18-state coalition in calling for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a shutdown of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The announcement came on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.
A lower court ruling blocked the construction of the pipeline. That decision stated the U.S. Forestry Service lacked the authority to grant rights-of-way for the ACP through forestland beneath federal trails.
The action by the coalition argues the appeals court was inaccurate in its decision. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey continues to actively urge the Supreme Court to hear the case.
“The appeals court’s decision has devastating effects for West Virginia,” said Atty. Gen. Morrisey. “We appreciate the Supreme Courts’s review and believe a decision to overturn the prior ruling will end unnecessary delays that have halted pipeline construction, kept heating fuel prices high, negatively impacted struggling working class families and been detrimental to the services they receive.”
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will transport natural gas through Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Randoph and Pocahontas Counties before going into Virginia and North Carolina. According to a release the halt in the pipeline construction cost West Virginia jobs and lost revenue from income and property taxes.
If left intact, the attorneys general argue the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling would transform 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail into a near-impenetrable barrier to energy development – all due to a one-tenth mile crossing deep beneath the surfaceon a 600-mile pipeline.
If applied nationwide, the coalition argues the lower court decision would seal off more than 11,000 miles of federal trails from development and potentially disrupt the national power grid because of the chilling effect it could have on infrastructure investment.
The West Virginia-led brief received support from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.