Still waiting on the suspiciously-pale Indians to show up, though.
U.S. Supreme Court to decide winner in case of gas pipeline vs. Appalachian Trail
By Gregory S. Schneider and Robert Barnes
Feb. 23, 2020 at 12:17 p.m. EST
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline begins in West Virginia and is planned to cross some of the most mountainous scenery in central Virginia before completing its 600-mile path in North Carolina.
Work in Virginia has been halted for more than a year as the builders contend with a host of setbacks handed down by federal courts. None is more crucial than the question of whether the U.S. Forest Service has authority to grant the pipeline right of way under the Appalachian Trail in the George Washington National Forest.
Judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit threw out a Forest Service permit in December 2018, saying federal law prohibits any agency from allowing a pipeline on “lands in the National Park System.” That includes the trail, the judges said.
The pipeline’s builders, led by Dominion Energy, appealed to the high court, saying the ruling could create an impenetrable wall along the trail’s course from Georgia to Maine.
“Simply put, there is no basis in any federal statute to conclude that Congress intended to convert the Appalachian Trail into a 2,200-mile barrier separating critical natural resources from the eastern seaboard,” lawyer Paul Clement wrote in a brief on behalf of the pipeline.
The plaintiffs note that pipelines already cross the trail at 34 locations.
The Trump administration has weighed in on behalf of the project, with Solicitor General Noel Francisco arguing that while the National Park Service administers the trail, the land beneath it is controlled by the Forest Service.
Environmentalists fighting the construction argue that no pipeline has been granted a right of way across the trail on federal land since it became part of the park system. Other crossings are on private or state lands or on easements that predate federal ownership.
Trying to separate the land from the trail is an “elusively metaphysical distinction” that “contradicts the government’s own long-standing approach to administering the Trail,” according to a brief from lawyer Michael K. Kellogg, who will argue for the environmental groups in Monday’s hearing.
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) has filed a brief on behalf of the project’s opponents, arguing that the pipeline threatens “several of Virginia’s most cherished places.” Herring also questions whether there is any economic need for the pipeline, noting that “the demand for natural gas will remain flat or decrease for the foreseeable future and can be met with existing infrastructure.”
The high court’s ruling could determine the fate of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a controversial project that has drawn national attention from environmentalists, including former vice president Al Gore. Approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2017, the pipeline initially was projected to cost about $5 billion but has ballooned in price with multiple delays.
More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...a77_story.html
See? The whole thing's much simpler when you just send the token Indian home and admit it's a straight-up, white-on-white handbag fight.