CCAN Statement: Atlantic Coast Pipeline Setback Proves its Environmental Impacts are Unacceptable
RICHMOND, VA — Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threw out a key permit granted to Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Incidental Take Statement,” meant to protect threatened and endangered species, was inadequate. The court found that the limits set by the agency were “so indeterminate that they undermine the [permit’s] enforcement monitoring function under the Endangered Species Act.” Without this permit, all on-the-ground construction must stop in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia because other federal permits are contingent on the FWS permit. The Southern Environmental Law Center argued the case on behalf of the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and Virginia Wilderness Committee.
Anne Havemann, General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, stated in response:
“This decision is a validation of what we’ve been saying for years: The environmental impacts of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline are huge and unacceptable. The only way we know we can protect our environment and our climate is to stop the pipeline from being built.
“The impacts of Dominion’s aggressive push to get regulators to approve this unwanted and unnecessary pipeline without the proper reviews are finally catching up to the company. In addition to yesterday’s court decision, state regulators in Virginia who were pushed to approve the Atlantic Coast Pipeline without complete environmental plans from Dominion have opened up yet another public comment period on stream crossings. Yesterday’s decision is just one in what we expect will be a long line of setbacks for Dominion’s reckless pipeline plans.”