July 2, 2020 Read More →

Despite Supreme Court blow, battle continues against Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Indy Week:

In February, Belinda Joyner caught a ride to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alongside a couple of close friends, the 67-year-old rode from her home in Garysburg, a 1,000-person town near the North Carolina-Virginia border, up to Washington, D.C.

They were there to watch the court hear arguments over whether the U.S. Forest Service should be allowed to issue permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to be built through national forest lands connected to the Appalachian Trail.

The 600-mile, $8 billion pipeline—spearheaded by Dominion Energy and Duke Energy and first proposed in 2014—would run through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, delivering some 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Appalachian Basin. In North Carolina, the pipeline is set to snake through eight counties: Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland, Robeson, and Northampton—Joyner’s back yard.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled 7–2 to allow the companies to secure right-of-way under the AT.

The project has faced legal challenges since its inception. Environmental groups have lodged a Title VI complaint against the DEQ, alleging the agency discriminated on the basis of race when it issued certifications for the pipeline. They have also petitioned the state to revoke permits issued in early 2018 that the groups claim were based on faulty math and incorrectly assessed community impacts.

And there are now questions regarding the underlying need for the gas the pipeline plans to deliver, with Dominion admitting (backed up by an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis report) that natural-gas consumption will likely remain flat for the next 15 years.

[Lewis Kendall]

More: Belinda Joyner Is Tired of Fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But She’s Still Fighting

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