One of the federal permits required to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through three states and a portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed was rendered invalid late Tuesday by a federal appellate court.Note that no mention of the kind endangered animals potentially affected. Therefore, it's almost certainly not charismatic megafauna that people would get excited about, and which could be relatively easily accounted for. It's almost certainly something small and cryptic, like a salamander, that would be difficult to find before the pipeline work, and which would certainly be impossible to detect it's death during the work. Under this standard, no work can be done anywhere.
Environmental groups say the decision should completely halt the pipeline’s construction, at least temporarily, but Dominion Energy, which is backing the project, disagrees.
The permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed for the construction of the 600-mile pipeline to result in the “incidental take” of certain threatened or endangered species, but the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the permit did not provide specific limits that could be enforced or monitored.
The case was brought by the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Virginia Wilderness Committee and argued by Southern Environmental Law Center, whose lawyers contend that the decision means all construction on the pipeline must stop because this permit is the basis for several others.
"Like other agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service rushed this pipeline approval through under intense political pressure to meet developers’ timelines,” D.J. Gerken, managing attorney of SELC’s Asheville, NC, office, wrote in a statement. “It's foolish and shortsighted to risk losing rare species for an unnecessary and costly pipeline boondoggle.”
But Jen Kostyniuk, a spokeswoman for Dominion Energy said the court’s decision prevents construction from continuing only on portions of the project.
“This decision only impacts activities directly covered by the Incidental Take Statement in certain defined areas along the route,” Kostyniuk wrote in an emailed statement. “We remain confident in the project approvals, and the ACP will continue to move forward with construction as scheduled.”
The court’s brief order does not make the impact of the decision clear but mentions that a longer opinion is forthcoming. The order states that the incidental take permit mentions how the project could impact five threatened or endangered species along the pipeline’s route, but that its details are “so indeterminate” that they could not be easily enforced or monitored.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
EPA Thrilled that Atlantic Coast Pipeline Pipeline Could be Blocked
EPA's captive pet news outlet, the Bay Journal: Construction of Atlantic Coast Pipeline could be halted by endangered species concerns