Arguments in a big environmental case were being heard at the Supreme Court on Monday, a dispute that pits builders of an oil pipeline versus supporters of the Appalachian Trail. We won't get a decision for months, but the ruling has the potential to snarl not just the construction of this particular pipeline but others as well. Coverage:
- The pipeline: The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is supposed to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia to customers in Virginia and North Carolina, explains NPR. However, construction has been stalled for about a year in Virginia thanks to various legal challenges, with the Appalachian Trail issue being the most significant.
- The issue: The 600-mile pipeline is supposed to go underneath the AT near Charlottesville, Va., at a mountain ridge in the George Washington National Forest. The US Forest Service approved a construction permit, but environmentalists sued, pointing out that the AT (which runs from Maine to Georgia) is actually an entity of the National Park Service. A federal appeals court tossed the construction permit, ruling that no federal agency could grant such a right of way on national park land, reports Fox Business. Only Congress has that right.