Big Case for Famous Trail Hits the Supreme Court

Justices to rule on whether an oil pipeline can cross the Appalachian Trail in Virginia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2020 9:55 AM CST

(Newser) – 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.

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