Another blow for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
It’s Wednesday, January 8, and a federal court just delivered a major win for environmental justice.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an embattled fossil fuel behemoth that just won’t die, received yet another blow on Tuesday when a federal appeals court overturned one of its necessary permits. If built, the 600-mile pipeline would bring natural gas from the Marcellus Shale region of West Virginia to the Atlantic Coast in southern North Carolina. And as Grist highlighted last month, it would pass through mostly lower-income neighborhoods — but residents and local activists are fighting back.
The rejected permit was for a compressor station that would be built in Union Hill, Virginia, a predominantly black community founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. Compressor stations are loud, earth-shaking facilities that emit formaldehyde and methane and also carry the risk of explosions. Last year, oil and gas lobbyists orchestrated a PR campaign to build support for the pipeline, but many residents saw through it. A local activist group, Friends of Buckingham, challenged the permit, and on Tuesday, the court sided with them.
How many rejections before it’s time to give up? That’s the question now facing Dominion Energy, the majority owner of the pipeline. According to the Southern Environmental Law Center, this is the eighth time in less than two years the project has been burned by a federal court or agency. Another battle awaits the company at the Supreme Court next month, when opponents will challenge the pipeline’s plans to cross the Appalachian Trail.
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