Dominion Energy to appeal court ruling on pipeline

Published 9:44 am Monday, March 4, 2019

RICHMOND, VA – On the heels of a lower court’s refusal to again review a ruling that temporarily halted construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), Dominion Energy has said it will appeal that decision to the United States Supreme Court.

In December, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to authorize the ACP from crossing a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The three-member Appeals Court also ruled that the Forest Service “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources” by giving the pipeline project the “green light” to cross the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests.

Dominion officials had ask the Court of Appeals for an en banc rehearing related to the judges’ decision to invalidate the project’s U.S. Forest Service Appalachian Trail crossing authorization.

ACP’s en banc petition was supported by the Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service, as well as by several prominent industry, labor, and business groups.

Dominion Energy expects an appeal to be filed to the Supreme Court of the United States in the next 90 days, according to information provided by Karl R. Neddenien, Dominion Energy’s Media Relations Manager.

He added that the company is also pursuing legislative and administrative options as previously discussed on Dominion Energy’s February 1, 2018 earnings call.

“We are confident that the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture have the authority to resolve the Appalachian Trail crossing issue administratively in a manner that satisfies the Court’s stated objection and in a timeframe consistent with a restart of at least partial construction during the third quarter,” Neddenien said in a press release. “We will continue to work to resolve the outstanding biological opinion issue as well as the Appalachian Trail issue and continue to believe, as a result, that at least partial construction will recommence in the third quarter of 2019.”

He added that Dominion Energy, who owns 48 percent of the ACP project, remains confident in the full completion of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline along the entire 600-mile route.

The 605-mile natural gas pipeline would originate in West Virginia and run through North Carolina and Virginia. It enters North Carolina in Northampton County, where construction was already underway on the pipeline as well as the project’s main office located near Pleasant Hill.