Environmental -- 2019

Cowpasture River Preservation Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Service   (4th Circuit)

Unreasonable pipeline permitting restrictions

The NAM filed an amicus brief in support of en banc review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to reverse a panel holding that invalidated a federal permit for a major natural gas transmission pipeline that crosses U.S. Forest Service lands. An environmental group sued the U.S. Forest Service to invalidate its permit allowing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross beneath the Appalachian Trail hiking route. A panel of the Fourth Circuit held that the Mineral Leasing Act does not allow agencies to grant rights-of-way for pipelines to cross any stretch of the Appalachian Trail; rather, such approvals must come from a majority vote of the U.S. congress. This holding effectively coverts the Appalachian Trail into a 2,200-mile barrier to pipeline construction from Maine to Georgia. The court’s reasoning could also be applied to any one of the dozens of pipelines that currently cross beneath the trail because such pipelines require periodic permit renewals. In support of the intervenor Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s petition for en banc review by the Fourth Circuit, the NAM filed an amicus brief that explained the legal flaws in the panel’s reasoning and highlighted the important benefits that pipelines provide for manufacturers and the national economy. On February 25, 2019, the Fourth Circuit denied en banc review.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (February 19, 2019)


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