The Army Corps of Engineers late yesterday suspended an essential permit for the fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline, meaning its developers cannot do any work on stream or wetland crossings along its entire 600-mile route in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Known as the Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12), the permit authorized developers to build the gas pipeline through streams, rivers and waterways.
The suspension of ACP’s authorizations under NWP 12 were issued by the Corps’ Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Wilmington districts, and follows requests filed by Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of the Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The requests were based on a November 7 federal court order that stayed ACP’s authorization in the Corps’ Huntington District. The NWP 12 suspension continues a string of setbacks for the builders of fracked gas pipelines in the region.
“If the polluting corporations behind the ACP ever thought this would be easy, they know better now,” said Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin. “There is no right way to build this dirty, dangerous pipeline and we won’t stop fighting it until construction is permanently halted.”
“We are thankful indeed that the Corps has at least paused this project so that regulators are compelled to take a closer look at the impacts the pipeline would have on our water resources, and even whether the project is needed at all. We’re confident that in so doing, they will conclude the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is the wrong project in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Lara Mack, Virginia Field Organizer with Appalachian Voices.
“For the some 1,556 stream crossings in WV, VA and North Carolina these actions are a welcome pause/time-out for the valuable and vulnerable waters that bless our three states,” said Cindy Rank of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. “May this sensible approach continue as the Corps and our states look more closely at the impacts of this pipeline.”
“This signals that when the public is watching, the Army Corps realizes it can’t buck its own rules,” said Angie Rosser of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “Now we’ll see if they agree to changing those rules to accommodate building this pipeline as fast as possible, instead of considering its cumulative impacts on our water.”
Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cat McCue, Appalachian Voices, email@example.com, 434-293-6373