Lead pipeline developer Dominion Energy will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a ruling tossing out a permit that would have allowed the 605-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, the company said on Tuesday.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request for a full-court rehearing from Dominion Energy and the U.S. Forest Service on Monday. The company expects the filing of an appeal in the next 90 days.
According to a three judge panel that ruled in December, the Forest Service lacks the authority to authorize the trail crossing and had "abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources" when it approved the pipeline, crossing the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, as well as a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trial.
The lawsuit was filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee and other environmental groups. They believe it is impossible to build the pipeline "without causing massive landslides and threatening the Appalachian Trail and our clean water."
The natural gas pipeline would originate in West Virginia and run through North Carolina and Virginia.