Dominion Energy Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to Defend Atlantic Coast Pipeline

In December, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a permit allowing the Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

According to the court, the Forest Service does not have authority to give permission for pipeline construction on federal land, however Dominion Energy and the U.S. Department of Justice recently made an appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn this decision.

56 pipelines are already in place crossing through the Appalachian Trail, and if the Atlantic Coast pipeline is not allowed through, Dominion observes that it could make the Trail into a barrier between consumers in the east and resource-rich areas in the west.

Josh Price, senior analyst at Heigh Capital Markets, says, “We believe the [Supreme] Court may view this as an issue of national importance…if the court declines to take up the case or upholds the ruling, we anticipate [Atlantic Coast] owners may cancel the projects.”

Seeking Alpha

Enbridge Supported by Wisconsin Supreme Court in Dane County Case

A ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed Enbridge Energy to continue on with their pipeline project in Dane County without any additional insurance, despite the local government putting a requirement on Enbridge’s permit for a $25 million environmental liability policy.

Wisconsin lawmakers stepped in and passed a provision blocking local municipalities from putting liability requirements on an operator if they already had sufficient insurance. After a couple back and forths of courts contesting Enbridge’s quality of insurance, the high court ruled that Enbridge does have comprehensive insurance. According to Enbridge, they have $860 million worth of general liability insurance, including coverage for ’sudden and accidental’ pollution.

Despite the ruling, several people within local government have been adamant that Enbridge has yet to provide proof of adequate insurance for ’sudden and accidental’ cases. Concerned about the decision, Patricia Hammel, a landowner’s attorney, stated that it “allows Enbridge to operate the largest tar sands pipeline in the U.S. across Wisconsin without adequate insurance and exposes our people, land and water to the consequences of a catastrophic spill.”

Enbridge’s oil spill in 2010, in southwest Michigan, polluted almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and cost them $1.2. billion. In addition, the United States fined them for missing deadlines on pipeline inspections prior to the spill, costing them an extra $1.8 million. The cleanup lasted until 2014.

Meanwhile, Enbridge has finished their $1.5 billion pipeline make-over and built the Waterloo pump station, which, according to a spokeswoman of Enbridge, Jennifer Smith, is necessary in order to “ensure a reliable source of energy for decades to come.”


Dominion Energy to Request Supreme Court Hearing For Pipeline Appeal

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.