CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s ruling blocking construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
An 18-state coalition including West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey argued for the court’s ultimate position. The coalition’s brief contended a federal appeals court inaccurately ruled the U.S. Forest Service lacked authority to grant the rights-of-way through forestland beneath federal trails.
“The Supreme Court’s decision will help put back to work thousands of men and women,” Morrisey said. “The Supreme Court’s opinion overturns a devastating decision and will go a long way to building a stronger economy and tax base nationwide, especially in north-central West Virginia.”
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is expected to transport natural gas through Harrison, Lewis, Upshur, Randolph and Pocahontas counties to Virginia and North Carolina when completed, according to the attorney general’s office.
Morrisey says halting construction cost the state at least 1,500 jobs and lost revenue from income and property taxes.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, said the project will allow for an expansion of natural gas supplies, providing affordable energy for residents and businesses.
“Our country has experienced tremendous growth in energy production over the last several years, which presents a huge opportunity for West Virginia’s economy. The Supreme Court decision today is welcome news for American families, jobs, security, and the energy economy. This project will allow for the expanded supplies of natural gas for residential and commercial heating and electricity generation, which will provide affordable energy for residents and businesses while also spurring economic development. Beyond this project though, this landmark decision overturns a disastrous Fourth Circuit decision that has regional and ultimately national implications. The Supreme Court has followed congressional intent in finding that the National Trail System, of which I am a strong advocate, is not to be a dragnet preventing construction of energy, electric, and transportation infrastructure around the country. West Virginia is energy-rich, and we should make it easier to use energy resources produced right here at home to meet demand across the country. I worked with the administration and advocated strongly for this project and other natural gas pipelines because I know the economic benefits they afford West Virginia. I’m glad to see the Supreme Court’s decision today and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on jobs, security, our energy economy, and economic development.”U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Morrisey says the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling would have transformed 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail into a near-impenetrable barrier to energy development. He said if that ruling were applied nationwide, the lower court decision would have sealed off more than 11,000 miles of federal trails from development and potentially disrupted the national power grid.
West Virginia Governor also showed support for the decision saying it would allow the state to increase gas production and provide more jobs to the state.