US Court of Appeals Vacates Key Pipeline Approvals
The three hundred mile Mountain Valley Pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia has drawn a lot of attention from those concerned with the impacts of energy infrastructure on landscape values in our region.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled the U.S Forest Service failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act when allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to go forward on federal lands. Further, the court ruled the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not fulfill its requirements under the Minerals Leasing Act. The panel of federal judges vacated both the Forest Service and BLM decisions and remanded the matter to the agencies for further action.
The ruling does not necessarily halt activities but does put actions on a right of way through federal lands in jeopardy. Both agencies can presumably cure or attempt to cure the defects in their decisions.
The case is Sierra Club, Inc. v. United States Forest Service. The Sierra Club was joined in the suit by Appalachian Voices, Wild Virginia, Inc., the Wilderness Society, Preserve Craig, Inc. and Save Monroe, Inc. You can read the court ruling here. Or read this story by the Washington Post.