The following is a statement by Atlantic Coast Pipeline spokesperson Aaron Ruby regarding the Fourth Circuit’s stay of our Forest Service permit:
While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling, it will not have a significant impact on our construction schedule. The Forest Service’s approval impacts only 20 miles of the 600-mile route, or roughly 3 percent of the total project. We will continue working in all other areas of West Virginia and North Carolina, where we are making significant progress.
We fully stand behind the Forest Service’s approval, and we will vigorously defend it in oral arguments before the court later this week. The Forest Service conducted a thorough and rigorous review of the project for more than three years and built a strong public record in support of its decision.
Make no mistake, we will complete this project for the good of our economy and the environment. Public utilities are depending on this infrastructure to generate cleaner electricity and meet the growing energy needs of millions of homes and businesses. Opponents’ delay tactics will not stop this project. They will only drive up consumer energy costs, delay the transition to cleaner energy, and make it harder for public utilities to reliably serve their customers.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been the most thoroughly reviewed infrastructure project in the history of our region. No other project in our region’s history has been developed with greater attention to the environment, including our national forests. After hearing input from agencies and communities, we changed the pipeline’s route by almost 100 miles to avoid sensitive wildlife habitats in the forests and reduce the total mileage in the forests by more than one-third. In close consultation with the Forest Service, we also developed one of the strongest and most protective programs for steep slope construction ever used by the industry. The additional scrutiny we’re now receiving from the courts is only further evidence of the incredibly high standard that is being applied to this project.