Supreme Court Allows Construction of a Pipeline that May Cross Underneath the Appalachian Trail


Via Flickr

Nicole Welle | June 18, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a pipeline company by saying that a new natural gas pipeline could cross underneath the Appalachian trail on federal land.

The 600-mile pipeline is being developed by Duke Energy and Dominion energy and would run from West Virginia to population centers in Virginia and North Carolina. The 7-2 Supreme Court ruling overturned part of a lower court decision that blocked construction of the pipeline, and the case revolved around the question of which federal agency, if any, had the authority to grant the permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to an Iowa Public Radio article.

The U.S. Forest Service initially granted the permit in 2018 since they administer George Washington National Forest where the pipeline would cross the trail. However, a number of environmental groups raised concerns over the agency’s authority to do so. They believe that because the Appalachian trail is part of the National Park System, rules that govern National Park lands should apply instead.

There are also a number of environmental concerns associated with the construction of the pipeline. However, the Supreme Court noted that the pipeline would run hundreds of feet underground and entry and exit points are nowhere near the trail when making their decision. The winning argument centered on the interpretation of certain words in various federal laws and succeeded in disentangling the trail from the land beneath it. This will allow construction of the pipeline to proceed under the permit granted by the Forest Service.

Supreme Court: EPA warranted in most greenhouse gas regulations


Nick Fetty | June 23, 2014

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. Photo by Mike Renlund; Flickr
The United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C.
Photo by Mike Renlund; Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency is warranted in enforcing most, but not all, of its regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This decision does not pertain to the EPA’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan and instead focuses on aspects of the Clean Air Act.  Justice Scalia – who wrote the decision – noted that the EPA “is getting almost everything it wanted in this case.”

Read more about the ruling in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of other sources.

Supreme Court rejects climate change lawsuit


Photo by massmatt, Flickr

The Supreme Court blocked a climate change lawsuit filed by six states including Iowa. USA Today reports that these states sued five power companies, demanding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The courts rejected the lawsuit on grounds that it’s the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency to enact any such regulation:

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Monday a lawsuit by six states that were suing five major power companies for emitting greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

In a victory for the utilities and President Obama’s administration, the high court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency — not the courts — should place restrictions on such heat-trapping emissions. It reversed a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that would have allowed federal judges to issue restrictions. Continue reading