“Trump Lawyers Defend Pipeline’s Route Across Appalachian Trail”

“The U.S. Forest Service has full authority to allow natural gas pipelines to cross the Appalachian Trail, industry lawyers and the Trump administration told the Supreme Court in a pair of Dec. 2 legal filings.

Government and industry lawyers say a lower court got it wrong when it ruled that only the National Park Service can oversee development across the trail.

“Simply put, there is no basis in any federal statute to conclude that Congress intended to convert the Appalachian Trail into a 2,200-mile barrier separating critical natural resources from the eastern seaboard,” lawyers for Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC told the court in a brief.

The case, set for oral argument before the justices in February, controls the fate of the $7.5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It could have broader ramifications for infrastructure projects across the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Maine to Georgia and crosses nearly 1,000 miles of national forestland along the way.”

Ellen M. Gilmer reports for Bloomberg Environment December 2, 2019.