LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining an 18-state alliance urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that unnecessarily blocked construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and impedes the nation’s economic growth.
“This pipeline is a vital source of energy and economic development for the entire country,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “It is critical the law is interpreted accurately as to not set a dangerous precedent that can slow future progress.”
The coalition’s amicus brief filed Monday argues the appeals court was inaccurate in ruling the U.S. Forest Service lacked authority to grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline rights-of-way through forestland beneath federal trails.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will transport natural gas through five West Virginia counties en route to Virginia and North Carolina. The halting of pipeline construction has cost jobs and lost revenue from income and property taxes.
If left intact, the attorneys general argue the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling would transform 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail into a near-impenetrable barrier to energy development – all due to a one-tenth mile crossing deep beneath the surface on a 600-mile pipeline.
If applied nationwide, the coalition argues the lower court decision would seal off more than 11,000 miles of federal trails from development and potentially disrupt the national power grid because of the chilling effect it could have on infrastructure investment.
Along with Arkansas, the West Virginia-led brief received support from Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Read a copy of the coalition’s brief here.