Tree-cutting and other work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in North Carolina has been halted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, pending an appellate court’s decision on aspects of the project’s permits. The Corps’ authorized the temporary suspension of work per Dominion’s request, according to a Nov. 20 letter sent and signed by Scott McClendon, chief of the Corps’ regulatory division in Wilmington.
Earlier this month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the Corps’ verification of whether the ACP was complying with its nationwide permit related to activities in West Virginia. “Because of that order, it is uncertain” whether the permit will be available “to authorize work in North Carolina,” the letter read.
ACP, LLC is required to stop all work immediately, except for stabilizing construction areas. The Corps’ Norfolk office issued the same letter for work being conducted in Virginia.
The $7 billion project has encountered several legal setbacks, primarily in Virginia and West Virginia. There, environmental advocates successfully have taken their objections with the federal government’s permitting to court. In North Carolina, Marvin Winstead, a landowner in Nash County, also successfully received a 90-day stay from a US District Court, prohibiting contractors from tree-cutting or even entering his property.
Because of the many legal hurdles, construction in North Carolina has been limited to the northern and southern extents of the route. If built, the ACP would travel through portions of eight counties in eastern North Carolina, including low-income areas, communities of color and tribal lands.