The November 17 decision by the U.S. Forest Service to authorize the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to cross the Monongahela and George Washington National Forests was met with strong statements of disagreement. ABRA released a statement to the media saying:
“We firmly disagree with the decision announced today by the U.S. Forest Service to allow construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through publicly owned forest lands – valued by millions of visitors and the source of drinking water for thousands of people. We believe this decision is based on seriously deficient and incorrect information. The action imperils some of the nation’s most treasured natural resources and reflects a rush to judgment that is contrary to the standards of deliberation that we have a right to expect from the Forest Service. The decision should be strongly challenged.”
The Sierra Club issued a statement that “national forests, like our communities, deserve protection, not a roughshod review and hasty approval to be cut down for an unnecessary fossil fuel project. The Forest Service and FERC have failed to show there is a need for a new right of way for this project–or for this pipeline at all. Dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline threaten our health, prosperity, communities and public lands. The Forest Service’s decision to rubber-stamp this fracked gas project violates the agency’s duty to steward our public lands.” Wild Virginia said that the action had “betrayed the public trust” and “would fragment forests, threaten many natural features, and damage legitimate and valuable human uses.”
Legal challenges to the issuance by the Forest Service of a Special Use Permit for the ACP are anticipated.