A coalition of environmental and conservation organizations, including 12 members of ABRA, filed a legal challenge to the Virginia State Water Control Board’s December 12 approval of a water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). The suit, filed with the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals late on January 18 by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and Appalachian Mountain Advocates on behalf of the client group, charges that the Board’s decision failed to consider the impacts of the project on water quality in Virginia sufficiently to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.
The plaintiffs include the following ABRA members: Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, Friends of Buckingham, Highlanders for Responsible Development, Jackson River Preservation Association, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, the Sierra Club, Virginia Wilderness Committee, and Wild Virginia.
In separate legal actions, also taken on January 18, SELC on behalf of the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and Virginia Wilderness Committee filed a legal challenge to a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a legal challenge on behalf of the Sierra Club and The Virginia Wilderness Committee to a decision by the National Park Service. The agencies both issued permits for the pipeline. These decisions further highlight agency failures to adequately review crucial information in a process that is being driven by developers rather than regulators.
A copy of the lawsuit challenging the SWCB decision will be posted on the ABRA website on Friday.