Several ABRA member groups and others have requested the Army Corps of Engineers to “immediately notify Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (‘Atlantic’) that authorization of construction of river, stream, and wetland crossings for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline under the Corps’ Nationwide Permit 12 is suspended pending the re-initiation and completion of Section 7 consultation under the Endangered Species Act (‘ESA’).” The June 1 letter, sent by Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on behalf of their respective clients, noted that as a result of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ May 15 decision vacating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Incidental Take Statement for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the “Corps’ consultation obligations for the project under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act are incomplete, and construction must not proceed until the defects of the Incidental Take Statement are resolved.”
Continuing, the letter argues:
Atlantic continues to make public statements and filings to FERC indicating it is pushing forward with pipeline construction. Therefore, prompt action by the Corps to suspend Nationwide Permit 12 authorization is necessary to meet the requirements of the ESA, Corps’ regulations, and Nationwide Permit 12, and to and prevent illegal harm to listed species. Should the Corps ignore these requirements and allow Atlantic to proceed with pipeline construction, the agency risks running afoul of the ESA’s prohibition on the “irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources” during consultation and incurring civil and criminal liability should listed species be taken.