The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) received a December 11 request from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP,LLC) to permit it to conduct certain stabilization measures due to the company’s cessation of work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) in the wake of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals December 7 decision to stay the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement for the project. The ACP, LLC request included a plan to install pipe that is strung and welded next to trenches already dug.
On December 21 the Southern Environmental Law Center, Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Chesapeake Bay Foundation asked FERC to require the company to remove strung pipe from the right-of-way rather than allow it to continue to install pipe along a route that is not authorized by law. The SELC, et. al. letter, pointing to the several Fourth Circuit decisions in recent months striking down various permits for the ACP, stated:
Despite lacking effective mandatory authorizations for the project since September, Atlantic has continued to proceed with stringing pipe along the right-of-way. The Commission should not now countenance the decision by Atlantic to proceed in the absence of key permits by allowing Atlantic to install the pipe it brought to the right-of-way at its own risk. The pipe should be removed to ensure compliance with applicable laws, and not furtherance of a predetermined route unauthorized by law. Atlantic must only be allowed to take those actions that are truly necessary to ensure the stabilization of the right-of-way and work areas. Pipe installation is not necessary to stabilize a trench. Atlantic has provided stabilization techniques for areas where the trench is dug but pipe is not currently strung out on the right-of-way.
Concluding, the letter says:
Atlantic gambled and continued constructing its pipeline in the face of numerous stayed and suspended authorizations. Atlantic is now asking the Commission to endorse that decision by allowing Atlantic to install pipe strung out on the right-of-way under the pretense of “stabilization.” The Commission should not accept this hollow justification and should order Atlantic to stop all such construction along the right-of-way.