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Supreme Court Removes One Hurdle For Atlantic Coast Pipeline, But Others Remain

The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would terminate in Robeson County, North Carolina. Construction has stalled on the pipeline, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed one permitting hurdle last week.
The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would terminate in Robeson County, North Carolina. Construction has stalled on the pipeline, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed one permitting hurdle last week.
The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would terminate in Robeson County, North Carolina. Construction has stalled on the pipeline, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed one permitting hurdle last week.
Credit Lyndsey Gilpin
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The 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would terminate in Robeson County, North Carolina. Construction has stalled on the pipeline, but the U.S. Supreme Court removed one permitting hurdle last week.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week allows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to travel under a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

Host Anita Rao talks with Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly, about the state of construction for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

A lower court denied the U.S. Forest Service the right to grant a permit to Dominion Energy, the lead developer of the proposed 600-mile long pipeline, to carry out the construction two years ago. Dominion Energy appealed the case, and the Supreme Court now upholds the Forest Service’s authority. The ruling sets a precedent that other pipeline projects — such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline that covers a different route through West Virginia and Virginia and recently received approval for an extension into central North Carolina — can cross the trail in the future.

But construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline remains halted as the developers work to obtain eight other environmental permits.  The pipeline also travels through several rural, low-income and predominantly Black and Indigenous communities, some of which are continuing to organize in opposition to the construction. As state legislatures in North Carolina and Virginia announce plans to move towards renewables, is there still a need for these large pipelines?

Host Anita Rao speaks with Lyndsey Gilpin, founder and editor-in-chief of Southerly, about the Supreme Court ruling and the future of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the southeast.

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.