Judge Rules Pipeline Does Not Do Enough to Protect Endangered Animals

May 16, 2018


The rusty-patched bumblebee is one of several endangered species that could be affected by pipeline construction.
Credit Wikimedia

Judges in Richmond have thrown out a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Environmental groups are celebrating the decision as a big victory, but Dominion Energy says they plan to keep building anyway.


Environmentalists have the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee to thank for what could be a halt in construction of the controversial natural gas pipeline.


The bumblee is one of several endangered species that live along the 600-mile route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A panel of judges now say a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t do enough to protect those endangered species.


“This Fish and and Wildlife Service Decision, like many other federal agency decisions, was rushed out under intense political pressure,” says DJ Gerken, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.


“Approvals by other agencies like FERC and the Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers all relied on this decision,” Gerken says. “So it’s a domino that takes out several other approvals and stops work on the project.”  


Dominion disagrees, saying in a statement that the revoked permit only applies to certain areas, and that construction can move forward as scheduled. They say they’ll work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to fix the permit.

The ruling has no impact on the Mountain Valley Pipeline.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.