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Federal Court Postpones Pipelines

Oil and gas pipelines may face delays for the rest of the year due to an important federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

The California-based court ruled in a case dealing specifically with the infamous Keystone XL Pipeline. However, it will likely affect pipeline construction across the country, including our own state. Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline is slated to stretch into North Carolina.

The decision leaves in place Montana federal judge Brian Morris’ previous ruling. Morris questioned the Army Corps of Engineers’ method for approving nationwide pipeline stream crossings, specifically that federal agencies are not properly consulted on those crossings’ environmental impacts. 

Project permits left in legal limbo past the end of the current presidential administration may be vulnerable to reconsideration by order of the next president. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced he will revoke the Keystone permit if elected. Multiple national environmental groups praised the court’s decision to leave Keystone and other pipelines on hold in the meantime. 

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