On Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) request for an en banc (full 15-judge panel) rehearing of the Court’s December 2018 ruling that overturned needed federal approvals for the U.S. Forest Service Appalachian Trail crossing authorization. In the December ruling, the court also found that the U. S. Forest Service violated federal law when it granted authorization for the pipe-line to cross the George Washington and Monongahela national forests near the West Virginia/Virginia line.
In a statement for Dominion, Media Relations Manager Karl Neddenien said ACP’s en banc petition was supported by the Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service, as well as by several prominent industry, labor and business groups.
Dominion Energy expects an appeal to be filed to the Supreme Court of the United States in the next 90 days.
The company is also pursuing legislative and administrative options as previously discussed on Dominion Energy’s February 1, 2018 earnings call.
“We are confident that the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture have the authority to resolve the Appalachian Trail crossing issue administratively in a manner that satisfies the Court’s stated objection and in a timeframe consistent with a restart of at least partial construction during the third quarter,” Neddenien said. “We will continue to work to resolve the outstanding biological opinion issue as well as the Appalachian Trail issue and continue to believe, as a result, that at least partial construction will recommence in the third quarter of 2019.
“The project cost and timing guidance provided on the Company’s February 1 earnings call fully contemplated the possibility of an unsuccessful en banc request.
Therefore, yesterday’s Fourth Circuit decision does not alter our operating EPS guidance as provided to the investment community on that call. Dominion Energy remains confident in the full completion of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline along the entire 600-mile route.”
Dominion Energy is a 48 percent owner of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.