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Appeals court throws out another pipeline permit

February 4, 2022 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — For the second time in as many weeks a federal appeals court threw out a permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline on Thursday.

In a written opinion, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found “serious errors” with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s conclusion that building the pipeline across rugged mountainsides wouldn’t jeopardize endangered species in its path — specifically the Roanoke logperch and the candy darter, The Roanoke Times reported.

Last week, the same three-judge panel shot down a permit that would have allowed the pipeline to pass through a 3.5 mile (5.6 kilometer) section of the Jefferson National Forest. In both cases, the judges faulted the U.S. Forest Service and the wildlife agency for failing to adequately assess the pipeline’s environmental impact. The 303-mile (487-kilometer) pipeline would transport natural gas drilled from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations through West Virginia and Virginia.

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“We recognize that this decision will further delay the completion of an already mostly finished pipeline, but the Endangered Species Act’s directive to federal agencies could not be clearer: halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost,” the 40-page opinion concluded.

Mountain Valley said it is reviewing the court’s decision and evaluating its next steps.