In a stunning announcement Sunday, the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they are cancelling the controversial project.
Despite a victory last month at the United States Supreme Court over a critical permit, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a news release that ongoing legal challenges to other projects around the country create too much uncertainty for the pipeline. They also stated that those challenges would lead to further costly delays for the 600-mile project designed to cross West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.
The companies said a recent pair of court rulings have thrown into question a permitting program used around the nation to approve oil and gas pipelines and other utility work through wetlands and streams.
The eight-billion-dollar project was announced in 2014 and drew fierce opposition from landowners, environmental groups and advocates for environmental justice. Getting the project built would have involved removing thousands of trees and blasting and leveling some ridgetops as the 42-inch pipe crossed mountains, streams, private property and burrowed underneath the Appalachian Trail.
Opponents also questioned the efficacy of a new natural gas project at a time when climate change made renewable energy imperative.