Currents - Energy Industry Insights - June 2020 #3

Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC

Supreme Court Lifts Key Obstacle to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but More Challenges Remain -

"The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a lower court ruling that held up construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would cross hundreds of miles of West Virginia mountains to transport natural gas to East Coast markets."

Why this is important: While U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al. is a much needed win for the oil and gas industry, the case also highlights environmental groups' long-game strategy of challenging every aspect of gas infrastructure permit approvals. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline still requires key Endangered Species Act permits, and the elimination of Nationwide Permit 12 means the project must seek an individual Clean Water Act permit for dredge-and-fill activities —processes that can take months to complete, multiplied by the inevitable legal challenges every step of the way. In this game of chess, consistent permit challenges are proving to be a powerful tool in environmental groups' arsenal, and industry leaders must adapt and prepare for long-term project delays.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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