Energy Companies Cancel $8 Billion Appalachian Trail Pipeline Project

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was going to be built under the Appalachian Trail through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

An $8 billion project to run a 600-mile-long natural gas pipeline under the Appalachian Trail has been canceled.

Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc., the companies behind the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, announced Sunday that they were shutting down the project “due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.”

The pipeline was set to be built under the Appalachian Trail, through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. For years, environmentalists fought back against its construction over the potential threats to endangered species in the area and the destruction of nature.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in a case that focused on regulations that blocked project from moving forward.

Duke Energy said in a statement that the Supreme Court ruling “vindicated the project and decisions made by permitting agencies,” but added that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays for ACP.”

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters, which fought to conserve the land where the pipeline was planned, celebrated the cancellation of the project as a victory.

“Its effective defeat today is a huge victory for Virginia’s environment, for environmental justice, and a testament to the power of grassroots action, the hundreds of driven, determined, frontline advocates who never stopped fighting this misguided project,” the league’s executive director Michael Town said in a statement.

In their own statement, Greenpeace, another conservation organization, praised the activists who opposed the project.

“Duke and Dominion had hoped to carve up beautiful mountains, ignore catastrophic climate change, and delay a just transition to renewable energy to build this pipeline, but, thanks to the courageous activists who stood up to them, they have failed,” the organization said Sunday.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reacted negatively to the pipeline’s cancellation on Sunday.

“I’m disappointed to learn plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have been cancelled,” Manchin said in his own statement. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project took meaningful steps to ensure the pipeline was safely constructed and the Appalachian Trail and surrounding areas were protected.”

Virginia’s Chamber of Commerce also decried the project’s cancellation, noting that it would have created an estimated 17,000 jobs in the state.

“Unfortunately, today’s announcement detrimentally impacts the Commonwealth’s access to affordable, reliable energy,” the chamber said in a statement. “It also demonstrates the significant regulatory burdens businesses must deal with in order to operate.”

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