The New York Times
by Adam Liptak
A challenge from environmental groups to an $8 billion natural gas pipeline that would cross the Appalachian Trail seemed to falter at the Supreme Court on Monday, with even some of the court’s more liberal members expressing skepticism about the breadth of the groups’ legal theory.
The case concerns the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would deliver gas from West Virginia through Virginia, where it crosses the famous hiking trail, to North Carolina.
The legal question for the justices is whether the U.S. Forest Service was entitled to grant a right of way to the pipeline. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., said no, citing a federal law that bars agencies from authorizing pipelines in “lands in the National Park System.”
Monday’s argument was by turns metaphysical and practical.
Anthony A. Yang, a lawyer for the federal government, arguing in support of the pipeline’s developers, said the trail, administered by the National Park Service, was distinct from the land underneath it. MORE...
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