As reported in the May issue of The Highlands Voice, a United States District Court Judge in Montana has voided Nationwide Permit 12, an important permit that is necessary for waterways and wetland crossings for pipelines. Because the permit which the Court declared void was nationwide, this has an impact upon all pipelines, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The Corps of Engineers has appealed the decision of the District Court for Montana to the Court of Appeals. As part of that appeal, it asked the Court of Appeals to stay the decision while the appeal was being considered. After the Court of Appeals turned down the request for a stay, the United States Supreme Court stepped in granted the stay.
This means that the Nationwide Permit 12 (upon which the Mountain Valley Pipeline will depend and upon which the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would have depended) remains in effect while the appeal is being considered by the Court of Appeals.
As with everything else concerning the pipelines, there are complications. The United States Supreme Court’s grant of the stay means that Nationwide Permit 12 remains available to the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Even if Nationwide Permit 12 remains in effect and available, there is controversy over whether the Mountain Valley Pipeline is eligible for that permit and should be allowed to use it.