On July 5, 2020 it was announced the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which would have carried fracked natural gas through 600 miles of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, will never be completed.
Pipeline owners Dominion and Duke Energy announced they were cancelling the fossil fuel project due to mounting delays and uncertainty. They said the many legal challenges to the project had driven up the projected costs by almost half, from $4.5 billion when it was first announced in 2014 to $8 billion according to the most recent estimate. Environmental and community groups, who have long opposed the project on climate, conservation and racial justice grounds, welcomed the news.
Then, on July 6, 2020 a District Court judge in Washington, D.C. ordered that the Dakota Access pipeline must shut down by Aug. 5, in a stunning defeat for the Trump administration and the oil industry.
The decision is a momentous win for American Indian tribes that have opposed the Energy Transfer Partners LP project for years.
The U.S. District Court said a crucial federal permit for Dakota Access fell too far short of National Environmental Policy Act requirements to allow the pipeline to continue operating while regulators conduct a broader analysis the court ordered in a previous decision.
The ruling scraps a critical permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, and requires the pipeline to end its three-year run of delivering oil from North Dakota shale fields to an Illinois oil hub.
Also on July 6, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court handed another setback to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada by keeping in place a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the project.
Canadian company TC Energy needs the permit to continue building the long-disputed pipeline across U.S. rivers and streams. Without it, the project that has been heavily promoted by President Donald Trump faces more delay just as work on it had finally begun this year following years of courtroom battles.
Monday’s Supreme Court order also put on hold an earlier court ruling out of Montana as it pertains to other oil and gas pipelines across the nation.