Supreme Court allows work on contested natural gas pipeline to resume

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed work on a natural gas pipeline crossing federal land in Virginia to resume over the objections of environmental groups.

The justices granted an emergency request filed by Mountain Valley Pipeline, meaning that final elements of the 303.5 mile pipeline running from the northwestern part of West Virginia to southern Virginia can be finished.

In doing so, the court blocked decisions by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, that prevented the project from moving forward. The appeals court intervened despite Congress including language in the recently enacted Fiscal Responsibility Act backed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that stripped courts of authority to review approval of the pipeline.

Construction of the pipeline is almost finished. The dispute before the Supreme Court was over a 3.5-mile stretch in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia as well as several stream crossings outside the forest.