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    Default Yet Another Court Has Ruled Against an Appalachian Trail Pipeline - Backpacker


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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    UPDATE: SCOTUS to hear case on Monday, Feb 24th https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/02/a...-gas-pipeline/

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    Thanks for the update.

    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    UPDATE: SCOTUS to hear case on Monday, Feb 24th https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/02/a...-gas-pipeline/

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    Not exactly an impartial news story:

    "But one thing is clear: Large energy companies are having trouble forcing their will on communities and land managers with the same ease they have enjoyed in the past. When it comes to the Appalachian Trail and the 50-foot-wide permanent clear cut the pipeline would require across its corridor, there could scarcely be a better time for a change."

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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Not exactly an impartial news story:

    "But one thing is clear: Large energy companies are having trouble forcing their will on communities and land managers with the same ease they have enjoyed in the past. When it comes to the Appalachian Trail and the 50-foot-wide permanent clear cut the pipeline would require across its corridor, there could scarcely be a better time for a change."
    True - the OP article is from Backpacker Magazine. I'm pretty sure that most business magazines probably have an equally biased slant in the other direction. It's a big infrastructure project with a big footprint on the landscape - in the name of profit but largely being promoted as a public need. I'm not anti-development, but whenever a business throws out the "public good/public need" line, my BS detector goes off. There are competing interests. At the extremes are those who want zero impact vs those who believe businesses should be able to do darn near anything they want in the name of progress (or is that profit?). I believe that ultimately the pipeline will get built, probably by the proposed tunnel route which seems better than clear cutting through the forest. Regardless, not everybody is going to be happy with the outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    True - the OP article is from Backpacker Magazine. I'm pretty sure that most business magazines probably have an equally biased slant in the other direction. It's a big infrastructure project with a big footprint on the landscape - in the name of profit but largely being promoted as a public need. I'm not anti-development, but whenever a business throws out the "public good/public need" line, my BS detector goes off. There are competing interests. At the extremes are those who want zero impact vs those who believe businesses should be able to do darn near anything they want in the name of progress (or is that profit?). I believe that ultimately the pipeline will get built, probably by the proposed tunnel route which seems better than clear cutting through the forest. Regardless, not everybody is going to be happy with the outcome.
    In my experience there are perhaps hundreds of clear-cut paths for pipelines and power lines that cross the AT already. 50' is rather narrow. And for a gas pipeline, I would expect they're not going to let trees grow on top of the path even when the pipe is buried. Personally, I find these occasional clearings a good thing. They add variety, often open up views, and become reliable milestones to track your exact location on the trail.

    In the end, it's an economic choice that affects us all. Companies that run pipelines both make profits AND lower costs to consumers when they do such things.

    If they're going to eventually build the pipeline anyway, adding another $10 million in red tape cost is a "lose-lose" to both the company and the consumer. In the end, we're paying for all the bureaucracy we impose.

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    If I understand correctly, the one issue before the S.C. revolves around whether the AT is a “right of way” or actual park land in the location the NFS permitted.

    If just the former, then pipeline permit granted by the Forest Service is valid.

    If it’s determined to be park land, then no pipeline can be authorized there.

    Except by Congress.

    Special rules for pipelines and parks on federal lands, I think.


    My guess is no one thought about a 2200 mile long park (of which 80% is on federally owned property and off limits to pipelines) when law was written.

    Probably an oversimplification on my part. Obviously a lot of other issues involved in these kinds of things too.

    To my way of thinking, the AT is a physical park.

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    Not saying I pro or con on these new pipelines.
    I do know that many if not most of the pipelines where laid 30 or 40 years ago, with some in use today being over 50 years old, with 30/50 year old technology. Think about the visual infrastructure, roads, bridges, power-lines etc.. We can clearly see the deterioration of these things. Have the underground pipe-lines fared any better after all this time? Out of site out of mind.
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  9. #9

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    Link to NPR article from yesterday with good summary below.

    "One factor the conservancy considered was that the pipeline would cross the trail 700 feet underground, and that the pipeline would enter and exit on private land on either side of the mountain. For most of the pipeline's length, it would be buried less than 10 feet deep."

    Obviously there won't be any trees over the shallow sections, but would there be a need to maintain a clear-cut stretch on the AT when the pipe is 700 feet below the trail? Too bad Monday's arguments won't be live-streamed...

    https://www.npr.org/2020/02/21/807417611/supreme-court-pipeline-fight-could-disrupt-how-the-appalachian-trail-is-run

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    Try to keep it AT related and definitely leave general political talk out of the thread.
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    The NPR article is a good one, but does not fully explore the implications of whether the federal land over which the AT passes is to be treated as a national park.

    The article discusses the ATC’s concerns with doing so, but not potential importance of doing so with regard to other issues as they may arise in the future.

    The Amicus brief authored by Pam Underhill (a true friend of the AT) and others does.


    https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketP...ae%20Brief.pdf

    It is worth reading, too

    In the end, there is a simple remedy to get the pipeline through: Congressional authorization (law) and presidential approval.

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    Here is a report on the technical aspects of the proposed pipeline crossing of the AT, by retired U.Va. environmental scientist Rick Webb:

    http://www.friendsofshenandoahmounta...170206-hdd.pdf

    AT HDD slope map Screenshot_2020-03-02 20170206-hdd pdf.jpg

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