Magazine article Earth Island Journal

Doing Dr. Seuss Proud

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

Doing Dr. Seuss Proud

Article excerpt

In a decision that has rallied pipeline protesters and Dr. Seuss fans alike, a federal appeals court in Virginia quoted The Lorax in its ruling rejecting a key United States Forest Service (USFS) permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. In December, the court issued a 60-page decision excoriating the Forest Service for giving in to industry interests and falling short of its duty to steward public lands.

"We trust the United States Forest Service to 'speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,'" wrote Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, quoting Dr. Seuss's classic 1971 book The Lorax, in the decision. "A thorough review of the record leads to the necessary conclusion that the Forest Service abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources."

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a multi-billion-dollar project led by Dominion Energy, would carry natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, and was slated to cross both the George Washington and Monongahela national forests. Though the USFS initially raised environmental questions about the project, these serious concerns "were suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company's deadlines," the opinion states.

As The Washington Post reports, though initially asked to submit ten possible routes for the pipeline, in late 2016 Dominion submitted just two to the Forest Service. Both routes passed through National Forest land and crossed the Appalachian Trail--an apparent effort to avoid alternative routes that would require crossing the trail on land managed by the National Park Service. …

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