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Supreme Court Strikes Down Ruling on Big Gas Pipeline in Major Blow to Environmental Groups

The Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling from earlier this month that blocked construction of the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from proceeding.

In a short, unsigned order issued Thursday morning, the Supreme Court vacated the July 10 stay orders from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the lower court sided with plaintiffs — environmental groups Wilderness Society and Appalachian Voices, which had sued to stop the pipeline construction. The 4th Circuit ruling was opposed by the Biden administration, bipartisan lawmakers and the fossil fuel industry.

“Whatever benefit respondents or the court of appeals might believe would be gained by having the agencies again reconsider the challenged actions, Congress has determined that further reconsideration is unwarranted and has prioritized MVP’s ‘timely’ completion over interests addressed by any other federal statutes,” the Department of Justice wrote in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court last week.

“That judgment is for Congress alone,” the brief continued.

The Department of Justice brief was one of numerous briefs filed in the case. Opponents of the 4th Circuit ruling pointed to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the recent bipartisan debt limit bill President Biden signed in early June, which green-lit all permits for the MVP project.

The debt limit bill also shifted judicial review jurisdiction from the 4th Circuit, which has a lengthy track record of siding with environmental groups, to the U.S. District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.

Days after the lower court ruling, on July 14, the pipeline’s developer asked the Supreme Court to vacate the stay. The high court gave plaintiffs until Tuesday to file a response.

“The Fourth Circuit judges are not supreme rulers and lawful orders issued by the legislative and executive branches must be followed,” GOP Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital on July 19. “Congress was well within its power to restart the Mountain Valley Pipeline construction and usher in a new era of energy independence for the region.”

“Instead of halting the pipeline, I urge the Supreme Court to plug up the ludicrous activism seeping out of the lower court so American families can enjoy lower energy costs, substantial land royalties, and most importantly – law and order in America,” he added.

Reschenthaler led a group of seven fellow representatives and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va, in filing a brief in support of the MVP project’s permits.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who played a role in securing the pipeline in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, filed his own amicus brief in the case on July 18.

“The Supreme Court has spoken and this decision to let construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline move forward again is the correct one. I am relieved that the highest court in the land has upheld the law Congress passed and the President signed,” Manchin said in a statement Thursday.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America, a large labor union; GOP West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice; American Gas Association; American Petroleum Institute; Chamber of Commerce; and counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives all filed briefs in support of the pipeline.

According to Equitrans Midstream, the pipeline’s developer, MVP will transport about 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from West Virginia to consumers in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic. The pipeline is projected to generate $40 million in new tax revenue for West Virginia, $10 million in new tax revenue for Virginia and up to $250 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners.

  • Russell P. Fedoriw says:

    It’s about time the Supreme Court acted in behalf of the American people instead of the squeaky wheel.

  • southersgolfer says:

    This is a good start to get America back on track. Hey Kerry, put that in your pipe and smoke it you loser. Next, we need to get the Keystone up and running again. It will take some time but we should be able to see prices come down in the coming months.

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