Federal court dissolves stay on construction of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County

Workers on site at an Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline construction area in Lancaster County on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (FOX43 photo)

LANCASTER COUNTY — UPDATE: The administrative stay ordered Tuesday has been dissolved, per an order by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

ORIGINAL: A federal appeals court has issued an administrative stay on construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, “pending further order of the court,” a spokesperson for Lancaster Against Pipelines announced Tuesday.

The ruling by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals comes in response to an emergency motion for stay filed by Lancaster Against Pipelines and several other environmental organizations, which called for a halt to construction unless or until the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conducts a more comprehensive environmental review and issues a more persuasive argument for the necessity of the project.

“The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion,” the court order reads.

In a press release lauding the court’s ruling, Lancaster Against Pipelines called the decision “a long overdue check of corporate overreach violating the rights of landowners, the environment, and our communities.”

“We look forward to the court’s final ruling on our challenge, which we hope will bring a permanent halt to this dangerous and unjust project,” Lancaster Against Pipelines added in the release.

Williams Partners responded by filing a motion for clarification with the court, the company said Tuesday.

“Atlantic Sunrise has undergone a nearly four-year, extensive review process and is operating and being
constructed in compliance with all state and federal permits,” said Micheal Dunn, Williams Partners’ chief
operating officer, in a press release announcing the motion. “These current actions by opponents of American energy are, this morning, idling thousands of workers in Pennsylvania and could delay the benefits of low-cost energy delivery to millions of American families.”

Dunn continued: “It is important to stress that this temporary stay is administrative and not related to the
project’s execution or its compliance with applicable federal or state regulations or permit conditions. It is
merely intended to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the motion recently filed by project
opponents and is not a ruling on the merits of that motion. Our expectation is that the court will expeditiously
complete its review.

“We have worked with countless elected officials, regulators, environmental consultants and landowners to
bring this vital U.S. energy project to construction, and a vast majority of stakeholders understand how critical
these types of projects are to economic growth, jobs and manufacturing expansion in addition to helping the
U.S. transition away from the use of higher carbon fuels.”