Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Appalachian Trail Conservancy opposes legislation expediting pipeline construction in national parks

PipelineHARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (July 7, 2015) – The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) strongly opposes legislation that would expedite pipeline construction in national parks, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.). Three bills—H.R. 2295 in the House of Representatives and S. 411 and S. 1196 in the Senate—would accelerate review of natural gas pipeline approvals and would allow the Secretary of the Interior to issue natural gas pipeline rights of way on National Park Service (NPS) lands.

“National Park Service land—including major portions of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail—is set aside for the preservation and enjoyment of the American people. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy believes the current requirement that only Congress can approve these pipelines across national park units such as the A.T. should continue to be the law of the land,” said Ron Tipton, the ATC’s executive director/CEO.

The proposed legislation would authorize the Secretary to issue a right of way on NPS lands, reversing the longstanding prohibition on allowing such pipelines in national parks. The development of pipeline infrastructure is inconsistent with the conservation mandate of NPS as set forth in the NPS Organic Act, and not allowing the NPS to permit a right of way for pipelines has not prevented the issue of permits through Congressional action. Expediting the siting of new gas pipeline infrastructure on NPS lands would very likely cause significant damage to the integrity of the Trail.

The designation of National Energy Security Corridors for the construction of natural gas pipelines on Federal lands should be a key piece of any national energy policy. Expediting pipeline approvals without such a policy in place is inconsistent with best management of our public lands.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is concerned about the cumulative impacts that multiple pipelines, and associated infrastructure, could have on the Appalachian Trail, its recreational value, and surrounding public lands,” said Laura Belleville, the ATC’s director of Conservation. “Although the ATC recognizes that the demand for energy resources is increasing, we also believe this demand should be met first with increased energy conservation and a renewable energy supply. Expediting new pipelines on public lands without a thorough analysis of impacts is not the answer.”

The ATC urges the public to contact the appropriate Congressional representatives and oppose the current version of H.R. 2295, S. 411 and S. 1196. To contact a state senator or a representative, visit www.usa.gov.

For more information about the ATC’s stance on pipelines, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/pipelines.

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,190 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: National, Politics

Tags: , ,

Comments (2)

Suzanne Keller

July 8th, 2015 at 10:46 AM    


Why are we even debating this lunacy. If we do not stop subsidizing and enabling the oil and gas industry they will destroy our landscapes and environment in the service of their addiction to power and profits. We must focus on renewable energy and stop the extreme extraction of fossil fuels. Virginia, in case you haven't noticed, has become a sacrifice zone. Thus far our Senators, Governor and General Assembly work for the oil and gas industry and not for us. How do you like living in a third world state?

Christina Courtenay

July 13th, 2015 at 6:19 PM    


Great question. I hate what is happening in Va. and believe that if the public woke up we would either vote our Senators, Governor and State Ass. OUT. Can we impeach the Governor?

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