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Pipeline Construction Victory

Attorney General Morrisey-Led Coalition Wins Supreme Court Victory For Pipeline Construction

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey expressed extreme gratification Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court once again agreed with a West Virginia- and Texas-led, 18-state coalition to block a Montana district court’s erroneous decision, which brought construction of many pipelines nationally to a grinding halt.

“This decision will help protect West Virginia jobs and ensures that one Montana district court judge doesn’t possess the power to drive national policy on such a critical issue,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our record on protecting West Virginia jobs is second to none. We will continue to litigate and defend the energy jobs and all of the workers of our state from far-reaching and deeply problematic judicial decisions.” 

The Supreme Court’s move lifts what had been a sudden and unexpected halt to construction projects far beyond and unrelated to the project in question.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s decision comes on the heels of a deeply disappointing announcement Sunday to halt construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – a shortsighted move that will cost West Virginians more than 1,500 jobs. If ever there was a time to revisit a decision, this would be it. 

The original lawsuit focused upon a permit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. Instead, the Attorney General’s 18-state coalition argued the district court order inappropriately used that issue to strike down all projects that employed the same permitting process nationwide.

The Attorney General argued, without a stay by the Supreme Court, the district court order in Montana would have immediately disrupted the economy at an already precarious time as the projects — and the energy resources they provide — are critical to each state.

The states contended the district court ruling would make needed infrastructure projects significantly more costly and time-consuming — and potentially render some completely unfeasible.

Oil and gas now account for more than half of domestic energy production, and for the first time since 1957, America produces more energy than it consumes. For instance, in West Virginia, new technology has tapped untold reserves of natural gas from shale deposits. This growth has brought considerable economic opportunities.

The West Virginia- and Texas-led brief carries support from attorneys general in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.