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Environmental group asks US Supreme Court to review Atlantic Sunrise ruling

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court appealing a court decision that denied the group's request for the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board to review a water certification given to the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project.

The group claims that the Sept. 4, 2018, decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit rejecting the challenge to Atlantic Sunrise's Clean Water Act Section 401 water quality certificate violated the rights of Pennsylvanians to appeal water quality certifications.

If the Supreme Court accepts the environmental group's petition for a writ of certiorari, it would set precedent for similar projects, including PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC's 1.1-Bcf/d gas pipeline project, Delaware Riverkeeper said in a Jan. 9 statement.

Atlantic Sunrise is operated by Williams Cos. Inc.'s Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC. Transco put the 1.7-Bcf/d Atlantic Sunrise expansion into service Oct. 6, 2018, bringing the company's total system capacity up to 15.8 Bcf/d.

Williams executives on a Nov. 1 earnings call said the company has already sanctioned a new natural gas pipeline expansion in Pennsylvania with the Atlantic Sunrise project up and running. Williams CEO Alan Armstrong also said in an interview with S&P Global market Intelligence in December that the company looks at its ventures in the Northeast as its biggest growth area for 2019.