The U.S. Forest Service granted approval Friday for the natural gas pipeline to run through the George Washington National Forest and Monongahela National Forest.
The final decision does the following:
• Authorizes the use and occupancy of National Forest System (NFS) lands for the ACP Project.
• Amends the standards in the Plan to allow the construction and operation of the ACP Project to vary from certain restrictions on soil and riparian corridor conditions. Mitigation measures to protect soil and riparian areas would be required.
• Allows the issuance of special use permits in northern long-eared bat habitat where applicable mitigation measures will be implemented.
• Designates a 50-foot-wide permanent right-of-way. No utility corridor would be designated; therefore a Plan level amendment on the GWNF to allocate lands into a 5-C Designated Utility Corridor would not be needed.
• Allows the ACP Project to cross under the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (ANST) in Augusta County, VA at a location where existing impacts do not already exist.
• Performs reconstruction of portions of a Forest Road within a Management Prescription Area 2C3-Eligible Recreational Rivers to provide access for pipeline construction.
• Allows the ACP Project a five-year period to perform mitigation to meet Forest Plan scenic integrity objectives (SIO) for areas of high scenic value and other high use recreation areas, except for a short segment of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, where the SIO would be changed to Low.
Source: U.S. Forest Service