We seek to avoid, minimize, or eliminate the visual and experiential impacts of all utilities, including oil, gas, and petroleum products pipelines, on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and its surrounding landscapes. Where it is not possible to eliminate impacts, our goal is to obtain mitigation or offsets that result in no net loss of Trail values.
In the past year, the ATC and the National Park Service have learned of several proposed gas pipelines that, if approved, will be built across the Appalachian Trail. Due to expanded gas extraction in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the number of proposed pipelines to cross A.T. lands will increase.
We need to be concerned not only about the local impacts of individual pipeline proposals, but also about the cumulative impacts that multiple pipelines, and the associated infrastructure, could have on the A.T. and its recreational value.
What we’re doing:
We’re engaged with our partners and gaining knowledge. The National Park Service has briefed the ATC and Regional Partnership Committees. A Park Service energy specialist has offered informational webinars for staff and volunteer leaders about gas pipelines and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) permitting process. In addition, ATC and Appalachian National Scenic Trail staff are working internally with other eastern National Parks and National Forests affected by this increase in pipelines to review proposals and better understand potential impacts to the broader landscape.
We have new policy guidance on pipelines and the A.T. This policy, which was was adopted in 2015, will serve as a framework when deciding our stance on any individual pipeline project.
We’re seeking more information about proposed projects. Our conservation staff is meeting with industry representatives to understand the proposed routes for new pipelines.
What you can do:
Stay informed. Those interested may track individual pipeline proposals using the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website.
Pay attention. NPS and the ATC regional staff are asking Trail club volunteers and agency partners to report any news they hear, or activities that suggest a pipeline is being considered, such as surveyors and realty investigators in A.T. counties and towns. The ATC regional staff contacts for pipeline proposals are as follows:
Contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to offer your perspective. This section of the FERC website outlines different ways that landowners and citizens can participate in decision making on proposed natural gas projects.
Contact your elected officials to share your views. Find contact information for local and state officials here.
Participate in local and state hearings and discussions about pipeline routes starting as early as possible in the process.