Case Summary Citation

U.S. Forest Serv. v. Cowpasture River Preservation Ass’n., 140 S. Ct. 1837 (2020).


The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the United States Forest Service and Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, a company who planned to construct a natural gas pipeline under a section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail within the George Washington National Forest. The legal battle sought to clarify whether the United States Forest Service had the authority to grant the pipeline builder a right-of-way across the Appalachian Trail. The Court ruled that the National Park Service holds an easement for administering the Appalachian Trail, but the land over which the trail crosses remains under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service. Therefore, under the Mineral Leasing Act, the Forest Service had the authority to grant Atlantic Coast Pipeline a pipeline right-of-way under the Appalachian Trail.



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