Today’s ruling puts centuries of American history in jeopardy.
Washington, DC – A federal district court today ruled against National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), determining that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers complied with federal environmental laws when granting Dominion Energy the necessary permit to build a massive transmission line across the James River at historic Jamestown. Today’s ruling allows Dominion to start construction of 17 massive transmission towers in one of our country’s most significant and historic landscapes.
“Today’s decision was a major setback for historic Jamestown and the other national park sites in the region, including Colonial National Historical Park, Colonial Parkway and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association. “The James River and its surrounding landscape protect our rich history and provide an opportunity for millions of visitors to learn about our country’s founding stories. Sadly, the court’s decision today puts that history and the health of our public lands in jeopardy.”
NPCA sued the Army Corps in 2017, claiming the federal agency granted Dominion Energy a permit to construct a supersized electric transmission line that would include building 17 obstructive transmission towers, some as tall as 295 feet, across the James River at historic Jamestown in Virginia, without properly analyzing the project’s environmental impacts to the landscape and failing to consider viable alternatives. Despite NPCA’s powerful argument, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia today found no major legal flaws in the project’s federally required environmental analysis. The court felt that the Army Corps completed a legally adequate review of reasonable alternatives and afforded sufficient public process, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The construction of this project would deface Jamestown and nearby national park sites like Colonial National Historical Park, Colonial Parkway and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which collectively protect more than 400 years of our shared American history. This project would also threaten federally endangered species like the Atlantic sturgeon, that rely on the James River for critical habitat and spawning.
“For more than six years, NPCA and our partners have fought for Jamestown and the irreplaceable legacy that it represents,” added Pierno. “While we are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling, we will continue to fight to ensure this place and all it represents is protected.”
NPCA is represented in this case by the public interest environmental law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP. More information about the years-long campaign to protect historic Jamestown is available here.
About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
About Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP Since 1993, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP has represented national, regional, and grassroots conservation organizations in federal litigation on issues of national importance. Please direct any legal inquiries about this lawsuit to Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP.
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