Appeals court vacates key Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit

RICHMOND, Va. — A U.S. appeals court has tossed a key federal permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that deals with impacts on threatened or endangered species.A panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday vacated the permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.The court wrote that the agency’s decisions had been fast-tracked and the agency “appears to have lost sight” of its mandate. Four species that would be affected by the 600-mile (965-kilometre) natural gas pipeline were at issue in the appeal.A Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.The decision is the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the pipeline, construction of which has been on hold since December.Lead developer Dominion Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Associated Press