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Regulator won't stop work on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

(MGNOnline.com photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Federal regulators are not immediately stopping work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, even though a federal appeals court invalidated a key permit for the project.

Environmental groups suing over the permit say Tuesday's court order means construction or any associated activity on the multistate pipeline must stop.

Instead, an official with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a letter Wednesday directing the pipeline to simply file documentation within five days explaining how it will avoid harming threatened or endangered species. The letter notes that developers informed the commission they will not proceed with construction in areas where such sensitive wildlife might be affected.

D.J. Gerken is an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says the commission staff appears to be "skipping lightly" over the requirement that a valid permit be in place.

Gerken says it's too soon to comment on next steps.

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