Press Release

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cowpasture Case

October 4, 2019

Update July 5, 2020: Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced that they were canceling the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.


HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (Oct. 4, 2019) – Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on how energy infrastructure is sited across the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). This case, Cowpasture River Preservation Association, et al. v. United States Forest Service, holds the U.S. Forest Service could not issue permits for a natural gas pipeline that would cross a National Park Service (NPS) unit — in this case, the A.T. As decided by the Fourth Circuit, the Mineral Leasing Act (the law upon which the decision was made) allows only NPS to authorize permits allowing infrastructure to cross one of its units. For information and analysis of this decision, read our blog post, The Cowpasture Decision.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is monitoring this situation closely and will be working with our partners to ensure every possible action is taken to ensure the A.T. experience is protected for future generations.

As this appeal moves forward, we will continue to inform our members, volunteers and A.T. lovers worldwide through a series of blog posts on our website — links to our first two posts can be found below:

To support our advocacy efforts to protect the Trail and its surrounding landscapes, we ask you to join the ATC as a member and consider making a donation. Your support makes us a strong voice for the Trail.


Appalachian Trail Conservancy

About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,192 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794