The $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline would send methane gas 300 miles from the Marcellus shale fields in West Virginia to Virginia, crossing almost 1,000 streams and wetlands, and now a national forest. Earlier this week the Agriculture Department granted the pipeline company’s request to cut through 3.5 miles of the Jefferson National Forest, one of the last federal hurdles the project needed to overcome.

“The Forest Service’s preferred alternative to allow [the pipeline] to rip through the Jefferson National Forest grossly underestimates the lasting environmental harms from the project, ignores the overwhelming public opposition to sacrificing this treasured land and shirks the agency’s responsibility to steward forests,” said Jessica Sims with Appalachian Voice. This is the third time the Agriculture Department has tried to allow the pipeline to be constructed through the national forest.

The previous two attempted rulings were rejected by federal judges for failing to adequately consider “the actual sedimentation and erosion impacts of the pipeline.” This latest ruling is also expected to be litigated. (AP, Reuters, Common Dreams, Seeking Alpha, Fox News, New York Times $)