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Activists cautiously celebrate delay of Atlantic Sunrise pipeline

Atlantic Sunrise pipeline

FILE PHOTO: Protesters gathered in January to ceremonially burn the environmental impact statement for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. (Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania)

(Harrisburg) — Anti-pipeline activists are hesitantly celebrating after a federal court ordered a temporary halt on construction for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

The project is slated to run through 10 Pennsylvania counties, including Lancaster, Lebanon, Northumberland, and Schuylkill.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested since construction started in September.

Several groups filed a motion last month, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to order work halted until federal regulators do a more comprehensive review on the environmental impacts.

Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck, co-founder of the group Lancaster Against Pipelines, said she spent a lot of time on the phone with lawyers after the court’s order Monday.

“I can’t believe it, like, does this mean they can’t continue with construction? Like, seriously? Because that doesn’t happen very often,” she said.

Clatterbuck said while it’s noteworthy, the temporary delay doesn’t mean activists can sit back. Her group is planning on future demonstrations and education efforts.

“I’m trying not to be too hopeful,” she said. “I understand this could be a temporary thing. But I also feel like we have to celebrate that this is maybe a change and a more just decision for the people.”

A statement from pipeline company Williams stresses the stay is only to give the court more time to consider the emergency motion, and is not a ruling on the merits of it.

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