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Construction restarts on Atlantic Sunrise pipeline

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A federal appeals court has denied an emergency review of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project, allowing construction to resume immediately.

Judges temporarily halted work on the planned 186-mile natural gas pipeline Monday to give the courts time to consider pipeline opponents' request for an emergency stay on the project. The stay would have stopped construction pending additional review of the company's plans and their environmental impact.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied that motion for a stay Wednesday, pipeline owner Williams Partners LP said in a news release.

"We will promptly resume construction activities on this important pipeline project, which will leverage existing energy infrastructure to deliver economic growth and help millions of Americans gain access to affordable Pennsylvania-produced clean-burning natural gas," Williams Partners COO Micheal Dunn said in a statement Wednesday. "Thousands of workers in Pennsylvania will be back on the job tomorrow."

About 2,300 people are working on the pipeline, which will run from northern Pennsylvania to southwestern Lancaster County. About half of those workers are from Pennsylvania, while the rest are out-of-state crews. Williams says the pipeline will support an additional 6,000 jobs in related industries.

Williams subsidiary Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. started site work in September on the project, an extension of the company's existing Transco pipeline, after several years of back-and-forth with state and federal regulators.

The company drew and continues to draw criticism from groups worried about the pipeline's environmental impact and safety, as well as the company's use of eminent domain to seize easements needed for the project.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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