Atlantic Coast Pipeline secures another key federal permit

FILE - This Sept. 29, 2016, file photo, shows a section of the Dakota Access Pipeline under construction near the town of St. Anthony in Morton County, N.D. The Army has notified Congress Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, that it will allow the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline to cross under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota, completing the four-state project to move North Dakota oil to Illinois. The Army intends to allow the crossing under Lake Oahe as early as Wednesday, Feb. 8. The crossing is the final big chunk of work on the pipeline. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has cleared another key regulatory hurdle.
The U.S. Forest Service granted approval Friday for the natural gas pipeline to run through the George Washington National Forest and Monongahela National Forest.
About 21 miles (33 kilometers) of the 600-mile-long (965 kilometers) project are located on National Forest Service lands, including where it will cross the Appalachian Trail.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signed off last month on the approximately $5 billion project that would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Key state-level water permits are still pending.
Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby says the Forest Service decision is a major step toward final approval later this year.
Environmental groups criticized the approval and some said they would challenge it.