Judge refuses to delay hearing on pipeline land acquisition

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)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to postpone a hearing in a lawsuit brought by developers seeking possession of land in several Virginia counties for a controversial pipeline project.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline is seeking possession of several properties in Augusta, Bath, Buckingham and Cumberland counties for the natural gas pipeline, which would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
The judge declined Monday to postpone a Feb. 26 hearing regarding land in Bath County, but he ordered developers to turn over more information and gave property owners more time to respond. Disputes over land in other counties also will be addressed at next Monday’s hearing.
Developers say federal environmental regulations require completion of any tree felling by March 14, and that missing that deadline would push back construction until November.