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    The Mineral Leasing Act is rearing its ugly head once again, and this time to put a permanent scar on the beloved Appalachian Trail. In fact, they have been approved to drop a gas line RIGHT ACROSS it!

    The U.S. Supreme Court said an energy company could run a gas pipeline across the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Virginia. It was a clear cut decision of 7-2 ruling on Monday. It’s a heated debate over whether the land that the trail cuts through is protected as a National Park area or not.

    In support of the trail, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan cited the Trails Act:

    “By statutory definition, the Appalachian Trail is land in the National Park System, and the Mineral Leasing Act does not permit rights-of-way across it.”

    Justice, Sonia Sotomayor

    Here is the opposing argument, that cited the Weeks Act of 1911 and ultimately swayed the decision to go the way it did:

    “We hold that the Department of the Interior’s decision to assign responsibility over the Appalachian Trail to the National Park Service did not transform the land over which the Trail passes into land within the National Park System,” wrote Justice Thomas. “Accordingly, the Forest Service had the authority to issue the permit here.”

    Justice, Clarence Thomas

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    Protecting the Appalachian Trail

    If you would like to learn more about getting involved, head over to to learn how you can do your part. Check out this beautiful video made by the Guardians of the Appalachian Trail.