MLP ETFs Rally After Supreme Court Upholds Permit for Atlantic Pipeline

Master limited partnerships sector-related exchange traded funds surged Monday, with EQM Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: EQM) and Equitrans Midstream Corp (NYSE: ETRN) leading charge after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a key permit for Dominion Energy Inc.’s planned $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Among the best non-leveraged ETFs of Monday, the Global X MLP ETF (NYSEArca: MLPA) jumped 6.9%, ALPS Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEArca: AMLP) increased 6.2% and JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN (NYSEArca: AMJ) advanced 6.2%.

The Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling said the Forest Service acted lawfully when clearing the natural-gas line to cross under the Appalachian Trail, Bloomberg reports.

The ruling paves the way for a 600-mile pipeline, which could transfer as much as 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the Marcellus shale basin in West Virginia to the North Carolina and Virginia regions.

Dominion Energy Inc (NYSE: D) pared earlier losses and was trading up 1.5% late Monday. Meanwhile, EQM surged 18.6% and ETRN jumped 18.1% – the two also benefited from the decision.

Dominion, which is developing the pipeline with Duke Energy Corp., anticipates the start of construction later this year and plans to have the pipeline fully in service by early 2022.

“Today’s decision is an affirmation for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and communities across our region that are depending on it for jobs, economic growth, and clean energy,” Duke Energy said in a statement. “We look forward to resolving the remaining project permits.”

A federal court previously threw out the permit, arguing that the U.S. Forest Service did not have the authority to approve the right-of-way since the Federal government controls the rights to the Appalachian Trail.

However, Dominion and the Trump administration contended that the underlying land is part of a national forest, which falls under the Forest Service’s jurisdiction. The U.S. Mineral Leasing Act states the Forest Service doesn’t have jurisdiction over “lands in the National Park System.”

“With a high court decision in hand, the project can expect the U.S. Forest Service to wrap up work on reissuing approvals voided by the lower court, which we think happens this summer,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brandon Barnes said in a research note.

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