US appeals panel hears NC dispute over OBX bridge

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court in Virginia is considering a bid by environmental groups to block a replacement of the only bridge to much of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in Richmond. The court typically rules several weeks, or even months, after hearing arguments.

The Southern Environmental Law Center argued that the state’s plan to replace the Bonner Bridge ignores the cost and environmental impacts. The environmental law group is representing the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

The state and a U.S. Justice Department attorney argued that the court should let the project go forward.

A lower court judge last September gave a thumbs up to the bridge replacement.

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