WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - A rapid-fire succession of setbacks for big energy pipelines in the United States this week has revealed an uncomfortable truth for the oil and gas industry: environmental activists and landowners opposed to projects have become good at blocking them in court. The latest setbacks have increased the difficulty for developers of billions of dollars worth of pipeline projects in getting needed permits and community support. The oil industry says the pipelines are needed to expand oil and gas production and deliver it to fuel-hungry markets, but a rising chorus of critics argue they pose an unacceptable future risk to climate, air and water. "Any company that is going to look to invest that kind of money into our infrastructure is really going to have to take a hard look," said Craig Stevens, spokesman for Grow America's Infrastructure Now, a coalition comprised mainly of chambers of commerce and energy associations. The Trump administration has sought to accelerate permits and cut red tape for big-ticket energy projects such as the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. That effort has failed so far, and may even have made legal challenges easier, because rushed permitting paperwork has caught the eyes of judges. A federal judge on Monday ordered the Dakota Access pipeline, the biggest duct moving oil out of the huge Bakken basin, to shut down and empty because the Army Corps of Engineers had failed to do an adequate environmental impact study. The same day, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked construction on the proposed Keystone XL line from Canada pending a deeper environmental review. For years, both those pipelines have been targets of protests and lawsuits by climate, environment and indigenous rights activists. On Sunday, Dominion Energy Inc <D.N> and Duke Energy Corp <DUK.N> decided to abandon the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, meant to move West Virginia natural gas to East Coast markets, after a long delay to clear legal roadblocks almost doubled its estimated cost. "What we have been seeing in the last couple of weeks is a shift in the importance of communities and landowners,
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