RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court has halted work on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through stretches of national forest land. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday granted a request from environmental groups to stay National Forest Service decisions allowing construction on about 20 miles of the 600-mile route. Environmental groups requested the stay while a challenge to the forest service approvals is pending. The court is scheduled to hear arguments Friday. Pipeline spokesman Aaron Ruby says the forest service conducted a thorough review and the court’s ruling won’t have a “significant impact” on the construction schedule. Attorney DJ Gerken with the Southern Environmental Law Center says the stay means federal officials should halt work on the entirety of the pipeline. The center asked regulators for a stop-work order Tuesday.