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Title VI Environmental Justice Complaint filed with EPA against the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

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From the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League:

Title VI Environmental Justice Complaint filed with EPA against the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and its Virginia chapters, Protect Our Water, Concern for the New Generation and No ACP, filed a Title VI civil rights complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) office of External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO).  BREDL’s Stop the Pipelines Campaign Coordinator, Sharon Ponton, stated, “The 26-page complaint tells the story of VADEQ’s segmented process for 401 water quality certification and asks the EPA to void the certification until a thorough environmental justice analysis is completed. We believe we have presented a strong case indicating the environmental justice communities along the path of the proposed ACP will be disproportionately impacted by health impacts from pollution caused by toxic, polluting pipeline infrastructure and its contributions to global warming from leaks and its compressor station, as well as the health affects from noise and toxic emissions from its compressor stations.  The complaint also outlines disproportionate impacts from possible threats to water supplies, safety related issues from discriminatory construction rules, and property loss through eminent domain.”

Ponton concluded, “The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality failed to complete an environmental justice analysis.  This analysis is required to ensure communities of color and disadvantaged communities do not bear a disproportionate impact from the construction and operation of new energy infrastructure. VADEQ simply dropped the ball and did not fulfill its responsibilities.”

Kathie Mosley, Buckingham resident and chair of Concern for the New Generation, stated, “We’ve been saying here in Buckingham all along we don’t matter.  VADEQ has proven that statement true. It didn’t do its job to protect us.  We look forward to a positive outcome from the EPA.”

Sue Rucker, a member of Protect Our Water, decried, “We’ve had to learn a lot over the last 4 years.  The Governor needs to understand, we will hold he and his administration to his promises of science and transparency.  We won’t stop, until we stop the pipelines.”

Stacy Lovelace, the co-founder of Virginia Pipeline Resisters, stated, “We stand in solidarity with the communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities that were intentionally targeted by the pipeline companies to disproportionately bear the disastrous health and environmental impacts that will result from the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.  It is appalling that government officials and agencies continue to support these pipelines in the face of such blatant environmental racism and injustice.  The only rectification can be to stop work on the pipelines immediately.”