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Virginia State Air Pollution Board Defers Action on Proposed Air Permit for Union Hill Compressor Station

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I’ve got another post on the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board hearing today and yesterday on the proposed compressor station in Union Hill (Buckingham County, VA) for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. See below for the latest developments…

First, from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

VIRGINIA STATE AIR POLLUTION BOARD DEFERS ACTION ON PROPOSED AIR PERMIT 
Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Buckingham Compressor Station to be considered in December RICHMOND, VA – Today, at its meeting in Richmond, the State Air Pollution Control Board (Board) deferred taking further action on the Buckingham Compressor Station air permit.
Today’s motion to defer followed a presentation from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which included an overview of the permit and a response to comments. The Board also heard a presentation from the applicant, Dominion Energy, and a full day of public comments from meeting attendees.
The Board indicated they would continue to consider the information already provided by the agency, the public, and the applicant to this point. There will be no additional solicitation or acceptance of public comment on the draft permit. The Board will resume discussions on the matter at its next meeting on Dec. 10.
“The board determined they needed extra time to evaluate all of the comments and concerns received from the public before a final decision is made,” said DEQ Director David Paylor.
The proposed air permit will govern air pollution emissions for the proposed Buckingham air compressor station facility associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Buckingham County.
For more information and updates, visit www.DEQ.Virginia.gov.
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Next, from Virginia Interfaith Power and Light

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light: Air Pollution Control Board Defers Air Permit Vote on the Buckingham Compressor Station

People of faith stand in solidarity with the historic, predominately African American community of Union Hill whose health and safety will be sacrificed for corporate profit.

Richmond, VA – Today, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board deferred their vote until their next meeting on December 10 on the air permit for the proposed Buckingham compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Dominion Energy has chosen to build the compressor station in Union Hill, a historic, predominantly African American neighborhood. Various critical issues have been raised and remain unaddressed.

Virginia faith leaders and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light attended the November 8 and 9 Air Pollution Control Board meetings to demonstrate that people of faith are concerned about the disproportionate impact this compressor station will have on the health and safety of Union Hill.

In response, Kendyl Crawford, Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, released the following statement:

“Virginians of faith have taken action out of a moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable from the negative impacts of fossil fuel infrastructure. Today, over 40 people of faith, who are also Dominion Energy customers, have turned off their lights as part of a 24-hour Power-Fast and an act of solidarity with Union Hill.

We are thankful that the Air Pollution Control Board has decided to take additional time to consider environmental injustice, site suitability, and cumulative impacts of the entire pipeline by deferring their vote on the air permit.

We believe that decisions about energy production are moral issues at their core, and that sacrificing our neighbors’ health and safety for a private company to profit is wrong.”

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About Virginia Interfaith Power & Light: Virginia Interfaith Power & Light is a nonprofit organization that collaborates, as people of faith, to grow healthy communities and advance climate justice through education, advocacy, and worship with over 2,500 supporters across the state. For more information, visit http://www.vaipl.org.

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Next, from Appalachian Voices

Today, Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-0 to defer until December a decision on a permit requested by Dominion Energy to operate a 55,000 horsepower natural gas compressor station for its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Buckingham County. According to statements made by Board Chair Richard Langford during the meeting, the information record on the permit is now closed and the extra time will simply allow board members additional time to reflect.

The compressor station is proposed to be sited in Union Hill, a rural, low-income, majority African-American community which has largely opposed the project since it was first proposed in 2015. Community members held a People’s Tribunal on the impacts of fracked-gas infrastructure last year which received international attention. And in August, the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice recommended, among other things, that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the similar Mountain Valley Pipeline be halted.

Peter Anderson, Virginia Program Manager

“While we are disappointed the board did not reject the permit outright today, the members listened carefully to all public comments and posed tough questions to DEQ staff and Dominion representatives. It was clear from their discussion that many of them share our concerns about environmental justice and the additional greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants the compressor station would emit.”

Lara Mack, Virginia Field Coordinator

“Residents of Union Hill and from all across Buckingham County have spent countless hours educating themselves about this project, attending dozens of community and government meetings, and coming here to Richmond today to stand up for their land, health and families. It seemed their voices were heard, finally, and that the only reasonable step for the board to take come December will be to reject the permit.”

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Next, from the Virginia Sierra Club

Sierra Club: Air Pollution Control Board should use “their full authority to deny the permit” for Buckingham Compressor Station

Citing glaring environmental justice concerns, the Board defers to Dec. 10 meeting

RICHMOND, Virginia – Today, the Air Pollution Control Board voted to defer their decision on Dominion Energy’s permit for the Buckingham Compressor Station, a 54,000 horsepower industrial facility proposed for the historic Union Hill community in Buckingham County, which is designed to pump fracked-gas through Dominion’s controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

As this deferral was made, the tide continues to turn away from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Wednesday, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a stay of the pipeline’s Nationwide Permit 12 authorization to cross water bodies along its path.

In response, Kate Addleson, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, released the following statement.

The Board is correct: Virginia should carefully consider the true effects and environmental justice impacts for every project. Buckingham residents should not have to bear the brunt of the awful effects and pollution from this unnecessary industrial site.

The reason our Air Board is made up of citizen experts and functions as an independent entity is to ensure that decisions are not made exclusively by those with ulterior or political motives.

The concerns expressed by the Board warrant the use of their full authority to deny the permit for this dirty and dangerous compressor station.

People from across the commonwealth have come together to stand up and call out the injustice of this compressor station, and they have made it clear to the Board that environmental injustice won’t stand in Virginia. Community members, activists and environmentalists have fought side-by-side for years to end the dirty and destructive Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipeline projects, and will not stand down until the project is defeated.

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About the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter: The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is over 20,000 members strong. We are your friends and neighbors working to build healthy, livable communities, and to conserve and protect our climate and environment. The Virginia Chapter is part of the national Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org/virginia