UPDATE 2:28 pm from the Virginia Sierra Club: “The Board has postponed making a final decision on the permit until its meeting on December 10. We will be here again in force with allies to stand with Union Hill. ”
The following press release is from Appalachian Voices, Friends of Buckingham and “Water is life. Protect it.” Note that the press conference and hearings this morning will be live streamed on the Virginia Sierra Club page. I’ll also post the video here when it’s available.
At 8 am on Thursday, November 8, the “We Are All Union Hill” press conference will immediately precede the public hearing by the Air Pollution Control Board on the draft air permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in Buckingham County.
The press conference at Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church church, 614 N. 3rd Street, Richmond, is a collaboration of now 55 environmental, arts and community groups (listed below) and will feature Union Hill voices including Pastor Paul Wilson, pastor of the Union Hill Union Grove Baptist Church; Chad Oba, Director of Friends of Buckingham; and Richard Walker, landowner and Founder/CEO of Bridging the Gap in Virginia.
Sierra Club VA Chapter will live stream the press conference and the hearings here Sierra Club live stream
Additional speakers Standing with Union Hill’s challenge of the draft air permit for the proposed compressor station in Buckingham County will be:
*Greg Buppert, Southern Environmental Law Center
*Kevin Chandler, President, Virginia State Conference NAACP
*Virginia Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (2nd District)
*Andrea Miller, Virginia Poor People’s campaign.
*Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (31st District)
*Rev. Dr. Faith B. Harris, Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice
The Union Hill Portrait Project in collaboration with ARTivism Virginia and photographer, Will Kerner, will debut.
At 54,000+ horsepower, the proposed ACP compressor station, a giant one, even by industry standards, is the largest ever proposed by Dominion or built in Virginia. The station would bring loud noise and release toxic poisons into Buckingham’s air and water. The health of children is particularly vulnerable to the methane, formaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, xylene and other compounds the compressor will regularly release. The station creates a fire and explosion hazard completely beyond the capacity of distant volunteer firefighters, has few staff on site, and would be built on a former slave plantation atop the probable unmarked slave graves of Union Hill ancestors. This station at this site is a stark example of environmental injustice.
Pastor Kevin Chandler, President of the Virginia State Conference NAACP says, “Dominion must stop putting profit over people. We will not continue to pay Dominion to kill us.”
Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill Union Grove Baptist Church is clear. “For the past four years, our church has been adamantly opposed to the proposed ACP compressor station and together we have worked diligently to stop it.”
Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy insists, “Our future will depend on creating a diverse and enthusiastic coalition of environmental stewards, and ensuring that their voices are represented in the General Assembly. I took a pledge to not accept money from Dominion Energy, a powerful, legalized corporate monopoly in Virginia that is threatening our environment with coal ash leakage and pipelines. Now, more than ever, we must fight to protect our environment at the state level. I am here to be a champion for clean air and clean water.”
Chad Oba, Director of Friends of Buckingham notes, “The quality of our lives is being decided upon. Our air, our lives here in Union Hill and the future health of our children need to be factored into the costs of continuing to allow fossil fueled infrastructures to go forward. Our energy systems cannot continue to create sacrifice zones so that private companies can prosper. We are all Union Hill.”
Richard Walker, local landowner and Founder/CEO of Bridging the Gap in Virginia, asks, “When will this Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia change to protect the African American Heritage, Legacy, Culture that my Freed Slave Great Great Grandfather Taylor Harper died to preserve for 8 Generations to follow. We are still under Jim Crow Laws of Systemic Human, Environmental, and Judicial Racism. It Must STOP!!!! “
SELC attorney Greg Buppert says, “The Buckingham compressor station is yet another example of Dominion’s persistent efforts to stick Virginians with a risky and unneeded pipeline project. It was irresponsible to propose this polluting, industrial compressor station in the middle of the historic, predominantly African-American Union Hill community. We expect our state agencies to foster environmental justice, not to bow to pressure from Dominion.”
“It would be shameful to issue this permit and let this compressor station be built,” said Barbara Gottlieb, Environment & Health Director of the national Physicians for Social Responsibility. “We know too clearly that compressor stations emit dangerous gases that damage the lungs and the nervous system – to say nothing of leaking methane, whose harm to the atmosphere endangers the health and safety of Virginians statewide and people around the world. Virginia should at the very least conduct a prospective Health Impact Assessment and face up honestly to the health effects this compressor station would create.”
The message of this wide coalition conference is simple and true. We Are All Union Hill when it comes to new fossil fuel infrastructure. Together the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast fracked gas pipelines will more than double the greenhouse gas emissions for the Commonwealth of Virginia, largely in the form of methane, at a time when the world’s scientists have told us clearly and with proof, that we must reduce methane emissions immediately and by 35% to avoid catastrophic climate change.
These pipelines are not needed for Virginia’s energy needs and represent an immoral use of eminent domain and a real threat to all our children. The draft air permit for the proposed ACP compressor station must not be granted and there is great optimism that the Air Pollution Control Board, a citizen board, may act justly to deny this permit.
The press conference will last approximately one half hour and is in easy walking distance of the public hearing. Coffee, fruit, tea and Danish available. Press kits will be provided at the conference.
The Air Pollution Control Board public hearing begins at 9:30 am at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on November 8 & 9. Public comment on Nov. 8.
On Friday, November 9, at 8:30 am, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter will hold an open forum in Festival Park directly across from the 5th Street entrance to the public hearing. Another opportunity to stand with Union Hill.