Category Archives: Air Quality

FERC Authorizes Tree Felling at Union Hill


At a time when the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has had its Forest Service and National Parks permits revoked and before the air-quality permit required to build the compressor station has been issued, FERC on October 16, 2018, issued an authorization to proceed with non-mechanized tree cutting at the Union Hill compressor station site in Buckingham.  The FERC letter actually says, “Atlantic and DETI have received all federal authorizations applicable for the work activities requested.”  What’s wrong with this picture?!

Read the FERC authorization letter here.

Richmond Times-Dispatch news coverage is here.

Related news:  The Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice asked Northam to suspend pipeline work, but the Governor passes – see Roanoke Times news story here.

The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board, which will consider the required air quality permit for the compressor station, will meet November 8-9, 2018, 9:30 am each day, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Building, Level 2, Room E21-AB, 301 N. 3rd Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219.

A moment with the community of Union Hill, Buckingham, VA which would be destroyed by the proposed ACP compressor station. Filmed at the July Circle of Protection, “The Air We Breathe” calls out for urgent and immediate help to challenge and deny the air permit for the compressor station. We have a chance to deny the air permit for this station on November 8 & 9 in Richmond and we need your presence to support Union Hill.

Buckingham Compressor Station – Air Quality Risks


The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in Union Hill is a stark example of environmental racism and corruption that threatens all Virginians. To find out to challenge the air permit please see:  https://www.facebook.com/waterislifeprotectit/ and Friends of Buckingham County Virginia: https://www.friendsofbuckinghamva.org/friends/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectBuckingham/

Plan to attend the public hearing November 8 & 9, 2018. Details to follow.

Say NO to Dominion’s Application to Release Air Pollution


The comment period for the Air Quality Permit has been extended to September 21, 2018. There is still time for you to tell the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board to deny Dominion’s application for a permit to release air pollution that will threaten the health and well-being of residents in the Union Hill neighborhood and beyond. Don’t wait – let your voice be heard!

Submit your comments to:

DEQ, Piedmont Regional Office
Re: Buckingham Compressor Station

E-mail:
airdivision1@deq.virginia.gov

Mail:
Piedmont Regional Office
4949-A Cox Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Fax:
(804) 527-5106

What is the concern?

The draft permit prepared by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is woefully deficient, failing to provide the analyses and the levels of protection the law requires.

Dozens of people spoke at a public hearing on September 11th, most explaining technical and legal problems with the proposal and opposing issuance of the permit. Please add your voice to that strong message, to let the citizen members of the Air Board know you oppose this illegal and unethical proposal to victimize citizens for private profit.

What to say?

Even if you lack technical expertise, you can raise important issues the Board is legally-obligated to consider.

These include:

  • The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is not needed to supply energy to the areas Dominion claims would be served and
  • DEQ has failed to properly consider whether the placement of the facility is appropriate or to acknowledge the violation of environmental justice principles.

For further ideas, information, and background, go to Wild Virginia’s page on commenting.

Large Turnout for Air Quality Hearing

Over 150 people attended the September 11, 2018, hearing conducted in Buckingham by the Virginia State Air Control Board (SACB) to receive comments on the proposed compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). More than 60 people spoke out against Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in Union Hill by challenging the draft air permit.

You may view videos of the hearing on either Facebook or YouTube.

You can still speak up! The public comment period for the air permit has been EXTENDED until September 21See here for information and links to help you make your comments.

Show up! Stand with Union Hill this Sunday, September 16 (to be held as scheduled) and each month at the Circle of Protection

News coverage of the hearing may be read in Augusta Free Press, Blue Virginia, and the Virginia Mercury.

Challenge the Compressor Station Air Permit


Send your comments to DEQ to challenge the air permit for the proposed ACP compressor station in Union Hill by September 11, 2018. Help deny the air permit for the ACP Compressor Station that would endanger and diminish the health and land values of all residents of Buckingham County and destroy the lives of the historic African American community of Union Hill. No compressor station = No ACP.  To comment, follow instructions on the Friends of Buckingham page.

The Department of Environmental Quality Public Hearing on the draft air permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline Compressor Station will be Tuesday September 11, 2018, from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

After you have sent your written comments to DEQ, please come to the September 11 public hearing and pre-hearing vigil It will be at the Buckingham County Middle School, 1184 High School Rd, Buckingham, VA 23921 (off of Hwy 60/West James Anderson Hwy).  Arrive at 4 PM to sign up to speak, and for vigil, music, snacks, press conference and materials to help you draft your comment. The sooner you arrive to sign up to comment the better!  Comments will be limited to 3 minutes, and, if possible, it would be good to have a written copy of your comments at the hearing to give to DEQ staff.

This compressor station, a giant one, even by industry standards would bring loud constant 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 compressor station would create a fire and explosion hazard completely beyond the capacity of distant volunteer firefighters. The station wold have few staff on site and would be built on a former slave plantation atop the unmarked slave graves of Union Hill ancestors.

Guidelines for Commenting on Compressor Station Air Quality Permit

Friends of Buckingham has provided the following information on critical unanswered questions about ACP’s Union Hill Compressor Station to supplement your comments to DEQ about the air permit – along with extensive talking points for your letters.  For further information, contact Chad Oba, chado108@icloud.com, or email info@friendsofbuckinghamva.org.


The public comment period currently ends [please ask for an extension – see below] Tuesday, September 11 with a public hearing starting at 5 pm at the Buckingham Middle School.

This process is fragmented. All questions about the proposed compressor station should be considered together, but that is not allowed. In your comments, please:

1] first and foremost, ask for an extension of the comment period. The following is a letter of immediate requests sent on August 24 to David Paylor, head of DEQ.

2] Second important request: The Department of Environmental Quality should immediately complete a Quantified Risk Assessment (QRA) for the Buckingham Compressor Station prior to permitting and to work with other state agencies to conduct a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and a Health Impact Assessment (HRI).

3] Choose a specific topic to focus on. See below for details.


Letter to David Paylor, sent on August 24, 2018:

A 30-day comment period for the air permit for Union Hill Compressor Station in Buckingham is inadequate:

  • .     We feel that our public process has been severely limited and we should be given every opportunity to comment in an informed and meaningful way that this current comment period does not provide.
  • .        Community members received access to large documents only weeks before the comment period and did not receive any technical support from state agencies. The applicant Dominion Energy Atlantic Coast Pipeline has had many months or even years, due to the failed first application on 2017, to work with their technical experts and to consult with the DEQ Air Division expertise. We deserve equal time.
  • .           The recent informational meeting (August 16) with DEQ Air Division was not sufficient for citizens to grasp the many technical aspects of the application and limited the questions that they were consequently ill prepared to ask.
  • Access to online documents is difficult if not prohibitive. A large population of impacted, elderly residents in the Union Hill/Woods Corner neighborhood do not own or are familiar with internet use. This is compounded by unreliable connectivity problems with the internet. This area of Buckingham lacks rural wifi or broadband infrastructure.
  • The impenetrable language of the hundreds of pages of air permitting documents and air modeling reports that accompany them make them incomprehensible without technical support. We have just recently been able to identify experts who will work with residents and community groups.
  • .     We deserve the right to an extension of the comment period to assure that our concerns for our health and welfare is assessed from all sides. Many residents are not convinced that our health and welfare will be adequately protected by the current modeling, monitoring and compliance, especially so as Dominion’s compliance record has proven to be faulty with other projects. This proposed Compressor Station has as yet been unproven in actual operation.

Therefore we request an additional 30 days for a total comment period of 60 days.

Thanking you in advance for your consideration,

Chad Oba, Friends of Buckingham
Jeeva Abbate, Yogaville Environmental Solutions
Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill and Union Grove Baptist Church
Swami Dayananda, Lotus Center for all Faiths
Dr Lakshmi Fjord, People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Environmental Justice
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, Buckingham: We the People



Commenters: please consider starting simply by identifying one question you want answered…as much as possible with technical relevance. You can draw from this modified question list but it is important that you have original/unique wording and not cut and paste.

DEQ Questions to use when writing your letter to DEQ about your concerns about the Draft Air Permit 8-26-18

Send it to: [and cc all]

michael.dowd@deq.virginia.gov
patrick.corbett@deq.virginia.gov
airdivision1@deq.virginia.gov

Make sure to let DEQ know the urgency of the need for information, with a deadline looming. This backs up the requests for more time and gets DEQ to answer some questions. Plus we get our questions on the record by submitting to DEQ. The emails you send can be picked up by a FOIA request at some time in the future.


Furthermore…. August 16, 2018, the DEQ provided an informational meeting at the Buckingham Administration Building where we were allowed to ask questions. We generated a list of 107 really good questions, which we sent to the DEQ. A modified list can be viewed here.

DEQ Questions to use when writing your letter to DEQ about your concerns about the Draft Air Permit 8-26-18

Below is the list of public comment areas DEQ air permit staff said they would (maybe) listen to, related to the air permit:

  • Extending 30 days of comment period
  • Inadequate compliance and monitoring plans
  • Lack of access to technical documents (online, hard to read due to technical language and lack of technical support); they said in front of us that they would leave a copy in the local library (did they?)
  • Technical aspects of air permit that they might not have considered
  • Comprehensive impacts
  • Higher radioactivity of Marcellus shale (with convincing evidence)
  • Factors that challenge their assumptions of emissions not being harmful to human health (vulnerably of low income and elderly; pre-existing medical conditions)
  • ADD: Writing daily walk throughs into the permit

Since permitting authority is too narrow and highly fragmented, community concerns fall through the cracks.

So, we demand:

  • An immediate Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) and Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (CHIA) to address the complex and multifaceted concerns presented by residents of Buckingham
  • Institutionalization of Environmental Justice, public safety, and health review before permitting or construction of large-scale infrastructure in minority and low-income communities;
  • Meaningful participation by impacted populations in permitting and monitoring;
  • Evaluation of climate and environmental justice impacts in all state policies, programs, and permits;
  • Reduction of state disparity in exposure by which black and brown communities disproportionately experience harm from toxic air, unsafe water, and public safety risks;
  • Development of clean and renewable energy alternatives