Category Archives: Compressor Stations

Circle of Protection, Sunday December 16


Circle of Protection INDOORS on Sunday December 16, 2018. The folks of Union Hill have voted to have this Sunday’s Circle of Protection at Union Grove Baptist Church vigil INSIDE THE CHURCH.

Join the interfaith vigil with story and song, and church potluck to follow. Note new location at Union Grove Church, 2522 Shelton Store Rd, Buckingham, VA 23921 (very near Union Hill Baptist where previous gatherings have been) and remember to print out those directions in advance of setting out (cell service spotty!). With music from Evelyn Dent and Farm Use Old Time String Band, prayer from John Laury and Pastor Paul Wilson, poetry from Ella Rose and personal story by Kay Ferguson.

This will be the last Circle of Protection for the season.

Rescheduled: Stand wtih Union Hill Concert of Prayer


The Stand with Union Hill Concert of Prayer has been rescheduled to Tuesday, December 18
on the eve of the also rescheduled Air Pollution Control Board Meeting and vote on Union Hill Compressor Station on Wednesday December 19, 2018. This Interfaith Prayer Vigil with story and song welcomes all seeking to protect all our Virginia communities from the threat of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor in Union Hill. Come for all or any part of the vigil you can. From 7:30 pm to midnight. Richmond Hill 2209 E. Grace Street, Richmond, VA

Proximity to Compressor Station Devalues Homes by as Much as 50%

In a rural area in New York State, property values around a compressor station decreased radically. We can draw obvious conclusions about property values around Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline compressor stations. A 2015 press release from Stop the NY Pipeline announces that New York State assessors de-valued homes near a compressor station by 25-50%:

Homeowners living near the Millennium Pipeline Company’s 15,000 horsepower compressor station on Hungry Hill Road in Hancock, New York have seen the value of their homes decline by as much as 50 percent since the industrial facility was constructed in the midst of what used to be a quiet, rural community.

In May 2014 several Hungry Hill residents sought real estate tax relief citing the adverse impact of the compressor station on their property values. The Town of Hancock, denied the tax grievances, but Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy subsequently offered to fund homeowner appeals. On August 25, 2014, small claims hearings were held in the Hancock Town Hall. Two homeowners, a certified Real Estate Appraiser, and a representative of Catskill Citizens testified that the compressor station was responsible for heavy truck traffic, noxious odors, persistent low-level vibrations, and air contamination. The witnesses also asserted that the facility presented a safety threat and recounted how a Millennium employee suddenly knocked on the door of a house late one evening and urged the family to quickly evacuate their home. Finally, it was alleged that blasting during the construction of the compressor station had cracked the foundation of one house, which in turn led to an unsafe spike of radon levels. (Pre and post-construction radon tests conducted by Professional Home Inspection Service of Binghamton, New York showed that radon levels in the home jumped from 3 pCi/L to 6.1 pCi/L, which is above the EPA recommended action guideline of 4.0 pCiL.)

In light of the evidence proffered, the Town of Hancock tax assessors agreed to decrease the assessed valuation and real estate taxes on two homes by 25 percent. The assessed valuation and taxes on a third home, the one that had been physically damaged, were cut by 50 percent.

For further information contact: info@catskillcitizens.org

Dominion’s Incorrect Demographic Data

2018 Google Earth satellite view of proposed compressor station footprint and Union Hill homes in .5 mile radius.

River Healers reports that “on November 16, 2018 the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Dominion Energy compiled a demographic and income profile for the area of Union Hill in Buckingham County, VA. The report came after the Virginia Air Pollution Board delayed an important vote on the air pollution permit the Atlantic Coast Pipeline needs in order to build a compressor station in Union Hill. The Air Board’s reasons for delaying the vote to Monday, December 10 were numerous, stating concerns regarding environmental racism of the infrastructure project and the injustice Dominion Energy’s gas compressor station would have on a community of color and their air quality.

“The Air Pollution Board stated it needed more demographic information before voting, so it comes at no surprise that Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline produced their own version of Union Hill’s demographics. In their report, Dominion Energy and The Atlantic Coast Pipeline claim that only four households and 10 people live within a 0.5 mile radius of their proposed compressor station. By bringing the population numbers down to 10, the ACP is now stating that the most impacted area around the project is 77.8% white and 22.2% black, and the average household income is $63,619. This is a gross misrepresentation of the demographics and the number of houses and people that live in that area. A quick study of 2018 Google Earth satellite images shows just how wrong the ACP and Dominion Energy are about the population of Union Hill. We counted 34 houses with in a 0.5 mile radius of the ACP’s proposed compressor station. In the picture [above] you can see a footprint of the proposed compressor station and a 0.5 mile circle radius around the station. A total of 34 houses fall within that circle, with many more homes just outside the 0.5 radius.”

River Healers provides additional images and discussion of Dominion’s incorrect figures in their post on December 8, 2018: Erasing black lives: Dominion Energy misleads Virginia Air Pollution Board regarding demographics of Union Hill.

Letter of Support for Justice for Union Hill


Friends of Buckingham and allies crafted this letter which was sent on December 8, 2018, to the Air Board, the Governor, and other state officials. It is signed not only by impacted Union Hill residents, but by representatives of many local and national organizations.

To: Virginia Air Pollution Control Board
December 8, 2018
An Open Letter Regarding the Threat of Environmental Racism and the Proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

There is an undeniable pattern of dangerous, polluting industrial facilities being sited in poor communities of color across our nation. “Environmental racism” is a phrase used to describe this systematic positioning.

Right now, a consortium of companies led by Dominion Energy – the largest corporate donor in state political campaigns – is attempting to place the only Virginia compressor station for its unneeded, natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the low-income, mostly African-American community of Union Hill, in Buckingham County. Many area residents trace their ancestry to the people enslaved on or near the plantation land sold for this site.

Recently, Governor Ralph Northam’s administration announced that it had dismissed two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board, which is made up of independent citizen experts responsible for evaluating the proposed air pollution permit for this huge facility. This happened six days after a November board meeting where detailed evidence of this site’s environmental injustice had been presented. The two people dismissed had stated during the meeting that environmental justice and climate change impacts must be considered in board permit decisions. In addition, Dominion submitted new proposed permit changes during the meeting, including an offer of $5.1 million to a Dominion-controlled “Union Hill community revitalization plan.” The proposed changes to the permit came 50 days after the public comment period on the permit application closed. The board voted to delay its decision on the permit until December 10.

The governor has been justly criticized for interfering with this permit decision. Not only did he announce the dismissal of the two board members, he further interfered with the board’s independence by signaling that he did not expect the new members to vote at the December meeting. It is unethical to interfere in the citizen board’s decision-making process.

Citizen boards perform an extremely important function in our democracy, providing an additional check on the regulatory process. They serve as an essential last line of defense in ensuring that the public interest is prioritized over private corporate interests.

Therefore, we strongly urge the Air Pollution Control Board to allow the public an opportunity during the December 10 meeting—prior to any vote—to respond to any new information that has been submitted after the close of the public comment period. This includes information expected to be presented by the Department of Environmental Quality about the demographics of Union Hill that would underrepresent the community’s African-American majority. Additionally, because the facts in the record show that the proposed compressor station would have a disproportionate adverse impact on Union Hill, we ask that the board deny the permit.

On August 16, the Governor’s own Advisory Council on Environmental Justice called for a moratorium on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline until completion of serious investigations of credible environmental justice issues. Governor Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler and Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor must honor the environmental justice matters in this air permit decision. It must be addressed now.

The legacy of placing toxic facilities in places where they disproportionately affect poor communities of color is unjust and unacceptable and needs acute examination. It is not right to look the other way while this continues.

Respectfully,

Pastor Paul Wilson, Union Hill Union Grove Baptist Church
Chad Oba, President, Friends of Buckingham, Impacted Landowner
Lakshmi Fjord, Anthropologist, Friends of Buckingham, Yogaville

CC:
Governor Ralph Northam
Attorney General Mark Herring
Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler
Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor

Click here to view the 100 other signatories on the letter.

Stand with Union Hill


All night vigil: Sunday, December 9, 7:30pm – Monday, December 10, 8:30am. Richmond Hill, 2209 E Grace St, Richmond 23223

Join the Union Hill community, people of faith, water and air protectors, and artists on Sunday December 9, 2018, at 7:30 pm, for an all night interfaith vigil prior to the Air Pollution Control Board meeting which will decide the fate of the Union Hill community with a vote on the air permit for the compressor station. At the vigil, leaders from many faith traditions will share prayers, music, meditate, and more around the theme of environmental justice. Come to lift up the community of Union Hill!

After the vigil concludes, the group will head over to the Air Pollution Control Board meeting to show up and support the residents of Union Hill and Buckingham County and to witness the decision. The Board meeting will begin at 10:00 am on Monday, December 10 in the First Floor House Committee Room, Pocahontas Building, 900 E Main St, Richmond 23219.