In his excellent October 18, 2018, Virginia Mercury article, Virginia’s pipeline projects and the aura of inevitability, Reporter Robert Zullo nails the Dominion methodology: “Indeed, plunging ahead with as much work as it can get away with before all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed seems a deliberate strategy to deflate opposition and stay ahead of a slew of court decisions that have found major flaws in the federal approval process. If trees are coming down here and pipe is going in the ground elsewhere, the thing must be getting built, right?”
FERC has given Dominion permission to begin non-mechanized tree cutting on the proposed Union Hill compressor station site (see FERC Authorizes Tree Felling at Union Hill) despite the fact that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline still lacks an air permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for the compressor station, and despite the fact that construction in Virginia is under a stay order from the 4th Circuit Court pending outcome of hearings on both Forest Service permits and Fish and Wildlife permits.
Zullo points out that Virginia’s DEQ has enhanced the “aura of inevitability surrounding the ACP and a separate project planned to cross through southwest Virginia: the Mountain Valley Pipeline” by its ongoing abdication of responsibilities. Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler continues to dodge the issues by sticking to his policy of maintaining Virginia can’t do anything. He refuses to acknowledge that Virginia DOES have a great deal of authority (e.g., under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act) over these pipeline projects. Instead, Virginia’s regulatory authorities have gone in the other direction, with DEQ for instance “conduct[ing] an all-out push to convince the State Water Control Board to issue water quality certifications for the projects.”
It is psychological warfare. Dominion wants to promote the “aura of inevitability” and make it seem as if the pipelines are a done deal in order to demoralize opponents and make them give up their fight. Well, the pipelines are not done deals, and the fight isn’t over, and we are still here fighting!
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.
On October 15, 2018, AMP Creeks Council in southern Maryland announced that Dominion has issued a statement saying it will not be building the compressor station for the Charles County Marshall Hall site for its Eastern Maryland Access Project.
This is encouraging news as we continue the fight against the ACP’s proposed compressor station in Union Hill!
Dominion’s statement says, “Dominion Energy will not construct a natural gas transmission compressor station at its Charles County Marshall Hall site. We will continue our existing operations at that site, which consist of a field office, a warehouse, and pipeline inspection and safety-related equipment. We are actively evaluating alternatives for this component of our Eastern Market Access project. This requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders, as successful solutions must meet the needs of the project’s customers. Discussions with customers are ongoing.”
The AMP Creek Council’s Web page says, “The AMP Creeks Council – together with We Are Cove Point, SEED, Community of Communities, Maryland Environmental Health Network, and others – will continue to fight this project wherever it rears its ugly head, but today we’re celebrating, and we hope you will too. Thank you to the great many people who worked so hard to get us this far. It is an astonishing victory.”
See the AMP Creeks Council Web page announcement here.
See the Blue Virginias detailed press coverage here.
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.
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
Piedmont Regional Office
4949-A Cox Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060
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.
- 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.
A video about the neighborhood around the proposed compressor station.
Weigh in as Virginia officials consider the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station.
Let the Virginia Air Board know that compressor stations like the one Dominion is planning for Union Hill pose health risks for neighbors and pollute the surrounding community’s air.
How to comment? Go here.