Category Archives: Environmental Justice

ACEJ Calls for Stay on All Further ACP and MVP Permits

In a letter on August 16, 2018, Governor Ralph Northam’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice called for a stay on all further permits for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines. Blue Virginia reports that the Council recommended an Emergency Task Force on Environmental Justice in Gas Infrastructure to review and address the evidence it has found of “disproportionate impacts for people of color and for low-income populations due to gas infrastructure expansion.”

Dr. Mary Finley-Brook, a member of the council states that, “Given the evidence the Advisory Council cites in the letter, it is clear that if the Governor and state regulators are committed to environmental safety and justice they must put an immediate halt to Union Hill Compressor Station and ACP permitting until community risks and safety concerns can be addressed in a meaningful way.”

Read the letter from the Advisory Council on Environmental Justice here.

Stand with Union Hill


The following is an account posted on Facebook by Water Is Life. Protect It on July 26, 2018.

Stand with Union Hill: The story of stark environmental racism gains and needs new allies to be told, to be shouted from the mountain top. This week’s meeting [week of July 23, 2018] between Union Hill and Dominion/ACP brought new allies and a terrifying glimpse of a complete disregard for safety on the part of Dominion Energy.

One Buckingham County witness wrote of the photos here: “Reverend Kevin Chandler, President of the Virginia NAACP came to Union Hill to announce that the powerful civil rights organization has taken a position against the ACP pipeline and the proposed Union Hill compressor station.

The uneasy looking group of white men in the foreground of the next photo—those are Dominion executives. They and five others had come to a community meeting in Pastor Paul Wilson’s Union Hill Grove Baptist Church to try to reassure the African-American community that the compressor station and the pipeline would be safe and would not hurt them. However, they seemed increasingly anxious when they were asked to describe the size of the kill zone in the event of a pipeline leak or a compressor station disaster. They said they just couldn’t answer the question which they were asked in three different ways. They also were forced to admit that they hadn’t even drafted their emergency response plan in the event that something were to go wrong at the compressor station they want to build in within yards of the homes of Union Hill—an historic African-American Community.

Meanwhile, a US Justice Department official, Suzanne Buchanan of the federal community relations service (with Pastor Paul) showed up. She said she realized that the people of Union Hill were feeling frustrated and unheard. She watched with what appeared to be astonishment when the dominion executives were unable to describe the dimensions of the Kill zone.

If the people of Union Hill were skeptical and even frightened at the prospect of the compressor station and its pipeline coming to their community before tonight by the time the meeting was over they were much more wary.

Virginia NAACP Calls for Halt to All MVP and ACP Construction

Rev. Kevin Chandler, VA NAACP President, at Union Hill

In a letter dated May 30, 2018, the Virginia State NAACP has called on the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to halt all construction activity for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.

An article in Blue Virginia on July 30, 2018, says, “The state NAACP statement was submitted to the Virginia State Water Control Board on May 30 as part of a public comment period on the proposed pipelines. It was among thousands of comments submitted by concerned citizens and environmental and community organizations. The NAACP statement has remained hidden from public view because DEQ has failed to publish the ‘public’ comments, pointing to an unspecified security ‘issue’ with its website and the time needed to ‘process’ so many comments. DEQ’s lack of transparency left the NAACP statement and similar submissions largely unavailable – until now. It is yet another example of what has been called DEQ’s broken regulatory process under its longtime director, David Paylor.” (Note that although DEQ has been unable to make comments public, Wild Virginia and Dominion Pipeline Monitoring Coalition obtained most of the 10,000 comments through a FOIA request, and have made them public, something DEQ has been unable or unwilling to do.)

The NAACP letter denounces DEQ for deferring to Nationwide Permit 12 water quality standards rather than applying the stricter Virginia standards, and calls on DEQ to conduct a “comprehensive site-specific stream-by-stream analysis that reviews the cumulative effects of the multiple crossings within individual watersheds.” The letter notes that “socio-economic data and wetland and stream information crucial to conducting accurate and unbiased assessments are missing, inaccurate and incomplete.”

The letter also points out the environmental racism inherent in Dominion’s plan to build the only Virginia compressor station in the African-American Union Hill community. “Established by freed enslaved people, Union Hill relies on a single-source aquifer for their drinking water,” and Dominion and DEQ gave “no consideration for pipeline ruptures which could pollute the single source aquifer which feeds the wells of Union Hill and most of Buckingham County.”

The Blue Virginia article details the many strong public statements by the NAACP against pipeline projects and the ways communities of color are particularly impacted by their construction and operation.

BREDL Files VA Supreme Court Appeal Against Buckingham Supervisors and ACP

Press Release from Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, July 19, 2018:

BREDL and its Buckingham Chapter, Concern for the New Generation, File Supreme Court Appeal regarding Special Use Permit for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Lovingston, VA—This week the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) and its chapter, Concern for the New Generation (CNG), and its members filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia regarding Buckingham County’s approval of a special use permit for a compressor station for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The suit was originally filed February 6, 2017 pro se. Circuit Court Judge William Alexander dismissed the case in January, 2018 on technicalities regarding the form used in the pro se filing.

BREDL’s Stop the Pipeline Campaign Coordinator, Sharon Ponton, stated, “We believe this case deserves to be heard on its merits. We contend that the special exception in the zoning ordinance which was used in the permitting process is for utilities…water, sewer, or even a natural gas utility company which delivers a product to residents of the community. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not a utility. It is a natural gas transmission company.”

Kathie Mosley, chair of CNG, stated, “The Union Hill community has been ignored and marginalized throughout the approval process for the proposed pipeline and its compressor station. The County ignored the evidence we presented at the hearings and approved the permit anyway. Our plan to stop the compressor station from being constructed in our historically significant African-American community moves forward with this appeal.”

“Judge Alexander remarked during the hearing, he believed the case should be appealed, and that’s what we have done,” stated Lou Zeller, Executive Director of BREDL. Zeller continued, “The County has done everything it could to slow walk this process, but we are persistent in our support of the Union Hill community, and look forward to a positive outcome from the Supreme Court of Virginia.”

View the Appeal to Virginia Supreme Court

Rockfish Valley Foundation Files Comments To FERC on ACP


On July 15, 2018, Blue Ridge LIfe reported on the Rockfish Valley Foundation‘s comments filed with FERC on negative impacts of the Atlantic Coat Pipeline in the Rockfish Valley.

“‘The Rockfish Valley Foundation has concluded several months of research into Dominion’s impact on the Rockfish Valley, home to the Wintergreen Resort and the state’s most scenic Route 151 with its many breweries, cideries and wineries. It is also home to the Rockfish Valley foundation which presents trails for the public along the waterways, Spruce Creek Park and the RVF Natural History Center,’ RVF’s President and Chairman Peter A. Agelasto lll said. ‘Studies have been made of access roads proposed by Dominion and also other construction that will have a negative impact on the South Rockfish Valley Rural Historic district,’ Agelasto added.”

Click here to read the full document as filed.

Interview with Pastor Paul Wilson


Listen to this 10 minute audio interview with Pastor Paul Wilson on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by Margaret Prescod on Sojourner Truth. The interview aired on June 28, 2018.

Earth Watch is a regular segment on The Sojourner Truth Radio Show, which airs every week on Pacifica’s KPFK-FM in Los Angeles, CA and around the world online. Global Justice Ecology Project has partnered with The Sojourner Truth Radio Show since the 2009 UN Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s Orin Langelle recently photographed Pastor Paul for an upcoming photo essay. Langelle shares a report back at PhotoLangelle.org.