Category Archives: Take Action

Urge State Delegates to Oppose Paylor Confirmation

There are serious ethical and conduct issues surrounding Mr. Paylor’s work, especially in the permitting processes connected with the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines. Act now to oppose David Paylor’s confirmation as Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality! The vote on his confirmation reached the Senate floor and the press on January 21, 2019 (Six senators vote against Northam’s pick to lead environmental agency).

While the House of Delegates may not act on this until after cross over/Feb. 5, they could act at any time. They could act today. Call and email your own Delegate to the Virginia Assembly (Who’s my Legislator? ) and as well as members of the Privileges and Elections Committee. Ask them to oppose the confirmation vote on the appointment of David Paylor as Director of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as designated in Senate Joint Resolution No. 292 (offered Jan 9, 2019) confirming appointments by the Governor of certain persons communicated May 17, 2018.

Talking points/Sample letter/email here.

Talking Points for Your Comments to the Air Board

As you write your comments to the Air Pollution Control Board during this abbreviated comment period (now through January 4, 2019), you may find some good talking points in the summary of comments made during the August-September comment period. The summary, originally published on November 2, 2018, was compiled with the excellent work of folks from Appalachian Voices, Friends of Buckingham and the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter.

Keep in mind that per the Air Board’s instructions, comments are limited to questions and concerns on demographics and site suitability for the proposed air compressor station. The Board also said that the permit conditions, including the amendments that were discussed and approved at the December 19, 2018, meeting, are not subject to public comment. And further, the Board indicated that public comment is not being sought on the conduct of a health assessment by the Virginia Department of Health. Documents to be commented on are listed here. Despite the Air Board’s restrictions, the summary of earlier comments may provide you with useful points to consider.

Submit Comments to the Air Board

Graphic from WaterIsLife

At their meeting on December 19, 2018, the Air Pollution Control Board delayed their vote on the air permit for the proposed ACP compressor station in Union Hill, asking for a public comment period to address the newly submitted or updated information submitted by both supporters and opponents. What is Governor Northam’s and Department of Environmental Quality’s idea of an open and fair comment period? Two weeks over the holidays, two weeks which include four weekend days and four further days when the state government offices will be closed for holidays. You’d think they really don’t want people to comment!

On December 21, the Friday before Christmas, DEQ opened the comment period (of course, no one at DEQ will be back in the office until December 26.)

Kate Addleson, Director of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, released the following statement:

“DEQ’s decision to schedule this comment period over Christmas and New Year’s is nothing more than an attempt to silence the vast majority of Virginians who will now be unable to participate. Buckingham County communities, including Union Hill, have already been through the ringer as this compressor station threatens their community, homes and health, and this extremely brief comment period adds further tension to an already stressful situation.

“Virginians, just like Gov. Northam and those at DEQ, should be able to spend this time with their families and friends, not fighting against corporate polluters and government processes that have been bent to those corporations’ will. DEQ should extend the length of this comment period further into the new year in order to allow for adequate public engagement”

Wild Virginia’s statement said in part:

We must ask who the short window for public involvement serves and the only conclusion is Dominion Energy and DEQ Director David Paylor, both of whom have shown they want this permit shoved through as quickly as possible. …. DEQ has shown that its leaders don’t really want the public to play its proper role in the regulatory process. DEQ can move very quickly when that haste benefits pipeline companies but action is painfully slow when the wider public interest is at stake.  We assume the Air Board members intended the public comment period to be sufficient to gather well-considered and well-supported comments – not to have a comment period designed to make it as difficult as possible for the public. DEQ must extend the period to at least 30 days, a bare minimum for a reasonable process. Fairness demands it.

What should you do? Send your comments, regardless of the attempt to minimize the comment period!  Instructions and links to the documents included in this comment period are on DEQ’s Web site for the Buckingham air permit process, The documents are also available at the Buckingham Public Library (1140 Main Street, Dillwyn, Virginia 23936), but the library, like the state offices, is closed December 24-25 and December 31-January 1.

The following information is from the DEQ Air Permit page link above:

The documents to be considered per the Board’s instructions relate to questions and concerns on demographics and site suitability for the proposed air compressor station. The Board also clarified that the permit conditions, including the amendments that were discussed and approved at the December 19, 2018, meeting, are not subject to public comment. Further, the Board indicated that public comment is not being sought on the conduct of a health assessment by the Virginia Department of Health.

Public comment period: The public comment period on the documents will begin on December 21, 2018 and close on January 4, 2019.

To submit written comments: Comments are to be submitted to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ):

  • by Postal Mail or Hand Delivery to Piedmont Regional Office, Re: Buckingham Compressor Station, 4949-A Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060;
  • by E-mail at; or
  • by Fax at (804) 527-5106

All comments must be in writing and be received by DEQ before 11:59 p.m. on January 4, 2019. Receipt confirmation will not be provided for comments received during the comment period. Submittals must include the names, mailing addresses and telephone numbers of the commenter, and of all persons represented by the commenter.

Friends of Nelson Annual Meeting

After you ring in the New Year, we’ve got some celebrating to do together. We’ve had some recent victories in our fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – so join us on the 5th of January!

Bring a dish to share. Include a label so folks know what it is.
Live Music by The Findells. Known for their passionate, energetic live shows … including a mix of original songs and diverse covers that encourage dancing & fun. The Fins have carved out their own sound and created a unique and lasting legend in the Shenandoah Valley & beyond, so bring those dancing shoes. Check out their latest video from the Bare Winter Trees record.
You’ll be able to renew your membership to Friends of Nelson for 2019. We value your support – both time & money. We’ve said it before … we’ll say it again .. the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not a done deal.
Happy New Year! See you on the 5th …

Call or Write Your Senators!

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on December 3, 2018, that “Legislation is pending in Congress that would give the National Park Service clear authority to allow construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline beneath the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway…. Dominion Energy, lead partner in the $7 billion project, confirmed the legislative proposal, which first surfaced in a blog post from an Alabama group that suggested aid for the 600-mile natural gas pipeline is ‘tucked into the omnibus spending bill’ being negotiated by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a federal approval for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Monongahela National Forest, George Washington National Forest, and Appalachian Trail.

Having been thwarted by the court in efforts to bend the National Forest and the National Parks Services to its will, Dominion is trying circumvent the court ruling by sneaking a last-minute amendment into a pending appropriations bill for the Department of Interior that would permit the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway near Wintergreen and Reed’s Gap.

Although we understand that (at this moment) the amendment has been pulled, we should assume that Dominion is pulling out all the stops to get something from Congress to sidestep the court’s ruling.

Write or call (or better yet, do both!) your Senators and tell them that you are upset about any possible legislative “slight of hand,” that you oppose any last minute amendments to the budget reconciliation bill, especially one that would allow gas pipelines to cross our national forests and the Appalachian Trail, and that you oppose Dominion’s efforts to make an end run around the clear and carefully considered ruling of the Fourth Circuit Court.

Tim Kaine
Phone: 202-224-4024

Mark Warner
Phone: 202-224-2023