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.