Students Ask Kapur to Delay Swearing-In

Members of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition visited the office of Dr. Kajal Kapur, one of the proposed replacement members on the State Air Pollution Control Board to deliver a letter asking her to refrain from completing the swearing-in process for the Board before the December 10th vote on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Buckingham Compressor Station.

Their letter described the detailed testimony at the Board’s public hearing on November 8-9, 2018, described Northam’s removal of two members who questioned the legal and technical bases for the permit proposed by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The letter says Northam “seems to be trying to prevent these members of an independent citizens board from acting on their deliberations and valid concerns, in order to attain a favorable vote for Dominion Energy and the advancement of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

“The Governor’s office has stated that you will not be seated on the Board before the upcoming meeting but will be sworn in ‘shortly’ (See Virginia Mercury article), meaning you will not be able to vote on the permit but also blocking current members from voting. Legal precedents indicate that Board members retain their powers to act until replaced by new members. It appears the Governor is manipulating this process specifically to block Ms. Rubin and Mr. Bleicher from voting on December 10. We encourage you to help preserve the independence of this citizen board and the integrity of this regulatory process.

“Your power lies in your ability to refrain from being sworn in before the December 10th vote. We strongly encourage you to exercise that power in the interest of a just and fair process for the people of Buckingham., The former board members must be given the opportunity to serve on December 10th; to vote in accordance with their professional opinions informed by hours of testimony from impacted community members, lawyers, and scientists. We, the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition, believe that you must refrain from completing the swearing-in process for the State Air Pollution Control Board before the December 10th vote on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Buckingham Compressor Station.”

The letter was signed by, “The Virginia Student Environmental Coalition on behalf of young people from Northern Virginia Community College, University of Mary Washington, University of Virginia, College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Piedmont Valley Community College, Hollins University, Roanoke College, Virginia Tech and George Mason University.”