Air pollution board defers action on compressor station permit

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Action on a piece of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has been deferred until next month.

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board held a hearing on a draft air permit for a compressor station in the Union Hill area of Buckingham County on Friday.

Numerous groups had representatives at the meeting to protest the project, including the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Sierra Club, Virginians Against Pipelines, and many others.

These groups say the compressor station would emit a lot of noise and pollution, impacting the well-being and livelihood of people in the area, and it would be built on the property of a former plantation and on the unmarked graves of slaves.

They are also raising concerns about fire and explosion hazards caused by the compressor station and pipeline that would strain the resources of local volunteer fire departments.

In response to the decision to defer action on the permit, Dominion Energy says it expects the permit will be approved in the future.

Spokesperson Aaron Ruby says the permit is the most stringent with the strongest environmental protections of any compressor station in the country, as recommended by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

“The compressor station was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after four years of exhaustive review and was unanimously approved by the Buckingham Board of Supervisors after more than a year of public review and participation,” added Ruby “The Buckingham Board of Supervisors imposed more restrictive conditions on its Special Use Permit than any other permit in the county’s history.”

Under the protections the company says it is putting in place, methane emissions will be reduced by 99 percent and other air emissions by between 50 and 80 percent.

Dominion also says it is working with the Union Hill community and investing millions into a new community center and upgrading the county's emergency response capabilities.

The Sierra Club says the board should use its authority to deny the permit, citing environmental justice issues regarding the project.

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board will take up the permit again on Dec. 10.

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