Judge dismisses lawsuit over proposed pipeline compressor station

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BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors over a proposed compressor station, which is part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

On Jan. 5, 2017, the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a special use permit for the compressor station, which would be built in the Union Hill area.

Lou Zeller, a member of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, filed a "notice of appeal" on Feb. 6 without the help of an attorney.

"I wish I would have gotten better advice," said Zeller.

Buckingham Circuit Court Judge William Alexander ruled Zeller's appeal was not filed correctly, comparing it to a "letter to the editor."

"It was specious to compare a letter to the editor to a filing which was done not only to the court, but delivered to all the necessary parties," said Zeller.

Attorney Charles Lawler eventually took the case and filed another appeal on Mar. 8.

Alexander dismissed it since Lawler's appeal was filed more than 30 days after the board's decision.

He said he was uncertain about parts of the case, arguing the plaintiff had good arguments, and he hopes the case will be reviewed by the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

"He hoped it would be approved by our [Supreme] court, so we intend to take that to the bank," said Zeller

In a statement over the weekend, Dominion Energy said both the Buckingham County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors followed the law.

Pipeline opponents believe too much is at stake, and there will be several problems if the compressor station is built.

"Our water, our kids, and the families that live close by it that have issues with their health," said Kathy Mosley, a Buckingham County resident.

Zeller plans to appeal his case to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run nearly 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, passing through Nelson and Buckingham counties along the way.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conditionally approved the pipeline in October 2017.

The pipeline cleared another hurdle in January for tree felling work to begin, which is already underway in numerous areas.

Besides a few more approvals, construction on the pipeline could begin as early as spring.

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