State board approves permit for compressor station

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board has unanimously approved a permit for a compressor station in Buckingham County.

The station is part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that will be built in the Union Hill area of the county, a historic area that was founded by freed slaves following the Civil War.

Critics are concerned about the noise and pollution the station will generate.

“This permit is the most stringent air permit with the strongest environmental protections of any compressor station in the country. As a result of the permit’s strict conditions and the unprecedented protections we’ve put in place, most air emissions at the station will be 50 to 80 percent lower than any other compressor station in Virginia,” said Karl Neddenjen, a spokesperson for the pipeline project. “While the approval process has concluded, we know we have to continue building trust in the community. It will begin with the investments we’re making in a new community center and rescue squad, but it will not end there. We have a profound respect for this community and its history, and we will continue working together to build a better future.”

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality says permits for compressor station across the country were analyzed as well as looking at pollution control technology for this project permit.

"The board recognized that this permit will significantly reduce the facility’s air pollution and set a new national standard that all future compressor stations will have to meet across the country,” said DEQ Air Director Mike Dowd.

The permit has been amended to include ambient air quality monitoring near the site of the station, which will include reporting requirements and compliance procedures.

Voting on the permit was deferred in December so members of the board could review documents that had been submitted following meetings on Nov. 8 and 9.

A limited public comment period was also announced, which ended on Friday.

Even though this permit has been approved, construction on the project is currently halted following federal court rulings concerning permits from the U.S. Forest Service and the pipeline's crossing of the Appalachian Trail.

Dominion Energy, the main company behind the 600-mile pipeline project, has committed to building a new community center in Union Hill for the residents.

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