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People Protest Air Pollution Board Appointment Ahead of Pipeline Compressor Vote

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Protesters gathered in front of Dominion Energy on Monday. Protesters gathered in front of Dominion Energy on Monday.
The protesters are speaking against a decision by Governor Northam. The protesters are speaking against a decision by Governor Northam.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

People were at the Dominion Energy headquarters in Charlottesville on Monday morning to protest the removal of two members of the state Air Pollution Board.

The Cancel Compressor Coalition says the removals comes after the board delayed a decision on a permit for a compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Buckingham County.

The protesters say the board members who were removed had concerns about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station. They are chanting “Dominion corrupts our General Assembly and “Dr. Northam, don’t poison Buckingham County.” 

While people are outraged by the decision to remove the members of the board, both of their terms ended in June. A spokesperson from the governor's office said Northam is exercising his statutory authority to appoint members of his choosing to these board seats.

“The timing is fishy,” said protester Emily Little. “I told my children about it and they said ‘why would you have people make public comment and then replace the people who are listening right before they were about to vote?’ It means that all of those public comments go away and you don’t really care what the public has to say.”

The group says decision is environmental racism because the compressor would be going into a minority community in Buckingham County.

“The governor’s decision is not because of anything pending before the Air Board,” said a spokesperson from the governor’s office. “We have been reviewing a field of very qualified applications and the governor has arrived at his decision.”

On Friday, the governor announced his administration’s appointments, which included two new members to board. The new members are Kajal Kapur of Albemarle County and Gail Bush of Stafford County.


11/09/2018 Press Release from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality:

VIRGINIA STATE AIR POLLUTION BOARD DEFERS ACTION ON PROPOSED AIR PERMIT 
Atlantic Coast Pipeline's Buckingham Compressor Station to be considered in December 

RICHMOND, VA - Today, at its meeting in Richmond, the State Air Pollution Control Board (Board) deferred taking further action on the Buckingham Compressor Station air permit. 

Today's motion to defer followed a presentation from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which included an overview of the permit and a response to comments. The Board also heard a presentation from the applicant, Dominion Energy, and a full day of public comments from meeting attendees. 

The Board indicated they would continue to consider the information already provided by the agency, the public, and the applicant to this point. The Board will resume discussions on the matter at its next meeting on Dec. 10. 

"The board determined they needed extra time to evaluate all of the comments and concerns received from the public before a final decision is made," said DEQ Director David Paylor. 

The proposed air permit will govern air pollution emissions for the proposed Buckingham air compressor station facility associated with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Buckingham County. 

For more information and updates, visit www.DEQ.Virginia.gov.