Al Gore Among Guest Speakers Opposing Pipeline Construction in Buckingham County
The debate over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the compressor station proposed for a historic African-American section of Buckingham County is the center of a community conversation Tuesday evening.
BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The debate over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the compressor station proposed for a historic African-American section of Buckingham County is the center of a community conversation Tuesday evening.
Several community leaders and former Vice President Al Gore spoke out against the pipeline on Tuesday, February 19, saying it will do more harm than good.
Tuesday’s event was part of the former vice president’s environmental justice tour.
Gore encourages people in central Virginia to continue the fight to stop the project.
At the center of the proposed compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is the historically black neighborhood of Union Hill.
"These people should not have to turn out in the thousands,” Reverend William Barber II, who spoke at the event, said.
A community town hall Tuesday night highlighted what community members call the potential devastating effects of the proposed project, which would run through Buckingham County.
Al Gore was one of several guest speakers at the event.
"It is a vivid example of environmental injustice - or you could say environmental racism,” Gore said. “It's a well-known phenomenon across all the United States. I've never seen a more vivid case than this one."
Gore says that allowing the pipeline’s construction to continue would violate the rights of those who live in Buckingham and called for the project to end entirely.
"This pipeline should be canceled,” Gore said. “The compressor station should be canceled. It is an environmental injustice and it's not too much to say environmental racism located in this historically black community."
Rev. Barber II says Governor Ralph Northam should change his views on the pipeline and stop accepting money from Dominion Energy.
"He could stop this tomorrow, but it would require him to say, ‘I choose the people of Virginia over a corporation,’” Barber said.
Gore also stated that if Northam wanted to make up for all of the controversy surrounding the blackface scandal, Buckingham County would be a good place to start.
"In the aftermath of those pictures - of that picture being shown - the governor said he wants to dedicate his remaining time as governor to racial reconciliation,” Gore said. “Well, here is the premiere place to do that."
In a statement in regard to Tuesday night’s event, Dominion Energy says the compressor station sets a new standard for environmental protection, with air emissions 50 to 80 percent lower than any other compressor station in Virginia.