All eyes on natural gas compressor vote Monday

State Air Pollution Control BoardThe State Air Pollution Control Board of Virginia is scheduled to meet in Richmond on Monday to deliberate a proposed air pollution permit for a compressor station being proposed as part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The eyes of the country are on Virginia, as the citizen-members of this board are poised to make a decision that could be a bellwether for the growing movement across America among diverse interests — environmental justice advocates, faith communities, climate activists, clean energy supporters — to halt the build-out of natural gas infrastructure.

Dominion Energy is the lead entity in a consortium behind the ACP. Its proposed compressor station, one of the largest types of these facilities built, would be in the heart of a rural, predominantly African-American community whose ancestors were enslaved people and Freedmen. Many in the Union Hill community have been opposed to the project from the start, and their story has taken hold across the state and nationally.

Gov. Ralph Northam and his administration have drawn criticism in recent weeks following several actions that appear to disregard the concerns of environmental injustice, or worse, interfere with the board’s process in an attempt to greenlight the project.

The air board is now scheduled to meet at 12 noon on Monday in the General Assembly Building in Richmond. It was originally scheduled for 10 a.m., but weather conditions have forced a delay; the Department of Environmental Quality notes the meeting may ultimately be postponed to Dec. 19.

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