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Groups pushing Virginia DEQ for transparency on AdvanSix pollution permit

Chris Graham
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A coalition of environmental advocacy groups is pressing the Virginia DEQ to require AdvanSix Resins and Chemicals to submit a complete and transparent Title V application for an air pollution permit at its plant in Hopewell.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, Hopewell-Colonial Heights NAACP, Sierra Club’s Falls of the James Group, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation submitted comments to the DEQ raising issue with the lack of emission data in the permitting record, which the groups say make it impossible for the public to fully assess the draft permit.

“This facility is a perpetual offender, and it’s unacceptable,” said Mark Sabath, senior attorney in SELC’s Virginia office. “DEQ has an obligation not to perpetuate environmental injustice. A weak permit with vague and unenforceable monitoring requirements risks making things worse for the residents of Hopewell.”

The Hopewell facility has a long history of chemical releases in an area severely burdened by pollution. AdvanSix is the state’s fourth largest emitter of nitrogen oxide and is close to five other major air pollution sources in Hopewell. Combined, Hopewell’s industrial sources of air pollution equate to 6.5 percent of the entire state’s emissions of criteria pollutants and 8 percent of the state’s emissions of air toxics.

The City of Hopewell is 43 percent Black.

“I’ve seen many instances of environmental injustice and air pollution, but this one is striking,” said Patrick Anderson, staff attorney at SELC. “In the last three years this facility has had multiple releases that trouble the community, and it is therefore vital that the public have access to critical emissions information.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].