Virginia Organizing calls on Northam to reinstate Air Pollution Control Board members

virginiaThe governor’s office has announced that it is removing two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board. These removals will prevent members who have expressed concerns about the proposed compressor station in Buckingham County from potentially voting against it in future meetings. The Air Pollution Control Board has an important vote coming up December 10.

Virginia Organizing Chairperson Del McWhorter issued the following statement in response:

“Governor Ralph Northam pledged to respect the process in Virginia for determining whether these pipelines are safe and do not violate the environmental and civil rights laws of the Commonwealth. The State Control Boards provide the necessary oversight into whether the utility companies meet those requirements. Removing members who might decide against the projects violates the process. We strongly urge the Governor to reinstate these members and keep his promise.

“Virginia Organizing stands with the people of Union Hill. The siting of the enormous, industrial fracked gas compressor station in this rural historic African American community will have a terrible effect on the health and quality of life of its residents. It’s an example of environmental racism at its worst. The two members of the Air Pollution Control Board who have been removed, Samuel Bleicher and Rebecca Rubin, asked probing questions and expressed concerns about the unfair impact of the station on the people of Union Hill at the last board meeting. Their removal has obviously been done to stop the possibility of them voting against the project.

“Governor Northam can still change his mind and reinstate these members before the December 10 board meeting, and we urge him to do so. This attempt to interfere with an important legal process of protection for our people and our environment must stop now.”

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