In a stunning development late Thursday, November 15, it was reported that Virginia Governor Northam will replace two members of the Air Pollution Control Board and one member of the State Water Control Board whose terms have expired, but who were continuing to serve. The Air Board members affected are Rebecca Rubin and Samuel Bleicher, whose terms ended in June but who were continuing as active members. Rubin and Bleicher had both voiced skepticism at last week’s Air Board meeting regarding whether a permit should be issued for the proposed compressor station for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The Water Board member not being reappointed is Roberta Kellam, who had voted last December against granting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline a water quality certificate. No replacements for the three departing board members have been announced by the Governor’s Office.
A statement issued Thursday afternoon by seven prominent conservation and environmental organizations stated:
We are shocked and extremely disappointed in Governor Northam’s decision to interrupt the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s deliberation on the proposed Buckingham County compressor station. Removing citizen board members in the midst of contentious debate sends the wrong message. Citizen boards must remain independent from political interference during the decision-making process. We call on the Governor to reverse this decision until the current board has finalized its deliberations on the proposed permit.”
- Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Virginia Conservation Network, CleanVirginia, Southern Environmental Law Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, Natural Resources Defense Council, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
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