The last issue of ABRA Update (November 15) reported on Virginia Governor Northam’s plans to replace two members of the State Air Pollution Control Board in advance of a crucial Board vote on a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station in Buckingham County. The two members – Rebecca Rubin and Samuel Bleicher – had voiced concerns about the proposed permit at the Board’s November 9 meeting at which a vote on the permit was deferred until the Board’s December 10 meeting. In the immediate wake of this news, a group of prominent conservation and environmental organizations, several of them ABRA members, issued a statement calling on Governor Northam “to reverse this decision until the current board has finalized its deliberations on the proposed permit.”
In the ensuing two weeks, media outlets have reported widely of the critical reaction (see related articles linked below in In the News) to the Governor’s action. At this writing, the Governor’s Office has indicated the new members will not be seated on the Air Board until after December 10. This raises the question of whether Rubin and Bleicher can still attend and vote at the December 10 meeting, and if so, are willing to do so. If not, that leaves 4 members of the 7-member Board (one member has recused himself from voting on the issue) to decide the compressor station permit issue. In the meantime, a widespread effort is underway to contact the Governor. Those who share these concerns are urged to take the following actions:
Call Governor Northam today at 804-786-2211 and tell him that:
- You are profoundly disappointed by his unacceptable decision
- Changing the air board membership shortly before a final vote on the Buckingham compressor station is a transparent giveaway to support Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
These personnel changes appear to put corporate interests above the public interest.He should reverse his decision and reinstate Rebecca Rubin and Samuel Bleicher until after the board votes on the pending permit