The Virginia Air Pollution Control Board has been asked to reject eleventh-hour attempt by Dominion Energy to insert new conditions and provisions into the pending air quality permit for the project’s compressor station in Buckingham County without input from the public. A December 3 letter from the Southern Environmental Law Center to Board Chair Richard Langford and David Paylor, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, states:
Dominion proposed on November 9 that the Board condition the permit on a memorandum of understanding between Dominion and the Dominion-backed Union Hill Community Development Corporation regarding a $5.1 million investment. But whether such a condition would satisfy the requirements of §10.1-1307(E) is a question the public must be permitted to weigh in on. Indeed, we believe it would not. The governing statute does not permit site-suitability concerns—like the risk here of disproportionate harm to the historic, African-American community of Union Hill—to be swept away with the promise of money to unrelated community development projects. Further, to allow Dominion to unilaterally amend a proposed permit after the close of the comment period would invite abuse of the process and frustrate meaningful public participation.
The Air Board is scheduled to meet Monday, December 10 to vote on the proposed air permit. The forthcoming vote has generated much controversy due to the replacement of two sitting members who had participated in the Board’s November 8 and 9 deliberations on the permit (see the November 30 Update and related articles below in In the News for more on this. Details on the December 10 meeting are here.