State air board approves controversial Buckingham County compressor
Free Press staff, wire reports | 1/11/2019, 6 a.m.
A historic African-American community in pristine Buckingham County will have to learn to live with a noisy, smelly, potentially polluting piece of equipment, a state agency ruled this week.
Rebuffing arguments from defenders of Union Hill, a tiny Buckingham County hamlet that freed slaves and others founded after the Civil War, the state Air Pollution Control Board voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve a permit allowing installation of a natural gas compressor in the community located 75 miles west of Richmond.
Chants of “Shame, shame, shame” and “Protect our children” erupted as the board adjourned after the vote. The decision had been delayed for two months and was taken with two members of the board absent and a third abstaining from voting because of a conflict of interest.
The unanimous decision, which could be challenged in court, was a huge win for Dominion Energy and its partners, who are entangled in legal fights that have interrupted their attempt to build the $6.5 billion, 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline to carry natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia to North Carolina.
The compressor, which also will connect with an existing pipeline that runs through the Union Hill area, is considered crucial to enabling the gas to flow the full distance through the new pipeline.