Virginia board denies permit to extend fracking pipeline into North Carolina
Virginia’s air pollution governing body on Friday voted against approving an air quality permit for a proposed compressor station in the southern Virginia town of Chatham.
On the second day of a two-day meeting, the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 against the proposal. The proposal would have extended the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which carries fracked fuel, over the border into North Carolina.
Environmental groups and local advocates have vocally opposed the project, citing environmental reviews indicating it would increase the levels of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde.
Sixteen members of Virginia’s House of Delegates had previously urged the board to deny the permit in October, citing environmental justice concerns.
“Emissions from compressor stations contain toxic materials and any proposed project that would introduce new health hazards into a community should be very carefully considered,” they wrote. “A project’s potential impacts and contribution to cumulative impacts must be weighed against any arguments as to its necessity.”
Environmental advocates praised the board’s decision, including Lynn Godfrey, community outreach coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Virginia chapter.
“No one should be asked to sacrifice their air, water, and health so that fossil fuel executives can make a quick buck in a world transitioning to clean energy. This is a win for Virginia communities who already live with elevated levels of fossil fuel pollution, and everyone everywhere who wants a livable future for their children,” Godfrey said in a statement. “The writing is on the wall if the wealthy investors backing this project are willing to read it: the age of fossil fuels is over, it’s time to drop this polluting pipeline.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan has repeatedly emphasized a focus on environmental justice, or addressing the impacts of environmental policy on disadvantaged communities. In October, the agency began the process to increase reporting requirements for another compound, ethylene oxide, that has been linked to respiratory issues and cancer in local communities.
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