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Va. board postpones hearing over compressor station on Atlantic Coast pipeline

Members of Virginia's State Air Pollution Control Board postponed a vote on a compressor station attached to the Dominion Energy Inc.-led Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC natural gas transportation project.

The board had scheduled a meeting for Dec. 19 in Richmond, Va., in an effort to come to a decision on a permit for the compressor station but instead said it would open a public comment period on the permit. The compressor station has attracted controversy given its proposed location in the historically black community of Union Hill, west of Richmond. Virginia officials and community members have voiced concerns over environmental justice and health issues.

"The lives and livelihoods of the residents of Union Hill are at stake," said William Davies, Virginia community outreach coordinator at the Sierra Club. "Members of the Union Hill community face risks to their health, safety, and entire way of life, all for what is being repeatedly shown to be an unnecessary project that will only benefit a monopoly utility's profit margin."

Dominion did not expect the delay in the compressor station permit to hurt the 600-mile, 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast project, which is designed to bring gas from West Virginia to mid-Atlantic markets.

"We're confident the board will approve the permit after considering all of the facts," Dominion spokesperson Aaron Ruby said. "The permit recommended by Virginia [Department of Environmental Quality] is the most stringent air permit with the strongest environmental protections of any compressor station in the country. Most air emissions at the station will be 50-80% lower than most other compressor stations in the country."