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Court Hears Arguments In Challenge To Pipeline Compressor Station Permit

A federal appeals court heard oral arguments today in a dispute over a proposed compressor station in Union Hill for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline - Union Hill is a historic African American community in Buckingham County. 

Concerns about the project center around pollution and noise that opponents say will disrupt the community’s character and clean air.

Jon Mueller, an attorney with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation argued before a three-judge panel that the court should toss an air quality permit that the state approved for the project in January. Mueller said state law required the Board to do more to protect the community.

“We have to determine whether there is localized impact to a community of color or low economic community and that’s exactly what we have in Union Hill,” Mueller said.

Mueller also argued the Board is required to consider the best available control technology. The state could have considered using electric motors for the compressor station, he said, which would reduce or eliminate air pollution.

Chief Judge Roger Gregory grilled lawyers for the state and pipeline developer Dominion energy about whether they carefully examined potential impacts on Union Hill residents.

Outside the courthouse, Dominion attorneys deferred to spokesman Aaron Ruby, who called the permit the strictest of any compressor station in the country.

“And there will be fewer emissions and more air control monitoring at the Buckingham station than any other compressor station in Virginia,” Ruby said. 

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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