Stop Environmental Racism in Virginia. Stop the Fracked-gas Compressor Station.
This petition had 6,217 supporters
John Laury traces his roots in rural Virginia back over 150 years when his forebears and other freed slaves established the small community of Union Hill.
Today, he and is wife, Ruby, and their neighbors are fighting for their lives – trying to protect their land, health and heritage. As part of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project, Dominion Energy, one of the largest monopoly utilities in the U.S. and the largest corporate donor in Virginia political campaigns, is trying to build a massive, polluting fracked-gas compressor station in the heart of this historic African-American community. Dominion and state officials are trying to erase the environmental injustice impacts of their site choice through misinformation.
It’s a classic example of environmental racism, and it must stop!
Dozens of environmental justice and climate leaders from across the U.S. have signed a letter of support for Union Hill, including Karenna Gore, Dr. Robert Bullard, Bill McKibben, Rev. William Barber, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Tim Guinee, Chelsea Handler and many others. Support is growing every day through #WeAreAllUnionHill.
Sign this petition to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board by 5 pm, January 4, 2019, urging the board to deny the permit for the proposed fracked-gas compressor station. Here’s why:
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Dominion only used average census tract data, which erased clusters of minority residents who are most impacted by the project, and claimed 600% fewer people live in Union Hill than were found in a 2-year, door-to-door anthropological study by a University of Virginia researcher. That study found the community to be roughly 83% non-white. The DEQ also denied the research done on the historic freedmen populations at this former plantation site. The agency’s methods are exactly what the National Environmental Policy Act is supposed to prevent -- systemic racism in the siting of polluting facilities.
- The compressor station would operate 24/7, emitting toxic pollutants while generating near constant noise and light pollution in this rural community, disproportionately impacting the health of nearby residents. It would also emit smog, benzene, formaldehyde, and other harmful pollutants. Facilities like the proposed compressor station have been linked to severe respiratory problems and cancer.
- Methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the compressor station alone would cancel out one third of Virginia’s proposed carbon reduction regulations aimed at mitigating climate change. The ACP served by the compressor station would create even more greenhouse gas emissions and commit the state to another generation of fossil fuel dependence, even while renewable sources of energy continue to become more efficient and affordable compared to gas. The ACP, and the Buckingham compressor station, are inconsistent with Virginia’s sustainability goals and would undercut current and planned measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
- The DEQ refuses to do a community health assessment before the facility is built, saying it would do so only after two years of operation. This is unacceptable — it’s like asking a person to smoke for two years and then assessing whether they were harmed.
The air board must consider both the future of Virginia and its past legacy of slavery when making the decision to deny the air permit for this compressor station.
Our nonprofit organization, Friends of Buckingham, and many others have vigorously refuted Dominion’s and the DEQ’s erroneous claims that Union Hill is not an environmental justice community and that the residents would not be harmed. Allowing this permit to stand would continue this pattern of environmental racism and turn a blind, uncaring eye on innocent Virginians and their descendants forced to bear a disproportionately higher risk to physical and mental health and well-being, economic stability, and human rights, all to benefit a for-profit corporation, not the public.
Today: Jonathan is counting on you
Jonathan Sokolow needs your help with “VA Air Pollution Control Board: Stop Environmental Racism in Virginia. Stop the Fracked-gas Compressor Station.”. Join Jonathan and 6,216 supporters today.