Virginia Air Pollution Control Board Denies Natural Gas Pipeline Project Key Permit

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) hit another roadblock this week when the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board denied a necessary air quality permit for the proposed Lambert Compressor Station with a 6-1 vote. The purpose of the station would have been to connect the controversial and widely opposed 303-mile pipeline under construction to a proposed ‘Southgate’ extension into North Carolina. 

According to the environmental nonprofit organization the Sierra Club, the project faces a significant hurdle moving forward without this permit. The MVP mainline project not only lacks multiple federal and state authorizations but has also accumulated over $2 million in fines for nearly 350 water quality violations in Virginia and West Virginia.

“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,” said Lynn Godfrey, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “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.”

Leading up to the decision, the public was given two days to offer input to the Air Board in Chatham, Va. Over 80 percent of the speakers and 16 Virginia Delegates raised concerns about disproportionate health impacts to minority communities from air pollution and the environmental harm that would come with the proposed station. Board members cited these issues in their formal denial, as well as recognized the lack of a thorough environmental study.

“The citizen Air Board was right to deny the permit sought by MVP Southgate—the project is unjust, and the proposed permit was wholly insufficient to protect human health and the environment,” added Jessica Sims, the Virginia Field Coordinator for Appalachian Voices. “The Chatham community’s incredible work opposing the ruinous Mountain Valley Pipeline shows that neighbors can stand up to big fossil fuel companies and win—especially when their fellow citizens serving on state boards do the right thing. It’s past time for this destructive project to be canceled.”

Cover Photo courtesy of Getty Images of Virginia by Jon Bilous

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