Activists and Residents Express Unified Opposition to Fracked Gas Compressor Station Air Permit

Activists and residents call on Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for full Air Pollution Board hearing to deny Lambert Compressor Station’s minor source air permit


Climate and Energy

For Immediate Release

Richmond, VA — Today marks the closure of public comment on the Lambert Compressor Station project. Since January, activists, organizations and impacted residents have submitted public comments urging the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to refer a draft air permit for the project to the full Virginia Air Pollution Control Board citing major issues with the permit. Organizations opposing the project, including Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter and the Pittsylvania County NAACP, also delivered citizen petitions to the Virginia DEQ today.

The Lambert fracked gas facility would be part of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) Southgate 70-mile pipeline, an extension of the still-unfinished 300-mile MVP which has run into repeated regulatory and legal problems, including a recent report questioning the project’s financial rationale. If approved, the Lambert Station would be sited near four environmental justice communities in Pittsylvania County, and near two existing Transco Compressor Stations.

Pittsylvania County’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in its public comment to the DEQ, called on the agency and the Air Board to:

“Identify environmental justice communities affected over the sixty years that Transco has operated here in Pittsylvania County, communities now at increased risk from an MVP compressor station; bring these communities into the decision-making process; and evaluate the cumulative and combined, past and future effects of the Transco and MVP compressor stations,” before moving forward with Lambert’s permit.

Comments also highlight the mainline MVP’s significant delays and skyrocketing costs, currently billions of dollars over budget. Commenters also say that moving forward with the Lambert Station’s air permit would be a premature, rash decision.

“Fossil fuel companies come into town and cause years of trauma in the impacted communities who have to live with their dirty infrastructure and pollution,” said Food & Water Watch Virginia Organizer Jolene Mafnas. “Local residents and communities must be a part of the process. Advocates are clear in our robust opposition to the Lambert Compressor Station — we demand a public Air Pollution Control Board Hearing, and we demand frontline communities be meaningfully included in the process.”

“In January 2020, because of flaws in the environmental justice analysis, the U.S. Fourth Circuit overturned an air permit issued to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline for a compressor station at Union Hill in Buckingham County,” said Katie Whitehead, Pittsylvania County landowner. “MVP and DEQ seem to be making the same mistakes regarding the proposed compressor station in Pittsylvania County, failing to determine whether people of color, poor people and people with health vulnerabilities would suffer disproportionate harm.”

“This dirty, dangerous fracked gas compressor station threatens the health of Virginia’s people, climate and communities,” said Gretchen Goeke Dee, Outreach Coordinator for the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club’s Stop the Pipelines Campaign. “Clean, renewable energy is affordable and abundant right now and it makes no sense to lock us into decades of dependence on more fracked gas. Our Commonwealth must treat this issue with the seriousness it deserves and hear the voices of the Pittsylvania County residents who would be most affected by this polluting facility.”

Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch [email protected]           
Doug Jackson, Sierra Club [email protected]