Virginia Activists Highlight Environmental Injustices in Fracked Gas Plant Permitting Process

C4GT plant exemplifies state agency loopholes that prioritize corporate profits over constituent health

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Climate and Energy

Charles City, VA — This morning, impacted residents and environmental justice advocates gathered virtually to highlight the accumulated negligence behind C4GT’s permitting processes and the environmental injustices core to the project. On the heels of a Charles City County Administration vote to reclaim the land the power plant plans to develop, and one week after C4GT’s State Corporation Commission’s Certificate of Public Necessity was due to expire, speakers gathered to urge prompt state action to stop the project.

The C4GT plant is the latest in a string of fossil fuel infrastructure projects to enter rocky ground, from the evaporating financial rationale behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline to the corporate interfighting that left C4GT footing the bill in a recent lawsuit loss to Virginia Natural Gas. Despite the limited financial viability of the project, state agencies and lawmakers have been unwilling to take action against the plant.

Speakers highlighted the environmental injustices core to the project, and called on the Department of Environmental Quality to subject the project to their new environmental justice rules.

“For over twenty years, County officials have been concerned with gaining profits through the C4GT power plant. Local government officials have repeatedly told the residents of Charles City County that this project is a done deal — now they are changing their tune,” said Wanda Roberts with Concerned Citizens of Charles City County. “I represent the Concerned Citizens of Charles City County and on behalf of our hundreds of supporters demand action against the C4GT plant. Change does not happen in a day and it is change that we desperately need in Charles City County.”

“The state’s continued negligence to hold C4GT to utmost scrutiny is an injustice to the residents of Charles City County and indeed the state,” said Food & Water Watch Virginia Organizer Jolene Mafnas. “To allow the C4GT project to continue would be to support the irresponsible and incompetent actions of a corporate polluter rather than to protect the health and safety of constituents in Charles City County. We stand with the citizens of Charles City County in demanding prompt action to review the C4GT plant.”

“Fossil fuel projects are predatory in their siting, across Virginia — C4GT included,” said Mothers Out Front Virginia Organizing Manager Kim Sudderth. “If you are black, brown, indigenous, poor, rural or any of the above, I’ve learned that you will be affected by environmental injustice. If the C4GT plant is built, it will give life to other opportunists to prey upon the residents of Charles City now and in the future. We demand that the C4GT plant be cancelled.”

“This project is smoke and mirrors on a corporate level,” said Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice Council Member Barb Adams. “There is waning support even for the Charles City County administration who has declared this a done deal for so many years. We must keep the light on this project and ask the very hard questions of our state agencies as to why they continue to allow C4GT’s scheme to continue.”

“There is no reason for the state regulatory entities — SCC and DEQ — to continue to dilly dally and play with the C4GT corporation,” said Sierra Club Virginia Outreach Coordinator Lynn Godfrey. “This needs to be squashed.”

New footage taken in March of the hasty construction at the C4GT site last December, which the Department of Environmental Quality states maintained the project’s permits, is available at the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4t6t8txfhg7r8v9/AADrpFTSeXJ4OwbH4Xi0EEGfa?dl=0. Photos and images are available for media use with attribution to Ben Cunningham of Blue Ridge GeoGraphics LLC.

A recording of the event can be found at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VA6FkrUWUeqBbO0AStkdbk4SLgEwctEV/view?usp=sharing.

Contact: Phoebe Galt – [email protected]