Richmond, VA-- Yesterday, the State Corporation Commission announced its dismissal of Virginia Natural Gas (VNG)’s application for the Header Improvement Project (HIP)—dubbed the Header Injustice Project by activists. The dismissal of the permit for more than 20 miles of new pipelines and three compressor stations comes after months of opposition from the SAVE Coalition and state legislators.
Last month, VNG informed the SCC they were unable to fulfill the conditions precedent related to the C4GT gas plant—the main facility HIP was proposed to service and a project that has also been heavily and rightfully criticized.
The SAVE coalition’s next focus is stopping the C4GT and the Chickahominy Power Station – another fracked gas plant proposed to be built a mile away from C4GT — both of which are seeking permit extensions by Virginia’s regulators. Both extension requests are currently being reviewed by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality and SAVE is planning to voice significant opposition.
“The SCC has rubber stamped fossil-fuel projects in the past. But we organized in the community and pressured the state officials to reject this terrible project by submitting over 1,000 comments against HIP and pushing state representatives to denounce the project back in May,” says Jolene Mafnas, Virginia Organizer for Food & Water Action, “Their ruling to dismiss the case is a big victory for climate justice. Now that C4GT and Chickahominy’s permits are about to expire, it’s time Virginia's agencies continue ruling in favor of the people and deny the extension requests.”
“As a resident of Charles City County, I am very pleased the SCC made the right decision when they dismissed the VNG/HIP Order,” says Wanda Roberts of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County (C5). “The residents can rest easy for a while and celebrate that there will be no fracked gas piped into our community to feed the C4GT Power Plant. We can only hope that DEQ will make the right decision and deny C4GT an extension to their permit.”
"With this project VNG would have brought high pressure fracked gas pipelines and three compressor stations to majority minority and poor neighborhoods least prepared to deal with the environmental risks associated with them,” states Lynn Godfrey, Sierra Club’s Stop the Pipelines Community Outreach Coordinator based in Hampton Roads, “This is a big win for the People!"
“We are gaining ground on stopping the continuous exploitation of communities of color, and rural Virginians,” says Richard Walker, CEO and Founder of Bridging the Gap based in Union Hill.
“The health of numerous rivers and streams is also at stake with such linear projects, including more than 14 miles of the Chickahominy River east of Richmond,” states Lynn Wilson, a member of the SAVE coalition and impacted resident of HIP’s Mechanicsville pipeline.
“Moms and concerned residents alike can breathe a sigh of relief after learning that we won't have to fear that this unnecessary and polluting pipeline will endanger the health and wellbeing of Prince William County's families,” says Tiziana Bottino, Mothers Out Front’s Northern Virginia Organizer, “As yet another failed fossil gas project is scrapped, we hope this will serve as a wake up call that the sooner we transition to 100% clean renewable energy, the better for our communities, our planet and our pockets.”
Contact: Jolene Mafnas - jmafnas[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 703-731-4907