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Environmental Justice Advocates: ACP Compressor Station Permit is More Evidence of “Air of Injustice” for Pipeline

Concerned Citizens of Northampton County ◊ NAACP Northampton Branch ◊ Clean Water for North Carolina

For Immediate Release Contact: Hope Taylor, Clean Water for NC


“They just haven’t been listening to us, they had a meeting with us just to be able to say they met,” says Belinda Joyner, President of Concerned Citizens of Northampton County, in response to news that the ACP, LLC had been granted an air permit for its ACP Compressor Station in her county near the Virginia border that will push fracked gas south through the state. Joyner had gone door to door in the area around the proposed compressor station site with Clean Water for North Carolina staff and volunteers last fall, and found that nearby residents were mostly African American senior citizens with limited incomes, unaware of the pipeline or compressor station that was planned in their area.

“The turnout at the November public hearing was large and there were thousands of written comments on the air compressor permit,” continues Joyner. “ Most were strongly opposed to the permit and many pointed out the Environmental Justice implications of siting a polluter in this area, but DAQ only made very minor changes to the permit! Our tax dollars pay them, but it’s clear they are not working for us!” The compressor station is expected to release toxic air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde, but there will be no monitoring required for toxic and hazardous air pollutants. ACP will do its own performance tests every two years and report them to DAQ. Even off-site monitors that DAQ is asking community residents to assist in siting will only monitor nitrogen oxides and fine particulates, not toxic or hazardous emissions.

The air permit for the compressor station is one of the last ones that ACP, LLC, a project led by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, needs for the project. ACP corporate partners claim that the fracked gas from West Virginia is needed to meet power and industrial needs in VA and NC, but studies by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Synapse Energy Economics found that the gas was not needed, and that utility customers would be paying most of the cost to build an unnecessary pipeline. When Dominion began openly talking about extending the ACP into South Carolina, pipeline opponents realized that what they suspected all along would probably happen—much of the gas conveyed by the ACP would be carried to coastal facilities, cooled, compressed and shipped overseas to more lucrative markets. There was little chance that new industries would invest in costly hookups to the pipeline, even if the $58M “mitigation and economic development fund” had stayed intact. The Duke and Dominion statements about thousands of new permanent jobs along the ACP is are literally a “pipe dream.”

Hope Taylor, Executive Director of Clean Water for NC, points out: “With a population around the compressor station that’s nearly 80% African American and having had a remarkably large public response for project in a rural area, it’s clear that our state’s Environmental Equity Policy doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Every permit issued for this pipeline spreads the air of injustice for poor residents and communities of color.”

Taylor’s organization released a study on “Blast Zones and Public Safety Along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline” last summer, pointing out areas along where hundreds of people would be at risk of grave injury or death in case of a pipeline rupture or leak. Areas in Garysburg and around the pipeline and compressor station are within the “blast” or “incineration” zone reaching over 940 feet either side of the pipeline. “This means that residents along the pipeline, who are disproportionately low income and people of color, will be impacted several times over by the ACP: the disruption and loss of property value due to pipeline construction, the increased risk to health and safety from pipeline and compressor station accidents, and the increased utility bills they will pay for constructing the pipeline, which is now expected to cost over $6 B.”

Tony Burnett, President of the Northampton County Branch of the NAACP, says “We’re very disappointed in this pipeline continuing to move forward, despite all of the serious concerns that have been raised. We in the NAACP stand for what we believe in and we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. The ACP imposes a tax on all of us, but especially the poorest , of which there are many in Northampton County, who will be facing further steep electric rate hikes in coming years to pay for the ACP, which we don’t even need!”

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