The good of the public
should trump profits
The concession that Union Hill is a predominantly African American community is confirmation of what Virginia’s environmental justice advocates have known for years: Communities of color are disproportionately targeted when it comes to fossil fuel infrastructure projects, in this case the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s dirty compressor station, scheduled to be built in the midst of a community descended from former slaves.
The admission of racial bias by Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board sets Dominion Energy’s project back further after numerous legal delays. The company has shown time and time again they don’t care about Virginia’s communities. We see this in their unfair rate hikes, their efforts to squash renewable energy projects and their near total monopolization of the state’s utilities market. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is yet another project the company is trying to build for the sake of profit and not the public good, and it will most adversely affect poor communities and communities of color, who will have to bear the brunt of the toxic air pollution coming from dirty new compressor stations. The reality is this: We cannot have racial justice or equity as long as the fossil fuel industry maintains a stranglehold on Virginia’s politics. The only hope for a better future is to end the build-out of fossil fuel infrastructure and facilitate a rapid and equitable transition to clean, renewable energy, and we must have Gov. Ralph Northam’s leadership in order to do that. After the race-related scandals of the past year, Northam and state officials have sought to address some of the long-term racial inequities that have been prevalent in Virginia. This is a clear moment when Northam can act to do the right thing and demand that agencies revoke the state permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and accompanying compressor stations.