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NAACP, SELC act to defend environmental justice, refusal of Lambert Compressor Station Permit

NAACP, SELC act to defend environmental justice, refusal of Lambert Compressor Station Permit

January 31, 2022| January 31, 2022

CHARLOTTESVILLE (Virginia) Today, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a motion for intervention in a lawsuit on behalf of the Virginia State Conference NAACP. This was to defend the denial to a permit for Lambert Compressor Station in Pittsylvania County.

The proposed compressor station, which would be used to support the Mountain Valley Pipeline extension called MVP Southgate would pose health risks for residents of the community, including significant numbers of Black residents.

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 last January to deny the stations permit. They found that issuing the permit would not comply with the Virginia Environmental Justice Act’s requirements for fair treatment of environmental justice community.

The board also found the proposed compressor station site was not suitable due in part to a 2020 ruling in a lawsuit brought in by SELC on behalf of Friends of Buckingham and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The Virginia State Conference NAACP supported the lawsuit which challenged a permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, the developer of the proposed Lambert Compressor Station, appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. Today, SELC filed a motion for intervention on behalf of Virginia State Conference NAACP in order to defend the boards decision.

“Air Board members fulfilled their responsibility to their fellow Virginians when they denied a permit for the Lambert Compressor Station, said Pittsylvania County NAACP President Anita Royston. We must remain vigilant and be strong when a polluting business proposes to harm our community’s public health and air quality.

According to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index, gas infrastructure, such as Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC’s proposed construction in Pittsylvania County, is disproportionately concentrated within communities of color. The Lambert Compressor Station, which is designed to support the MVP Southgate Pipeline, is expected to emit fine particulate pollutant pollution into a community with a large Black population. This community already has two existing gas-fired compressor station.

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According to Mark Sabath, Senior Attorney at SELC, the Air Board recognized the health risks that the Lambert Compressor Station would pose for communities in the area. We are determined to defend a decision that served the residents of Pittsylvania County as well as the pursuit for environmental justice in Virginia.  

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The Southern Environmental Law CenterThe South is home to one of the nation’s most powerful environmental defenders. SELC has a long track record of tackling environmental issues in court, in government and in communities to protect air, water and climate as well as wildlife, lands and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 170, including 90 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. southernenvironment.org

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