Virginia pollution control board approves permit for ACP compressor

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board unanimously approved a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project to construct a compressor station in Buckingham County on Jan. 8 following a recommendation by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board unanimously approved a permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project to construct a compressor station in Buckingham County on Jan. 8 following a recommendation by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ officials said the permit sets a new national pollution control standard for all new compressor stations across the country, and is expected to be signed and issued shortly to the project’s main sponsor, Dominion Energy Inc.

The proposed compressor’s siting in the Union Hill community, which was settled after the Civil War by free African Americans and former slaves, was controversial. It was not immediately clear whether the pipeline project’s opponents or others intend to sue.

The pollution control board’s decision in Richmond followed months of scrutiny by DEQ and the public, including a supplemental public comment period related to demographics and site selection, officials said. The pollution control board discussed community inclusion in the process and the need to avoid disproportionate impacts before taking the final vote, they said.

“DEQ treated the permit application—which qualifies as a minor source by state and federal regulations—as a major source of air pollution to better ensure pollution control to the greatest extent possible under the law,” said Mike Dowd, the agency’s air director.

Its analysis included reviewing compressor station permits across the country and scrutinizing pollution control technology, he noted. “The board recognized that this permit will significantly reduce the facility’s air pollution and set a new national standard that all future compressor stations will have to meet across the country,” Dowd said.

The permit was amended during the pollution control board’s December meetings to include ambient air quality monitoring near the site, rigorous reporting requirements, and compliance procedures, according to DEQ. It requires the use of best available control technology to meet health-based requirements under the federal Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Virginia agency said it required an air quality modeling analysis to demonstrate NAAQS compliance.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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