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Dominion seeks permit for compressor station

Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC has filed a special use permit with the Buckingham County Planning and Zoning Office seeking approval to construct an over 53,000 horse powered natural gas-fired compressor station the firm says is essential to operation of its proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

In tandem, Dominion — one of three partners proposing the 550-mile natural gas pipeline that could span from West Virginia to North Carolina — is seeking approval from federal regulators for construction of the pipeline.

The project, if approved, would transport natural gas across the three states; a 42-inch pipeline would span Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward counties.

The facility would be constructed between Union Hill and Shelton Store Roads in Buckingham County near Route 56.

The county planning commission and board of supervisors holds separate public hearings for special use permits. The planning commission offers recommendations to supervisors.

“The proposed compressor station will be sited on an approximately 68.43-acre Dominion-purchased property along Route 56 in Buckingham County,” the permit narrative states. “The proposed location of the compressor station was partially dictated by technical considerations of the ACP project. …”

Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC purchased the land on Aug. 20 from Variety Shade Landowners of Virginia Inc. for $2.5 million.

“The toxic cocktail of chemical pollutants emitted as part of routine operations of this now-supersized compressor station in Buckingham will impact everyone, not just those who live next to it …,” said Lakshmi Fjord, a spokeswoman for Friends of Buckingham, in response to the filing. “Air monitors flying over compressor stations reveal high levels of these toxic pollutants for up to 100-plus miles, depending upon the winds.”

“Buckingham will face the gravest health impacts from these hazards and their financial costs — not Dominion or its stockholders — but individuals and families in medical costs for known respiratory, cardiac and a host of other illnesses including depression and anxiety associated with proximity to compressor stations. Dominion plans to pass on the costs of building the compressor station to its ratepayers while limited its liability by forming a subsidiary, (Atlantic Coast Pipeline) LLC, to shield its executives, board, and stockholders from its true economic costs.”

The compressor station will be fully automated and controlled by Gas Control on Bridgeport, W.Va., and have up to two station operator employees, according to the permit narrative.

The site is located “well outside of designated village centers and growth corridors as delineated in the County Comprehensive Plan. The site is also away from recreation, parks and wildlife areas. The adjacent properties are generally large acreage parcels utilized for agriculture or forestry,” the application states.

Numerous citizens —including Friends of Buckingham — have criticized the project and the proposed compressor station.

Earlier this year, Dominion increased the horsepower of the compressor station to 53,515 from 40,415.

According to Dominion spokesman Aaron Ruby, the increase in horsepower was needed because “approximately 30 miles has been added to the proposed route between the pipeline’s first compressor station in Lewis County, W.Va., and the second station in Buckingham County. The additional horsepower is needed to maintain the pressures and flows for reliable transmission service to customer delivery points in Virginia and North Carolina.”

“During the Buckingham Compressor Station proposal phase, the ACP team coordinated Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings, which gave the community representatives an opportunity to voice their concerns about the proposed station and give input on what design features are a priority to them … The ACP design team will take these concerns and design properties into account while designing and constructing the compressor station.”

According to the filing, four turbines will make up the compressor station. Compressor buildings, an auxiliary building, an office building, a regulator building, auxiliary generator, tank farm, gas coolers, gas heaters, blowdown and exhaust silencers, measurement building and equipment, a pipeline launcher and receiver and a communications tower will accompany the station.

The document states that emergency response technology for the facility include systems designed for emergency shutdown, gas detection, fire detection, over-pressure protection and unit-safety shutdowns.

The permit narrative also addresses the station’s environmental impacts, aesthetics, air quality, emission controls, noise and maximum air permit limits.

According to the application, the proposed pipeline will provide incremental tax revenue for the county each year that facilities are in service. “For the year 2022, when the pipeline is anticipated to reach full production, the additional tax payment to the county is projected to be approximately $1.3 million. Of that figure, the compressor station would account for approximately 40 percent, or $537,690.”