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DEQ to hold hearing on ACP permit

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) State Air Pollution Control Board is set to consider the Buckingham Compressor Station draft air permit from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s (ACP) Buckingham Compressor Station during meetings Thursday and Friday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond.

The meeting is set to be held at the center’s Exhibit Hall Building, Level 2, Room E21- AB at 301 N. Third St.

Both meetings are set to be held at 9:30 a.m. with doors opening to the public at 8:30 a.m.

According to the tentative agenda for the meetings on the Virginia DEQ website, Michael Dowd, director of the Air and Renewable Energy Division, is expected to give a “summary of comment presentation and opportunity for those who commented at the public hearing or during the public comment period to respond to the summary of the public comment period presented to the Board.”

The agenda cited that no new information about the permit will be accepted at the meeting. Citing rare instances where new information may become available after the close of the public comment period, the agenda cited that “persons who commented during the prior public comment period shall submit the new information to the Department of Environmental Quality (Department) staff contact listed below at least 10 days prior to the Board meeting … In the case of a regulatory action, should the Board or Department decide that the new information was not reasonably available during the prior public comment period, is significant to the Board’s decision and should be included in the official file, the Department may announce an additional public comment period in order for all interested persons to have an opportunity to participate.”

The air quality permit and engineering analysis from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) State Air Pollution Control Board is in reference to the ACP compressor station, proposed to be located off Route 56 in Buckingham.

The air permit for the compressor station is considered a minor New Source Review (NSR) air permit, a title designated for facilities where uncontrolled emissions of equipment and process units are above exemption levels detailed by the VDEQ.

The final draft permit, the permit engineering analysis, the air quality analyses review, the public participation reports, a full written copy of the spoken comments given during the Sept. 11 public hearing at Buckingham County Middle School and responses to public comments can be found at the DEQ website. According to a previous Herald report and DEQ website, approximately 85 people signed up to speak with 81 speaking in total.

According to the summary and responses to public comments document, more than 3,800 emails were submitted during the public comment period given by DEQ between Aug. 8 and Sept. 11.

“One email included a spreadsheet containing over 1,100 individual names and associated comments,” the summary cited.

The DEQ also received more than 500 written comments via postal mail.

The permit included 51 requirements for the compressor station, including that the operations practice proper emission controls, that equipment be installed with the proper monitoring devices, that the appropriate fuel be used and regulated, that the emissions fall within the necessary limits and be properly tested and evaluated.

The Buckingham compressor station will be the only compressor station in Virginia used by the ACP.

This hearing comes after the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved the ACP erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plan Oct. 19, according to a news release from the DEQ and ACP.

“These detailed protection plans specify engineering designs that will protect water quality during and after pipeline construction along the 300-mile project that stretches from Highland County to Greensville County,” the release from DEQ cited.

A release from ACP issued Oct. 19 cited that this was the final state approval needed to begin construction of the pipeline in Virginia. “This is a major step forward for the project and brings our region one step closer to a growing economy, a cleaner environment and greater energy security,” ACP spokesperson Aaron Ruby said. “Thousands of hardworking Virginians and local businesses across the state will soon be hard at work building this transformational project.”

“Public utilities are depending on it to meet the growing energy needs of consumers and businesses,” Ruby said. “We’re eager to get to work in Virginia so we can build on the significant progress we’ve made in West Virginia and North Carolina.”

The pipeline is expected to be 600 miles, crossing Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward with a 53,783-horsepower compressor station proposed to be located in Buckingham County.

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud with Friends of Buckingham said there are additional permits awaiting response from the DEQ in reference to the ACP compressor station, citing the upcoming hearings Thursday and Friday for the compressor station air permit.

“We the people have struggled for four years to stop these pipelines, to protect our rights to clean land, water, air, to democracy,” Berthoud said.