LETTER — Dominion should let Buckingham heal

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 26, 2021

To the Editor:

Because we have worked with the people of Buckingham County for four decades as a physician and as a business owner, we wish to respond to Roger Watson’s editorial “Dominion’s $3.5 million gift is benevolent.”

We respectfully offer a different perspective on the actions and the history behind Dominion’s decision to “gift” our county with a donation.

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Dominion did not show itself to be benevolent when it chose our county for a dangerous, polluting compressor station. The company did not show itself to be benevolent when it erased populations of Union Hill via data omission in their quest to receive air permits to pollute our area. It was not benevolent when it worked to divide our community. The relationships the company sought were for its own gain, for benefit of a company, specifically a monopoly, that receives hundreds of millions of dollars in over earnings yearly. Dominion did not come to our county with benevolent intentions, and I urge that we not gift it accolades the company does not truly deserve.

The picture painted of Dominion was not created by environmentalists — it was a self-portrait, of Dominion’s own making. Its intentions for the county for six years, for bringing the harmful Buckingham compressor station here, were unveiled by a wide community of Buckingham community members — farmers, teachers, health care workers, mental health professionals and yes — people who care about the environment and clean air and water for all of their neighbors. A coalition of people worked very hard to say that Buckingham, and Union Hill, were not a sacrifice zone for an unneeded project.

If Dominion truly wants to be a generous and restorative neighbor to the Buckingham community and make a “difference in people’s lives in the community where the compressor station was going to go,” it should release the Atlantic Coast Pipeline land easements the company holds on to and return the land, in full, to the owners.

Dominion’s gift to Buckingham should be to genuinely honor Buckingham, to stop dividing the community, to return the easements and let Buckingham heal.

M. Denise Williams, MD

Christopher Yates