(RICHMOND, VA)—Today the State Corporation Commission (SCC) heard concerns from the public about a major planned Virginia Natural Gas (VNG) pipeline and infrastructure expansion across Virginia. These projects threaten the environment and vulnerable communities in Prince William, Fauquier, Caroline, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Charles City counties, and the City of Chesapeake.
Due to COVID-19, the proposed C4GT gas-fired plant in Charles City County that is driving the demand for this expansion announced a delay. This raises questions about the need for the application at this time.
The SCC is expected to soon decide whether to grant the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity needed for the expansion to proceed. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has filed a Notice of Participation with the SCC to counsel against this unwarranted expansion of natural gas infrastructure in Virginia.
CBF Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement.
“With the buyer for this natural gas experiencing delays, VNG’s application remains full of holes. The company has not been forthcoming about the environmental and public health threats posed by these projects. We have to ask, what is the rush?
“The proposed expansion would destroy forests and wetlands, and add pollution to the air and waterways, putting at risk the wellbeing of vulnerable communities. Virginia has recently adopted environmental justice principles that call for public transparency, yet so far this project has fallen short.
“There are very few details in the application on the air pollution from the proposed compressor stations. We do know that the proposal would harm 153 acres of wetlands and 313 acres of forest, damaging the environment and our waterways. In the City of Chesapeake, a proposed new compressor station would add pollution to minority and low-income neighborhoods that are already extremely close to hazardous waste and Superfund sites. In Northern and Central Virginia, dozens of homes appear to lie within 500 feet of proposed pipelines stretching for 24 miles.
“This expansion is not needed. Demand for natural gas is decreasing, major projects are being delayed, yet Virginia Natural Gas wants to fast track an expansion. The State Corporation Commission must reject the Virginia Natural Gas application.”