Press Release | November 20, 2017

Local and citizen groups object to DEQ’s flawed permit for $5.5 Billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Chapel Hill, North Carolina — Today more than a dozen local, statewide, and national citizen groups asked North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality to withdraw a draft air permit for the proposed Northampton Compressor Station, a large facility that would expose people living in the community to toxic air pollution.  Today, SELC filed comments on the draft permit on behalf of the North Carolina NAACP, North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Concerned Citizens of Tillery (based in neighboring Halifax County), North Carolina Conservation Network, Clean Air Carolina, North Carolina Council of Churches, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, 350 Triangle, Rachel Carson Council and the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe.

“The Department of Environmental Quality should not allow Duke Energy and its partners to move forward with their proposed polluting compressor station until they can show that it won’t put the community’s health at risk,” said Southern Environmental Law Center Attorney David Neal. “Without more information, DEQ cannot complete a thorough health assessment or ensure that this project would comply with air quality laws designed to protect people’s health from the dangers of air pollution.”

The Northampton Compressor Station is one of three large stations proposed in North Carolina and Virginia along the route of the proposed 600-mileAtlantic Coast Pipeline. Recent analysis has shown that this $5.5 billion pipeline is not necessary to meet energy demand in the region, but is likely to be a windfall for utilities, including Duke Energy.

Compressor stations, placed along gas pipeline routes, use gas-fired turbines to maintain pressure in and allow the gas to move through the pipeline. These large, industrial-scale facilities emit air pollutants like smog-forming nitrogen oxide, toxic ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde, and have been found to emit chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, putting at risk the health of people living nearby.

The proposed location for the Northampton station near Pleasant Hill calls into question compliance with NCDEQ’s long-standing Environmental Equity policy that requires the agency to consider potential environmental harm to minority, tribal, and low-income communities.

North Carolina NAACP, North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Concerned Citizens of Tillery (Halifax County), North Carolina Conservation Network, Clean Air Carolinas, North Carolina Council of Churches, North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light, Triangle Chapter of 350.org and Rachel Carson Council and the Southern Environmental Law Center call on North Carolina DEQ to withdraw the draft air permit and complete a thorough environmental justice review and health assessment of the community that would be subject to the air pollution from this facility.

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The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org