SELC, NAACP act to defend environmental justice, denial of Lambert Compressor Station permit
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — On behalf of the Virginia State Conference NAACP, today the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit in order to defend the denial of a permit for the Lambert Compressor Station in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
The proposed compressor station, which would support an extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline called MVP Southgate, would pose health risks to members of the local community, including a significant number of Black residents.
Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board voted 6-1 last year to deny the station’s permit, finding that issuing the permit would not meet the requirements for “fair treatment” of environmental justice communities under the Virginia Environmental Justice Act.
The board also found that the proposed compressor station site wasn’t suitable, thanks in part to a 2020 decision in a lawsuit brought by SELC on behalf of Friends of Buckingham, as well as by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The Virginia State Conference NAACP also supported the lawsuit, which challenged a permit for the canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The developer of the proposed Lambert Compressor Station, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, appealed the board’s permit denial to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Today SELC filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Virginia State Conference NAACP to help defend the board’s decision.
“Air Board members fulfilled their responsibility to their fellow Virginians when they denied a permit for the Lambert Compressor Station,” said Pittsylvania County NAACP President Anita Royston. “We must remain vigilant and stand up whenever a polluting industry is proposing to harm our community’s air quality and public health.”
Gas infrastructure such as what Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC is proposing to build in Pittsylvania County is disproportionately concentrated in communities of color, according to the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index. Designed to support the MVP Southgate pipeline, the Lambert Compressor Station is projected to emit fine particulate pollution into a community with a significant Black population that is already home to two existing gas-fired compressor stations.
“The Air Board was right to recognize the health risks that the Lambert Compressor Station would pose to communities in the area, including communities of color,” said SELC Senior Attorney Mark Sabath. “We are committed to defending a decision that served not only the residents of Pittsylvania County, but the pursuit of environmental justice in Virginia.”