On November 16, 2018 the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Dominion Energy compiled a demographic and income profile for the area of Union Hill in Buckingham County, VA. The report came after the Virginia Air Pollution Board delayed an important vote on the air pollution permit the Atlantic Coast Pipeline needs in order to build a compressor station in Union Hill. The Air Board's reasons for delaying the vote to Monday, December 10 were numerous, stating concerns regarding environmental racism of the infrastructure project and the injustice Dominion Energy’s gas compressor station would have on a community of color and their air quality.
Screenshot of Atlantic Coast Pipeline 's Demographic and Income Profile for Buckingham Compressor Station (Union Hill)
The Air Pollution Board stated it needed more demographic information before voting, so it comes at no surprise that Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline produced their own version of Union Hill’s demographics. In their report, Dominion Energy and The Atlantic Coast Pipeline claim that only four households and 10 people live within a 0.5 mile radius of their proposed compressor station. By bringing the population numbers down to 10, the ACP is now stating that the most impacted area around the project is 77.8% white and 22.2% black, and the average household income is $63,619. This is a gross misrepresentation of the demographics and the number of houses and people that live in that area. A quick study of 2018 Google Earth satellite images shows just how wrong the ACP and Dominion Energy are about the population of Union Hill. We counted 34 houses with in a 0.5 mile radius of the ACP’s proposed compressor station. In the picture below you can see a footprint of the proposed compressor station and a 0.5 mile circle radius around the station. A total of 34 houses fall within that circle, with many more homes just outside the 0.5 radius.
2018 Google Earth satellite view of proposed compressor station footprint and Union Hill homes in .5 mile radius.
We know that Dominion Energy and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline delivered their Union Hill demographic income profile report to the Air Pollution Control Board. In doing so, the ACP is intentionally misleading the Air Pollution Board with skewed population numbers and false demographics in order to downplay the impact their project will have on black lives. Oil and gas industries have historically tried to erase indigenous and marginalized communities and the ACP is no different. A history of ethnic erasure is deeply rooted in the colonization of what is now called the James River. Virginia’s settler laws allowed Virginians to claim dominion over property if the Powhatan and Chickahominy natives were not found to be living here, so it became in the interest of many Virginia settlers to kill First Nation peoples. With the history of Virginia’s settler violence it comes as no surprise that corporations like Dominion Energy continue to think they have the right to lie about a population in order to generate profits.
It is our hope that the Virginia Air Pollution Board and the public understand the severity of how this project would impact the health of Union Hill residents and will call attention to these corporate lies. On Wednesday, December 19, we want the Air Pollution Board to not only vote against this compressor station permit but to call out Dominion Energy and the ACP as bad actors, bring attention to the falsification of their demographic report, and put an end to the corporate violence Dominion Energy and the ACP have inflicted on the community of Union Hill.