Originally published in the Summer 2019 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 59, printed August 23. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Summer 2019 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.
Union Hill is a small, rural, unincorporated community in Buckingham County, about an hour-and-a-half drive west of Richmond.
It’s also historic, having been founded by the descendants of formerly enslaved people. The county also is home to the Buckingham Correctional Center, adding to the area’s Black population.
So of all the places in Virginia, why has Dominion Energy targeted Union Hill for the controversial compressor station it says it needs for its 600-mile-long Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will transport fracked gas from West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina?
Religious leaders and climate change activists who marched in Richmond May 17 believe the answer is environmental racism: compressor stations are criticized for their effect on the air and water, as well as their noise.
The following day, activists rallied at the courthouse in Leesburg in Northern Virginia, hometown of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, “to encourage him to rise above the incompetence, corruption, and climate consequences associated with fracked gas pipelines.”
The Leesburg event focused on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, in which Dominion Energy also is involved.
The two actions were part of a weekend of activities sponsored by Virginians for Justice: Progress Not Pipelines, a collaboration of some 15 environmental organizations, including Appalachian Voices, Friends of Buckingham County, Friends of Nelson, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Mothers Out Front, Water is Life: Protect It and the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign.
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