If you haven’t heard yet, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not a done deal in North Carolina.
Recently, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy spoke of the likelihood that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will soon begin pumping fracked shale gas from West Virginia and points north into North Carolina. Groups along the Southeast coast are fighting federal approval of the ACP on a variety of fronts from the loss of habitat, to water contamination, to fighting eminent domain in taking property from individual owners to build the ACP, and in our case, the environmental degradation of air quality this project will bring to North Carolina and its residents.
Eight North Carolina counties face increased air pollution, threats of eminent domain, and physical hazards from the ACP.
Northampton, Nash, and Cumberland are three of the eight counties on the frontlines of this fight. This week Clean Air Carolina and other air quality partners have won a small battle over the permit for the Northampton compressor station. The ACP not only threatens our environment by cutting through hundreds of acres of wetlands, streams, rivers, and forests but also would require compressor stations to keep gas under pressure and moving through the pipeline. The Northampton compressor station would be powered by three gas-fired, polluting turbines, capable of generating nearly 22,000 horsepower. The North Carolina Department of Air Quality (DAQ) has asked for more information on the potential emission of benzene, a known and regulated toxic air pollutant, from this facility. Also, DAQ has asked that facility-wide emissions for the compressor station be reviewed and a modeling analysis is submitted. DAQ is responding to real and specific threats this part of the ACP poses to North Carolina.
Protecting clean air for the most vulnerable
As advocates, Clean Air Carolina supports maximizing investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy over any more investment in fossil fuels or infrastructure for fossil fuels that pose real threats to our health, the environment, and the economy. In the case of the Northampton compressor station permit, we also recognize the potential for disproportionate environmental burdens imposed on low-income communities and communities of color. The Northampton compressor station is within census block group 6 (a subset of census tract 9203). Within that census block group, 79.2 percent of the population is African American.