Virginia Episcopalian Article By Robert Dilday

Photo: John and Ruby Laury at their farm in Union Hill, Virginia

Toxic Injustice: When Marginalized Communities Bear the Burden of Environmental Hazards

Dominion Energy wants to build a huge, noisy, dangerous fracked-gas compressor station in the heart of Union Hill, a community with a population that is 85% African American, in rural Buckingham County, Virginia. The compressor would be one of the largest compressor stations in the country. Union Hill is 50 miles south of Charlottesville in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The life of the community centers on two small Baptist churches, founded by formerly enslaved people after the Civil War. Their descendants make up about a third of Union Hill’s residents. They are angry that Dominion wants to run a fracked-gas pipeline and build a compressor station in the heart of their community.

by Virginia Interfaith Power and Light

Our Air, Our Lives: Religious Fact-Finding Delegation to Buckingham County Report, August 16, 2018

“Many are calling this decision environmental racism, defined by the Energy Justice Network as “the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color.” The proposed compressor station site is surrounded, from as close as 150 feet away, by land owned in the majority by descendants of formerly enslaved people. Union Hill is a historic freedmen’s community.

Compressor stations use gas-fired turbines to keep the methane gas in the pipelines pressurized and moving. Running 24 hours a day, compressor stations cause constant noise and emit a varying level of toxic emissions
based on pressure changes and maintenance-related deliberate releases of pollution, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, leaking and accidentally venting methane – a powerful greenhouse gas…”