During Pending Permit, Faith-Based Organizations Call On Northam to Reinstate Air Board Members


November 15, 2018


Kendyl Crawford, Director, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

(804) 505-4624, kcrawford@vaipl.org

During Pending Permit, Faith-Based Organizations Call On Northam to Reinstate Air Board Members

Richmond, VA – Today, Governor Northam’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kelly Thomasson, informed two Air Pollution Control Board members, Rebecca R. Rubin and Samuel A. Bleicher, that their terms will officially expire effective November 16. This notice comes in the middle of an important regulatory decision for the board.

Just last week, after a two-day hearing on the air permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station, the board asked for additional time to review the permit due to environmental justice concerns. Dominion Energy is proposing to build the compressor station in Union Hill, a historic, predominantly African American neighborhood in Buckingham County.

The board deferred the vote on the permit to December 10, but Bleicher and Rubin will have been replaced.

In response, faith-based organizations released the following joint statement:

“We believe that Governor Northam owes the people of Union Hill and all Virginians an explanation of this timing clearly interfering in the deliberation and process of the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board’s permitting decision on the Buckingham compressor station.

During his run for governor, Northam committed to caring for the health of all Virginians as well as the environment. As a physician, Northam has been a leader on health care issues and this is another opportunity for him to lead on health. We want to see him live out those values.

Because we are a faith-based organizations, we have a responsibility to speak up alongside communities when processes seem to be running afoul. We call on Northam to reinstate the dismissed Bleicher and Rubin, who served dutifully beyond their terms, and allow all members to exercise their expertise and vote their conscience. ”

Virginia Interfaith Power & Light
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Dr. Corey D. B. Walker, Vice President, Dean, and Professor of Religion and Society, The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University