Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be creating a new director of environmental justice to lead the agency’s new Office of Environmental Justice, Kallanish Energy reports.
That plan comes after completion of an 18-month Environmental Justice Study by DEQ and its consultants, Skeo Solutions Inc. and the Metropolitan Group.
Last March, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam approved establishment of the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice. He also ordered state agencies to begin separate environmental justice reviews.
The state action came shortly after a much-publicized fight over a compressor station on the now-scrapped Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline in Virginia’s Buckingham County.
Last January, the U.S 4th Circuit Court of Appeals revoked a state air permit for the compressor station in Union Hill, Virginia, a predominantly black, poor and rural community.
The appeals court said Virginia regulators had failed to consider environmental justice in approving the compressor station.
The $8 billion pipeline was later scrapped in July 2020.
Virginia has joined California and New York in incorporating environmental justice reviews into state actions.
Other states including Texas, Michigan, Minnesota and New Jersey are expected to begin similar environmental justice studies in 2021.
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