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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Contact: Beth Kreydatus, c5groupinform@gmail.com, 757-561-3824


VA Department of Environmental Quality Finalizes C4GT Gas Power Plant Cancellation


Activists celebrate after leading a years-long campaign to stop C4GT, turn efforts to other dangerous fossil-fuel projects moving forward


Charles City, VA — After years of activists campaigning to stop the C4GT Gas Power Plant, the developing company, NOVI Energy, announced its move to cancel the proposed project a month ago. Finally, this past weekend the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) made the cancellation official when the DEQ Deputy Regional Director signed the mutual determination letter that officially shuts down the project.


Sited next to an environmental justice community, less than a mile from a second proposed fracked gas power plant, the C4GT proposal faced enormous community opposition from the outset. The directly impacted group of residents leading the fight against the project, Concerned Citizens of Charles City County (C5), joined the Stop the Abuse of Virginian Energy (SAVE) coalition to protest the project, and build grassroots opposition to the proposal. Primary concerns included the lack of any meaningful public engagement in the process, and the DEQ’s green-lighting the project despite the developers’ failure to construct at the site within their legal window.


Ultimately, a FOIA request by SAVE Coalition member Food & Water Watch found that the DEQ had the legal ability to cancel C4GT’s air permits and cancel the project — indeed they had already drafted a letter revoking the permits. A few weeks later, the company behind the project withdrew.


Now that the C4GT project is officially terminated, activists turn their attention to the similarly dangerous Chickahominy Power Station and Chickahominy Pipeline proposals, still moving forward in Charles City County.


“Our community won when the developer was unable to continue with the destructive proposed C4GT power plant,” said Wanda Roberts, an impacted resident and member of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County. “We will continue to fight to stop the Chickahominy Power Plant and pipeline. There is no need or necessity for gas power plants to be built in Virginia.”


“The termination of the C4GT fracked gas project is a victory for grassroots climate organizing in Virginia,” said Jolene Mafnas, Virginia Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Virginians statewide are rising up against the fracked gas and pipelines that endlessly crop up in our backyards. The age of fracked gas is over in Virginia — it’s time to double down on true clean, renewable energy and stop the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure. Governor Northam must direct his agencies to terminate the Chickahominy power plant and pipeline, just like C4GT.”


“The cancellation of the C4GT power plant is yet another sign that Virginia is leaving behind costly and hazardous fracked gas infrastructure,” said Lauren Landis, Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s Hampton Roads Coordinate, “The argument for similar projects is untenable and community organizers will not stop until they all reach the same fate as C4GT.


"Another hard won victory for the Charles City County Community, the state and the nation in keeping dangerous fossil fuel operations from contributing to climate change and ultimately destroying our lives,” said Lynn Godfrey, Sierra Club’s Community Outreach Coordinator. “Salute to the grassroots efforts of the community organizers in Charles City!"


“Environmental justice begins and ends with communities. The cancellation of the C4GT power plant is a testament to the dedication of the Concerned Citizens of Charles City County and all the grassroots advocates who have supported them in this fight,” said Taylor Lilley, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Environmental Justice Staff Attorney. “CBF is honored to work with the people of Charles City in opposing projects that threaten the environment and public health.”




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For Immediate Release: June 16, 2021

Contact: Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch, 207-400-1275, PGalt@FWWatch.Org


Revealed Documents Show Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality Was on the Cusp of Revoking Controversial C4GT Gas Plant’s Air Permit


A Food & Water Watch FOIA request found the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) drafted a letter revoking C4GT’s air permit


Richmond, VA — In documents revealed as a result of a Freedom of Information Act Request filed by Food & Water Watch, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is shown to have drafted, but never issued, a full invalidation notice for a key C4GT power plant permit. For months, members of the Stop the Abuse of Virginian Energy (SAVE) Coalition, including frontline group Concerned Citizens of Charles City County (C5), have been urging action to revoke the fossil fuel power plant’s permit, given the company’s repeated failure to provide progress reports and their lack of continuous construction at the site. After months of inaction, the DEQ issued a warning letter on May 26.


The documents demonstrate that DEQ has what it needs to invalidate C4GT’s air permit, but has chosen not to act yet. In early May, staffers drafted a revocation letter clearly stating the ways in which C4GT is in violation of Virginia code, thereby giving DEQ the power to invalidate the company’s critical air permit. The draft letter demonstrates the department contemplated a straightforward revocation. Instead, the DEQ issued a warning letter to the company who now has thirty days to respond.


The documents fail to disclose why a warning letter was the more appropriate option given the clearly demonstrated legal arguments to support a permit invalidation.


“When issuing the FOIA request, I did not expect to find a fully drafted revocation letter citing arguments our organization and allies have been detailing since January,” said Jolene Mafnas, Food & Water Watch Virginia Organizer. “It makes no sense as to why DEQ decided to go with a warning letter when they clearly had the legal right to revoke C4GT’s permit. Agencies like DEQ are charged with protecting Virginians and our environment, not catering to corporate interests. It’s time DEQ upheld that responsibility and invalidated the polluting project’s permit.”


“The FOIA documents are proof that the DEQ works with the applicants and not the affected community,” said Wanda Roberts, an impacted resident and member of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County. “DEQ's responsibility is to protect and enhance Virginia's environment and promote the health and well being of the citizens of Virginia. Their focus must first be on the needs of the citizens of Charles City County. It is time for DEQ to stop taking advantage of rural minority communities for the applicants' profit.”


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After months of scrutiny from national, regional, and local activists representing the SAVE Coalition, state agency takes action on delinquent fossil fuel project


Richmond, VA — Last week, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a warning letter to C4GT LLC, threatening permit revocation. The letter comes after months of scrutiny from environmental organizations, activists and impacted residents, representing the Stop the Abuse of Virginian Energy (SAVE) coalition. Senator McClellan also stepped in, requesting that Attorney General Herring and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director David Paylor investigate C4GT’s claims of “continuous construction.” The response from DEQ comes as a direct result of the increasing pressure placed on the dangerous and dirty fossil fuel project.


In the warning letter, the DEQ outlined how C4GT was in noncompliance due to their failure of “continuous construction,” regarding permit no. 52588. The letter documents how the company has failed to submit monthly reports for February as well as April, which initiated a formal corrective action period that was resolved in early May with a status report confirming no construction has taken place since December 2020. In the letter, DEQ asks C4GT LLC to respond within 30 days “detailing action you have taken or will be taking to ensure compliance with state law and regulations,” which include fulfilling “continuous construction,” requirements and monthly reports. C4GT responded confirming no further action has been taken since December.


Activists laud the letter as a step in the right direction, and credit the move to the increased attention placed on the plant by Senator McClellan and groups representing the SAVE Coalition.


In response, Cynthia Robinson, an impacted resident and member of Concerned Citizens of Charles City County, expressed concerns about how C4GT's permits were being handled, stating:



“As a citizen of Charles City County - any citizen - I deserve transparency from elected people and people that work for the state. The way I see it, I pay your salary, you work for me, like an employer. I just want to know what’s going on here! It seems so undercover. When people don’t share information - especially when asked directly - it looks like they are lying to people. What am I supposed to think? If I was trying to open a business and acted like C4GT, I think I would not be able to get away with the things they are doing.

We have been told “this is the best thing to happen to the county” and “there’s nothing to worry about.” So, if that is true, why can’t they just tell the truth? When the Dollar General came to the county, everybody knew everything about it- that’s all we talked about. If you can give all the information about the Dollar General, why can’t you tell us what’s going on with this gas plant - which will have a bigger effect on all our lives? There are still people in Charles City County that don’t know anything about these gas plants.”

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