ROUGEMONT, NC (Feb 6, 2024) – Person County residents and environmental justice organizations have filed a complaint to stop the construction of the dangerous Moriah Energy Center.
Members of Person County Community Action Network, with support from Southern Coalition for Social Justice, filed the complaint on Feb. 2, alleging the Person County Board of Commissioners ignored the sincere concerns and compelling public testimony from residents about pollutants, public health, environmental harm, and overall community impact that would result from the rezoning of residential and rural conservation areas to accommodate Dominion Energy’s Moriah Energy Center (MEC) liquified natural gas storage and distribution facility.
According to the complaint, impacts to those who live in the vicinity of where the center would be built include increased noise and traffic, less safe traffic conditions; odor and light pollution; toxic and hazardous air emissions and related environmental and health effects; construction traffic, noise, and debris; risks to surface and groundwater drinking sources; and increased use and overburdening of public infrastructure— to name a few.
“For over two decades, Rougemont has been our home. We chose this place to live the rest of our lives surrounded by its natural beauty,” said Bernhard Lampert, spokesperson for the members of PC-CAN. “The Moriah Energy Center would destroy that beauty and create very real health threats to us. The proposed plant’s specter looms large, casting shadows over the very essence of our community life.”
Proposed by Dominion Energy, the Moriah Energy Center would emit more than 65,000 tons of greenhouse gases each year, in addition to dangerous air pollutants, potential gas leaks, and deforestation.
“The decision to rezone this area to accommodate industrial uses like the unnecessary MEC gas storage facility is an abuse of the Board of County Commissioners’ discretion and directly contradictory to the needs and inputs of residents,” said James Huey, Counsel for Environmental Justice with Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The county did not give even cursory consideration to the health and environmental impacts that construction and operation of this massive industrial facility would have on the community.”
“North Carolina needs to decarbonize instead of going all-in on natural gas, whether that gas comes from out of state pipelines, hog waste anaerobic digesters, or landfill methane,” Anne Harvey, SCSJ Chief Counsel for Environmental Justice, added. “Dominion’s unnecessary storage of 25 million gallons of natural gas in rural Person County is another step in the wrong direction for North Carolina.”
Person County Community Action Network (PC-CAN) was founded in 2024 by Person County citizens who oppose Dominion Energy’s plans for a liquified natural gas storage facility in the Moriah community and are dedicated to safeguarding the area’s rural and residential character. Neighbors Against the Moriah Energy Center (NoMEC) is a project of PC-CAN. For more information, visit www.pc-can.org and www.nomec.org.
Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing, and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org.