A proposed natural-gas compressor station is pitting the caretakers of Mount Vernon against a major power company in a debate over the height of a pair of emissions stacks and the threat they could pose to “the iconic and historic view” from the estate of the nation’s first president.
Dominion Energy, a major power company in Virginia, is seeking to build a compressor station in Southern Maryland, about 3 miles from Mount Vernon, the historic home of George Washington.
The caretakers of the estate, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, say the proposed station’s exhaust stacks pose “a serious threat to George Washington’s view.” They have launched a petition that has garnered more than 4,000 signatures, in hopes of persuading Dominion to abandon the project at its proposed site across the Potomac River in Maryland’s Charles County and move it elsewhere.
The presidential estate’s website says that the emission stacks could be as tall as 113.5 feet. The Ladies’ Association also fears the construction of the compressor station would provide an impetus for “other industrial development” in the area.
But Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien says the estate’s concerns about 113-foot-tall emission stacks is unfounded. “[The] height of the stacks is, and always will be, 50 feet,” he said.
“Dominion Energy shares the public’s concern with protecting Mount Vernon,” Neddenien said, adding that the stacks would “not be visible, even from the highest point in Mount Vernon.”
The energy company’s spokesman said Dominion had “been communicating with Mount Vernon for the past two years,” and the Ladies’ Association had been involved in the early stages of the project.
Neddenien said the compressor station will deliver “clean, reliable natural gas for use in Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland.”